TLDR – Too Long, Didn’t Read.
A business’ social media objectives should be broken down into short term and long term.
The short term social media objectives should focus on things like pushing sales, driving traffic to the site and gaining organic brand awareness. This should make up no more than 20% of content posted on social media.
The long term social media objectives should be striving to build meaningful relationships with followers, grow organic awareness, improve customer satisfaction and foster an online community. Achieving these objectives should make up at least 80% of content posted on social media.
Let’s Get Started.
As with any other type of goal-setting in a business, the goals a business sets for its social media marketing objectives and strategies should be broken into short-term and long-term.
Let’s say the finance department of a company is having a meeting. One goal is to increase online revenue to €100,000 by the end of Q1. That is a short term goal. Towards the end of the same meeting someone mentions how the mortgage should be paid-off within 8 years. That is a long term goal.
Social media marketing should work the exact same way. A new start-up wants to achieve 2000 organic followers on Instagram after six months. That is a short term goal. The same new start-up wants to generate €50,000 a month in sales through social media ads. That is likely a long term goal.
How much time and attention should you be paying to these short term and long term goals?
Here at Escalate we employ something called the “80/20 Rule” when it comes to content and social media marketing strategies.
We suggest to clients that at least 80% of their content should be focused on long term goals. These goals include brand building and developing an online community. At most, 20% of their content should be looking to satisfy short term social media objectives. These objectives include things like generating sales leads.
Social Media Objectives – The Short Term.
Here are three key short term social media objectives to consider.
Stimulating Action (Trial or Purchase).
This type of short term objective is centered around getting as many people to engage in a trial or purchase. This will usually come in the form of a short sale or an ad campaign. It will have a lifespan of no more than a couple of weeks. A sense of urgency is created with the idea of getting as many desired actions across the line as possible.
For example, The Rolling Donut released a limited edition donut and coffee bundle specifically for Father’s Day. The Instagram post is short, to the point and is creating a sense of urgency. There is a clear objective of boosting sales in June, centred around Father’s Day.
Generating New Leads & Driving Traffic to the Website.
These kinds of objectives are similar to stimulating a trial or purchase, but there is less urgency present to take an action immediately. Instead the objective is to gain awareness and consideration and get additional eyes on the website. The metrics that will track these objectives are things like click-through rate and cost per click.
For example, Nissan might create an ad with images of their brand new electric car the “Leaf”. They are not expecting purchases to occur directly from the ad, but they are placing the new car in the mind of the consumer. They have also included a link to the Nissan website where someone who views the ad can get more information.
With the correct targeting, each time this ad is viewed could be a potential new lead for Nissan.
Increasing Brand Awareness.
Increasing brand awareness could also be considered a long-term objective, but we are including it in short term objectives instead.
This type of brand awareness usually comes in the form of paid ads or boosted posts. A business will spend money on getting a piece of content in front of a large number of potential consumers.
In short, getting the brand name out there to a much larger audience via social media. These boosted posts and ads typically only last a couple of days and are designed to satisfy short term objectives. They will be tracked and measured by metrics such as reach and impressions.
One of our previous blogs explores in detail which social media metrics are actually important to your business.
For example, the furniture brand RattanCube might post a piece of content to Instagram. It will be left organically to circulate for a day or so. Then RattanCube might decide it is a great piece of content that could gather even more traction. The post is then boosted with the objective of increasing engagement.
This will then increase the number of eyes and interactions with this piece of content, growing RattanCube’s brand awareness.
So in referencing our own 80/20 rule that we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the three points that we have just spoken about should make up at most 20% of a brand’s social media content. These short-term social media objectives should strive to;
- Stimulate trials and purchases.
- Increase lead generation and drive traffic to your site.
- Boost brand awareness.
Social Media Objectives – The Long Term.
Here are four key long term social media objectives to consider.
Build Meaningful Relationships.
As a business you should always be looking to interact with your followers. We would recommend any business to take 30 minutes daily to check social media to see what kind of chatter is going on online about their business. This is especially important for businesses that might not have a physical presence and exist solely online.
The opportunity to interact with followers and customers exists on every single platform you decide to be active on. Each of these platforms represents a brand new touchpoint for your followers and customers.
An Escalate top tip in relation to how to treat followers online;
“If someone has taken the time to follow your business on social media, you should treat them like you would your friends on your own personal social media accounts. Interact with them. Repost their content that is related to your business. Comment on their content that is related to your business. Treat them like a friend.”
Would someone only interact with their own friends on Facebook just to try to sell them products or a service? Nope! So why would someone treat the fans, followers and customers of a brand any differently?
Below is an example of some very simple engagement from MONIN Ireland. This follower took the time to make a MONIN-inspired creation of their own and tag them in it. The comment and subsequent re-post to MONIN’s own story is the very least they should be doing!
This kind of user generated content is extremely valuable.
Make the follower who took the time to promote your brand in a positive way, feel special!
Build Organic Awareness.
As mentioned previously under “Increase Brand Awareness”, a boosted post on social media can boost brand awareness. However, arguably what is more important is that brands create content that will be shared organically. In short, content that can be shared and viewed by large audiences without the business having to pay for it.
A piece of content that receives re-shares to the story feature, people tagging others in the comments or a high number of saves, shows that this content is resonating with followers and they are engaged in a higher level of intention.
This kind of content is receiving more impressions and engagement, with the followers doing the heavy lifting. They are essentially acting as unpaid brand ambassadors for the business. People who get a recommendation from a friend are more likely to act on it as well. As opposed to trusting an ad that they have been targeted with.
This might take years to get just right. However, when content begins to receive these kinds of reactions, it will be clear the right kinds of followers are being reached. The number of followers will then organically grow day-by-day and week-by-week.
Improve Customer Satisfaction.
Social media can be viewed as a double-edged sword in many different aspects. One aspect is in relation to when a customer publicly complains about a product or service failure on social media. When this happens, businesses are faced with a choice.
A recent study showed that 67% of customers will take to social media to try to resolve a grievance that they might have.
A business can ignore the complaint and hope it just goes away. This is not advisable. Look at what happened when United Airlines would not deal with a passenger’s broken guitar…
Instead, a business should initiate a series of response measures to potentially turn this issue or grievance into a positive PR exercise. Publicly acknowledge that there is an issue. Apologise for any potential inconvenience caused. Then try to move the conversation into a private setting to get down to the nitty-gritty to try to come to a reasonable solution. This is a good starting point, as shown by Delta below.
73% of consumers say that a brand who positively deals with a customer service complaint made them “fall in love with that brand”.
Foster an Online Community.
Any brand has the opportunity to foster an online community and conversation surrounding their product or service. This will appear in the form of online users who will advocate a brand out of pure brand loyalty. This is usually built-up over a period of years.
A great example of this is the website NikeTalk. NikeTalk was created by Nike fans online in 1999 as a place where they can have meaningful conversations about the brand. Pictures are posted of the latest releases. Industry news is discussed and dissected. Honest opinions are given in relation to all things Nike.
These online communities that are loyal to a brand are potentially very useful to that brand. Nike could use NikeTalk as focus groups or as a way of soft launching a new product. These people will also be the first to let Nike know if they are not happy with any particular aspect of online activity.
If a brand begins to develop an online community like with NikeTalk, the best thing to do is leave it alone. Let it grow organically. Interact with it occasionally. And most importantly, keep a very close eye on it.
So in referencing our own 80/20 rule that we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the four points that we have just spoken about should make up at least 80% of a brand’s social media content. These long term social media objectives should strive to;
- Build meaningful relationships with followers.
- Develop relatable and shareable content to drive organic awareness.
- Publicly improve customer satisfaction.
- Foster an online community loyal to your brand.
To Recap and Wrap-Up.
Rome was not built in a day and developing the perfect social media strategy will likely take years. As with any good strategy there should be a combination of short term and long term objectives and goals.
Yes, activities like pushing sales, driving up website traffic and creating brand awareness are important. However they should only make up a small percentage of the content that a brand puts out on social media.
Focusing on a longer term strategy and developing things like meaningful relationships with followers and improving customer satisfaction online is a lot more important to the long-term health of a business online.