Social Media Goals: Like a Labyrinth?

Do You Even Know What Your Social Media Goals Are?

Not quite another four-quadrant model — 4R’s Reach, Revenue, Retention, & Relationship

Let’s step through this labyrinth, so you can get some traction out of your social media efforts.

You already know it’s important to have goals

“Having” goals takes a lot of work. I mean, sure, I’d like to be rich. Or thin. Or whatever. But these aren’t goals. These are cliches. These are nice ideas.

When I pair them with an action plan, a timetable, and the deliberate behaviors and habits of success, then they’ll be goals. Certainly, you’ve read about the studies showing that people with goals achieve more than the rest of us.

Having goals includes a lot of footwork. You have to:

  1. Set them,
  2. Write them,
  3. Specify the step-wise approach and tactics you will employ to achieve them,
  4. Plot those against a timeline for achievement,
  5. Track your progress, and
  6. Make adjustments along the way to incorporate all the lessons you’ve learned.

But before you do any of that, you have to survey and study the landscape and ecosystem within which you and your goals exist. And only then can you determine which goals you want to pursue in the first place.

Same with content marketing & social media goals

It’s not enough to just “do” social media for your small business, non-profit, or private practice. I mean, what does that even mean?

And it’s not enough to do social media because friends your friends and family and strangers at Meetups keep telling you that you should. (Ahem, you probably should.) Even when you finally succumb to doing social media because it has become an acceptable commonplace cost of doing business (and it already has), you’ve got to know why.

Why are you doing social media?

What are you hoping to achieve? What will that look like?

Doing social media and content marketing well takes too much time, energy, passion, and money to do it half-assed. Don’t worry–there’ll still be plenty of room for throwing stuff against the wall to see if they stick. But you’ve got to know which wall!

Once you know, specifically, why you’re doing social media, it’ll be easier to navigate the how.

Well, duh. My goal is to grow business.


Again, what does that even mean? Growing business means different things in different situations. And don’t be surprised that some businesses, especially non-profits and hyper-niche providers, probably wouldn’t agree with that Well Duh premise. But, for most of us, the impetus driving our marketing decisions is money. Bringing in more of it.

Not Quite 4 Quadrants for Social Media Goals

When I started writing this post, I hadn’t realized I was going to craft a model for Social Media Marketing Goals with alliterative headings and everything. But ya know, these things happen. I’m not trying to be iconoclastic about it, so there’s no need to name it after me… I mean, I’d rather be laying a labyrinth in a hot Texas hayfield than drawing one on a 20″ screen.

So seriously, I’d love your feedback.

What did I miss? What did I get right? How would you represent the iterative and overlapping nature of these 4R’s?

Social Media Marketing Goals: Reach (mostly pre-sales)

Grow your audience

Whether we’re selling experiences or widgets, the larger our audience, the more opportunities we have to serve.

Being published, cutting an album, having a website and social presence–these have all become a step along the way, a cost of doing business, another point in the sales funnel.

For instance, in today’s music industry, bands rely on selling tour tickets, not albums. Arguably, many authors and writers find themselves in the same situation.

Which is to say that there’s probably more money in the speakers’ circuit than there is in being published. I once heard Homer Hickham, author of October Sky say that buying a hardcover book is like buying the author a drink, for as much percentage as he’ll see from that sale. Yeeeesh!

Support your supporters

Help them help you. You’ve got people who want to brag about you. Right? That’s why you get to keep doing what you do.

How can you help them tell their friends?
Sure, you should let them know that you’re on Yelp and Google Local (or whatever they’re calling it now? Google Places? AndOnePlus?)

Think beyond that, though. That’s really just a sticker on the door or a blurb on the menu or a print out on the back of the receipt. Do more.

How can you sponsor and shape the way they share their testimonial?
Can they tag you on their preferred social media platforms when they talk about their purchase?

Maybe they can post picture of their new nail art with a shout out to your salon.

Maybe they can stand in front of the specially painted Selfie Wall in your boutique & have their followers help them decide which new outfit to get.

Maybe your service techs can take a photo of them in front of your shop before they drive off on their new rims.

Anything you can do to make it easy, effortless, and sexy for them to share their experience with you, the more they’ll want to experience it again.

Raise awareness

As I said, in some businesses the Well Duh premise to make mo’ money just doesn’t hold. It’s just not the central tenet of their existence.

When I did social media for a yoga retreat center, I was working under a mandate from the spiritual head to do nothing less than raise awareness of the ages-old art of joyful and mindful living. (I had more worldly directions from the executive director.)

In the same tradition, think of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s online and social media presence. He’s not doing it to raise funds for a new roof or to sell more books.

He’s using his massive reach to ring the bells for peace. The bells that still can ring. Just like Pope Francis is using his pulpit to call attention to climate change.

Social Media Marketing Goals: Revenue and Retention (sales and post-sales)

For the rest of us, this is where the proverbial rubber his the road, right?

Whether you’re selling psychic readings or science toys for toddlers, you can sell more products and services when you have taken care to cultivate your niche audience(s) across the social media platforms.

The actual sales transaction or online reservation may need to happen on your site or wherever you have your shopping cart or booking app set up.

But instead of the referral coming from your monthly chamber meeting or your hairdresser, it comes from your expanded word-of-mouth referral network.

So there’s your lead gen–identifying prospective clients and qualifying them. Nurturing them along your sales funnel or their path to purchase. (I can’t think of any other Sales-y jargon to throw at you.)

Wait, here are some: Add-ons, Upsells, and Unmet Needs.

In getting to know your community and letting them get to know you–your capacity, your offerings, your areas of expertise–you open countless channels between you and them and amongst themselves.

In all this communication, keep an eye out for opportunities to serve better, deeper, wider. Be explicit about it.

Ask them, “What else do y’all need in this regard? What would be most helpful? What comes after this for you? Can we help? How?”

People like working with folks who give a darn, ya know?


Featured image credit: Wikipedia, License: CC BY-SA (commercial reuse with modification)

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Suzanne Hoenig is a strategist and writer helping small businesses, nonprofits, and private practitioners craft their marketing copy, grow their online and offline community, and navigate the changing tides of social media and digital content marketing.
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