The abilities to interact with consumers, generate relevant online conversations and spread your brand’s message in unprecedented ways are truly unique to social media and what make it such an attractive piece to the overall marketing strategy. All of that’s great, but what does success look like?
It’s Up to You.
Social media success isn’t always a scientific process, but it should always be decided upon upfront. Understanding what your goals are and what success will look like for you is essential to knowing whether or not you succeeded. Unlike other forms of marketing, social media doesn’t have a firm set of rules for measuring success.
Success may be as easy as increased sales, blog comments, RSS subscribers, downloads, retweets, etc. However, success may be better customer service, engagement, positive sentiment, or simply establishing a social media footprint.
No matter what success looks like for your brand, it should fit in with strategic goals and long-term strategy. Objectives should be a part of the short-term but have a vision for the future. For example, if you’re using deals to initially increase your following, is that what you want to continue to do in the future?
Measure Before and After
It’s impossible to see how far you’ve come if you haven’t done anything beforehand, so it's important to measure objectives in three phases:
- Before: Establishes where you started by creating benchmarks.
- During: Allows for modification and optimization as necessary.
- After: Provides final metrics to compare to initial benchmarks.
Support Your Goals
Whatever goals are ultimately decided upon, it’s important to support them. Social media isn’t free. Using the tools can be, but leveraging them costs money. Be sure to support your objectives as necessary, or success will be impossible to come by.
Take the Time to Set the Goals
The determinants of success in social media are essential to the planning process, just like other marketing practices. Figuring them out will tell you whether you're treading water, drowning or smooth sailing.