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A surefire way to measure whether your online marketing objectives were achieved is to focus on the number of tweets, Likes, and +1s you get, and a sky-high Klout score, right? Not exactly.

Just because everyone and their online peeps are talking about you that doesn't necessarily mean that those social media mentions are resulting in more coins in your coffers or a more positive reputation for your brand. So, how do you know if you’re hitting your marketing campaign goals?

The key is to write clear,  measurable objectives right from the get-go. As public relations strategist Geoff Livingston mentioned in his MarketingProfs PRO seminar Measuring and Sustaining Social Success, the basic question in writing a clear goal is: "How many by when?"

Goals of "get more tweets" and "have (number) more Facebook fans" are too vague. And because they aren't tied into any specific campaign, you can't measure their effectiveness. To have a goal that you can measure, make sure that it is: specific (you know what you exactly want to do), measurable (you've got the right analytics tools in place), attainable (i.e., realistic), results-oriented (you actually accomplish something) and time-bound (you have a deadline). In other words, make sure it's SMART.

Sound difficult? It's not when you narrow down the seemingly overwhelming world of metrics to three areas that truly matter: attention, attitudes, and actions.

Livingston suggests that you ask yourself the following questions when creating measurable goals for your social media campaign:

Attention (e.g., fans, traffic, volumes of interest, online mentions)

  • What will your loyal clients and would-be customers know?

  • What will they come to understand?

Attitudes (overall sentiment regarding your business)

  • How will the people you are targeting feel about your brand or business?

  • What will they believe about your brand or business?

  • Who will they trust?

Actions (business results of online outreach)

  • What will your targeted group now do?

  • What will they support?

  • What will they stop or avoid doing?

Sure, everyone likes to be mentioned positively on social media (who doesn't like being liked?), but when it comes to straight-up metrics, it's important to strike a balance between the numbers-only philosophy of the more mathematically inclined and the relationship-only philosophy of the personally inclined. Smart objectives do just that.
Are you using SMART goals in your social media marketing efforts?  If not, or if you have any questions on how best to measure social media metrics, take advantage of our PRO Seminar, Measuring and Sustaining Social Media Success, now to find out.  It's free for PRO members!

Not a PRO member? Sign up today and become a smarter marketer by taking advantage of the thousands of resources we have available!

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image of Verónica Jarski

Veronica Jarski is managing editor at Agorapulse and a former editor and senior writer at MarketingProfs.

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

LinkedIn: Veronica Jarski