Learn to Set Social Media Goals That Make Sense

Do you ever wonder how the number of “laughing until crying” emojis on a post REALLY impact the bottom line? Or wonder how shelling out perfectly good budget to gain new followers can bring in a conversion? If so, you’re asking the right question: do my social media goals make sense?

Truthfully, one could write an entire book trying to answer this question. In fact, we already did.  There are several valid ways to go about setting useful social media targets, which are all united by a focus on connecting social goals with measurable business objectives.

Mapping social metrics to the customer journey is one way to connect social media efforts to business goals. As a result, your social program is tied to conversions. This is the method you’ll be reading about today. It’s an easy way to create measurable social efforts that directly benefit business.

the customer journey is a way of representing a person’s experience with your brand. It follows this brand adventurer from discovery through conversion. Each touch point they visit is a bit different, and some steps are more important than others. What makes it a journey, and not simply a map, is order: a customer interacts and progresses in a particular sequence.

Here’s an example of a customer journey from Google. Though this one is just a generalization of a small Pets/Animals related business in the US, its feasibility is solid. It is a result of thousands of real customer interactions recorded by Google Analytics – nothing to scoff at! You can play with this tool yourself by clicking here.


Let’s step through this one together. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re looking to buy dog treats. For whom, you may ask? Let’s say the lucky pooch is our very own mascot, Flappy.

Really though, could this dog be any happier?
  •  -You discover a brand through an organic Google search, or any other search engine. You search generally, and use un-branded keywords like “dog treat.”
  •  -Suddenly, you find the small Pets/Animals business represented in the customer journey above!amazing, gourmet line of dog foods through social, their paid search campaigns, and an email newsletter that you (probably) signed up for!
  •  -You’re now aware of this brand, and are ready to start actively searching for it. You really want Flappy to have only the finest dog treats, and this business seems like the right fit. This is where paid branded search campaigns come in. You start visiting their social media pages through branded search results.
  •  -Last comes the referral. Maybe it was a particularly tempting link on their email newsletter or a favorable review on a trusted blog. Either way, your journey ends with a glorious click of the “buy” button and a very happy Flappy. Finally, a use for all of that drool.

Now that we’ve completed our hypothetical customer journey, let’s focus on the desired end result: a conversion! Remember, nobody can argue against the value of a conversion—especially a brand manager! That means that customer journey linking social media to a conversion makes proving value relatively easy. The bottom line of the customer journey IS the bottom line. Since a conversion is tied to the customer journey, the model is automatically aligned with core business goals.

So, how can this brand hitch their social media goals along for the customer journey ride? Quite easily, in fact. Look above and notice that social media maps to a place in the customer journey. It’s a step in the path to a conversion.

Social media has two noticeable characteristics in the above customer jouney. The first is that social media played a role very early on in the path to purchase. It maps to an earlier portion of the customer journey than other interactions. However, it is not the first interaction. Your customer has already come in contact with your brand and likely has at least a basic awareness of it. Social media’s role in this journey is to convince your customer of your brand’s value. Drive and measure viewership of promotional and thought leadership content using metrics like impressions/target audience reach. It is just as important to analyze positive sentiment and engagement using metrics like shares, favorites, and likes. Set specific goals, and you now have instant focus and measurable value for your social media program.

The customer journey varies by business size and industry. Let’s imagine that this Pets/Animals business does well (through awesome social media management!) and grows to a medium-sized business. The public loves those luxury dog treats, and the business has been able to expand significantly. The customer journey looks a bit different now:


Now social media is not just an early step in the customer journey, but the very first. Accordingly, social media targets should be set to incentivize the driving of traffic to the channels. This is the “shout it from the rooftops” approach. Push for traffic by measuring impressions, reach, and follower count.

Always remember that an effective social media presence reacts to changing business demands. Using the customer journey mapping process outlined in this blog post, you can adjust your social strategy as your business grows. Across all approaches, the key to measuring the value of social is proper connections to KPIs.

Measuring the “immeasurable” effects of reputation has been a challenge since the dawn of PR. However, with this strategy, it can be pretty straightforward. To quote the late, great Peter Drucker, “What gets measured gets managed.” However, if you still find yourself lost, we’re here for you. We have a lot of experience getting social media plans to make sense and we know how to connect the dots for management. Read our whitepaper, “PR and the Google Customer Journey” if you want to know more!

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