Since starting a social media strategy series, I’ve been working diligently on understanding what goes into the process. I’m building a framework that, when completed, should prove fairly useful. Along the way, I’ll share some of what I’m learning, so that you can learn along with me, and hopefully influence the end results with your thoughts and ideas. Today, let’s talk about goals, strategies and measurements. We’ll start with a specific goal from my company, go into another basic example, and then open the conversation to you.
You Can’t Have Strategy Without First Having Goals
Strategy is essentially the diet, but the goal might be weight loss, muscle growth, cholesterol reduction, allergy aversion. See how it’s not one-size-fits all? Before you know which diet to start, you need to know the goal.
Strategy Without Measurement is Useless
Further, if you’re not measuring the effort to reach your goals ( KD Paine will be so proud of me), how can you be sure you’re getting there. Measuring the effectiveness of your efforts is vital to knowing you’re making progress. Remember that diets (strategies) often need adjusting along the way. It’s measurements that tell us this.
Sample Goals, Strategies, and Measurements
Let’s put some real information out here and talk about it. I’ll use a few that I’m working up for my own company, CrossTech Media.
- Goal: increase attendance at our live events.
- Strategy: add upcoming.org and Facebook events components, blog, invite local geek groups. Possibly purchase Facebook ads to test that, too, targeting regional. Craigslist?
- Measurements: add a “Where did you hear about us?” field to the registration form.
- Measurements: check link referral logs.
So, that’s fairly straightforward. The only thing I’m missing is some kind of estimate on how much I think these efforts might increase attendance traffic. Truth is, I’m not sure. Should I have a number in mind? I will put one down, but have no idea how close my estimate will be.
But the process is there. I’ve identified a goal: “I want more people to attend our shows.” I’ve laid out a few strategies: “put info about our show in more places.” And I have a few ideas how to measure: “in-line survey, and web links.”
In reserve, I have “blogging” and two other strategies. But I want to lead with these and see if they make a significant impact on their own.
Other Goals, Strategies, and Measurements
There are many other things a company might want to do, and other ways to approach it. Why don’t we list a few out here, and then if you have others you want to talk about, we can tackle them in the comments section.
- Goal: Increase leads for my product / service.
- Strategy : build blog traffic with appropriate links to product / service.
- Measurement : link tracking.
Simple and straightforward, right? I’d offer that the strategy should go further. Remember, “if you blog it, they will come” is not exactly true. That’s where people fall down fast. Instead, I’d add the following to the strategy area:
- Augment blog traffic by adding outposts (referral back to the blog via RSS) on Facebook, in appropriate forums, in LinkedIn, and other pertinent online venues.
- Augment blog traffic by adding useful tools for my audience that might drive more visits to download (like an ebook).
- Augment blog traffic by using social news sites like Digg, Mixx, StumbleUpon, where appropriate.
By Having Three Knobs to Turn
If you look at it, splitting out goal, strategy, and measurement means that you can look a little more closely at WHY and HOW and HOW EFFECTIVE your social media efforts are. It’s quite simple, and yet powerful to put this lens on what you’re doing.
I get lots of emails asking me how to improve one’s blog traffic. My first response, almost always, is “what’s the goal with the added traffic?” People blogging casually or for entertainment purposes just want a higher number. But businesses are hoping that more traffic to the blog equals more sales, more engagement, more something-that-translates-into-more-business. In those cases, it’s not always more blog traffic that wins the game. Sometimes, it’s building more effective blog traffic, building more pertinent connectivity, building a stronger process flow to bring readers into your marketplace.
What Are Some of Your Goals?
Maybe you know the goals but haven’t thought out the strategies. Maybe you have some great strategies for achieving your goals. Perhaps you have measurements that I’m not considering yet. In any of those cases, we should talk more about it. Let’s open the comments and see what we can come up with.
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.
Photo credit, theogeo