The Social Side, Part 2: Defining Your Social Media Goal

How-To Guides — By on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

Quick. What is your social media goal? If you answered “to earn more fans,” keep reading. If you answered “to increase my online visitor conversions,” then get back to work.

According to eMarketer.com, the number of social media users in the United States is estimated to reach 127 million per month by the end of 2010. That translates to about 57 percent of all domestic Internet users − a 16 percent jump over 2009.

Needless to say, after years of resisting, businesses are getting social and diving into social media. The businesses who have already embraced social media are patting themselves on the back and beefing up their efforts.

Whether or not you’re already there, maximizing your social media success depends on setting a clear series of goals with direct success measurements. You may have one goal or several tactical goals leading to one overarching strategic goal. Or you may have none, which would be a minor tragedy. All that time and money, all those conversations you’re having… And no clear goal?

Examples of common goals include: driving more traffic to your website, gaining your first 100 Facebook fans, earning 50 new inbound links from other websites to yours, or generating more qualified leads via a contact form. If your business already has a Facebook page, a goal may be to increase traffic to your website from Facebook.

Below is a case study with a clear goal and a direct measurement of success.

The Cup o’ Joe Facebook page: from zero to 60 in two weeks.

Recently, Cement Marketing started working with Cup o’ Joe, a local coffee shop chain known for its fresh roasted seasonal coffees and hip culture. At the outset, Cup o’ Joe’s Facebook fan count –685−was impressive. However, when we dove deeper into the page’s traffic analytics via Facebook Insights, we found a low fan interaction rate (how many times fans comment or like posts on the page): zero to three per week.

Being the forward-thinking and patient clients they are, Cup o’ Joe President Mark Swanson and Chief Financial Officer Bill Sturges understood that before we could reach loftier goals, like driving 20 Facebook fans into the store per week, we would first have to re-energize their existing fans with a fun and exciting promotion that rewarded them for being loyal to the brand.

To do so, we created the Cup o’ Joe Best Bean Won contest. Facebook fans were asked to upload videos, pictures or comments to the Cup o’ Joe Facebook wall. Their task? To show us, or tell us, why they love Cup o’ Joe. The prizes − a year’s worth of free coffee to one grand prize winner and daily coffee giveaways to dozens of others − had our fans quickly responding.

Within two weeks of launching the contest, the Cup o’ Joe Facebook fan page interaction rate jumped from zero to three, on average, to 50 to 60. We accomplished our goal and measured our success by the jump in interaction rates. We weren’t aiming to boost the fan count, but the Cup o’ Joe page did gain 107 fans during the contest.

With the success of Best Bean Won behind us, and our fan base activated, we are now moving on to our next challenge: planning another Cup o’ Joe Facebook campaign. The goal will be more aggressive and aim to drive our Facebook fans directly into their nearest Cup o’ Joe location.

Ready to define your own goal? Start small and work your way up.

Executing smaller goals that lead up to your larger goal is, I have found, a much more practical and realistic way to take on social media. Why? Because reaching the ultimate goal of increasing your business’s bottom line by a certain percentage via your Facebook page is impossible if you don’t take the baby steps necessary to mobilizing or creating your fan base.

Also, keep in mind that even companies like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel, which have astounding amounts of Facebook fans and show consistent social growth, are still reporting slumps in sales.

Social media, whether its Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, is not a magic bullet. Social media should always be used to complement your existing promotions and marketing messages.

Next week, we’ll explore how to choose the social media tool that best addresses your business goals.

Don’t miss the rest of “The Social Side.” Upcoming posts include:

  • • To Facebook or Twitter: How to find your virtual mix
  • • Blogging, the essential ingredient for every small business
  • • How much you should spend on a Tweet: Your social media budget
  • • How to get and keep fans: Building your social fan base

Alaina Sheer (6 Articles)

Alaina Sheer is Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of Cement Marketing, a website design, development, social marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) firm in Columbus. Visit CementMarketing.com or email her at alaina@cementmarketing.com for Sheer's upcoming speaking engagements on social marketing.


  • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/members/sarahb/ sarah bryant

    I have really enjoyed these articles so far. Looking forward to more from Alaina.

    • http://www.themetropreneur.com/columbus/members/melanie-mcintyre/ Melanie McIntyre

      I think Alaina is so knowledgeable and I really appreciate her willingness to share!