Goal setting and social media for business owners who are feeling lost

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Goal setting and social media for business owners who are feeling lost

Are you having a hard time connecting the dots between social media and your business?

Let’s talk about goals. I meet many business owners and organizations who really want to leverage social media and digital marketing, but they don’t know where to start.

Typically they’ll inquire about likes, followers and fans – wondering if the more they have will impact them. If you can’t make the connection between vanity metrics (likes etc.) and your business, you’re actually on track!  Here’s the thing, it is totally normal to want more fans and followers; as humans we’re wired with the desire to be ‘liked’ and while some industries rely on optics. While increasing likes and fans theoretically will increase reach and impressions,  this recap will focus on other metrics that matter to business outcomes.

If a business is investing resources and time, it’s important to understand the impact social media has. So when we look at launching a social media program, our foundation is based on our business objectives; it’s important to tie our social media goals back to those objectives.

Measurement Refresher: 

Objective: Why does your company exist?
Goals: Specific strategies leveraged to accomplish business objectives.
Metrics: Numbers.
KPIs: Metric the helps you understand how you’re doing against objectives.
Targets: Predetermined numerical value that indicates success or failure (targets differ from your goal because they’re specific to the objective.)

Here is the most simple (and my favourite) example of a goal: 

It’s that time of year when people make New Years Resolutions. Common resolutions are to lose weight, live more fully, travel more etc.  While these are an excellent start, in order to successfully accomplish goals we need to drill down more, make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) and track them. Keep in mind that when our goals are SMART, we gain that ability to measure. 

Instead, let’s look at it this way:

Objective: Live Actively.
Goal: Lose 40lbs in a year. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound)
KPI: number of lbs lost/month
Target: Run five races in 2018.

Where do you start goal-setting for social media and your business?

I threw this question out to my peers and colleagues, we all landed on the same track:

Goal Setting Must Be A Collaborative Effort. You will need guidance from your leadership team; they have a vision for the company and know the business objectives and business goals they’re aiming for. (e.g.: increasing revenue, customers or customer service.) You will also want to include your marketing and sales teams.

Get A Temperature Check. Ask questions such as what’s going on in the business? Is anything changing? What are the challenges and pain points? Are we losing customers? Are we introducing new products or markets? Are we falling behind in product sales?  Temperature checks are important and it’s critical to listen.

Be SMART. When you’re ready to sit down and develop goals, remember the SMART steps, as well as Locke’s theory on goal setting (I learned about this via a colleague.)

Goal Setting via Locke:

Clarity: Be clear, not vague. (Instead of ‘increase sales’ it could be ‘increase sales by 10% using social media.”)
Challenging: You must have a certain level of challenge (which is why people are usually resistant to setting goals either personally or professionally.)
Commitment: You’ve got to be committed to the goal. (Tell people. Write it down. On paper. Stay Accountable.)
Feedback: Put a process in place to collect feedback on the goal. (How often will you check in on status? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly?)
Complexity: If you’re working on something that is more complicated or complex, give yourself enough time to adjust course. (Remember that the more complex, the more time it may take to attain meaningful results!)
Resources: what do you have that can help you execute? (Gather all your resources; make lists of what you need like people and tools to help achieve the goal.)

How do we know what our goals should be?



Specific goals to consider can be focused on:

  • Business insights and intelligence
  • Community Building
  • Customer support
  • Brand and Business Reputation Management
  • Lead Generation
  • Traffic and Referrals To Website
  • Build loyalty


  • Net Profit
  • Conversation Rate
  • Amplification Rate
  • Applause Rate
  • Engagement Rate
  • Avg Time On Page
  • Visits to Site

Social Media + Business Goal Example: 

Objective: Make Money
Goal: Increase traffic to website
KPI: Conversion Rate
Target: 2%

Another Example via Mind Tools:

Organizational Vision: To be known for our superior customer service and satisfaction.
Organizational Objective: To reduce the number of dissatisfied customers by 25%.
Organizational KPI: The number of customer complaints that remain unresolved at the end of a week.
Team Member’s Goal: To increase the number of satisfactory complaint resolutions by 15% this period.

Key Measurement Tip: it is important to choose metrics that make sense; align your KPI closely to your business objective and choose ones that you can follow and act on. If you’re keen to focus on likes, followers, fans – that’s okay but look at it as a secondary goal. Remember that while ‘likes’ are a metric, it’s not a KPI and it won’t tell you how your business is doing. I struggle with this myself. So here’s the question I ask: If my business objective is making money, what is the connection to the metric/KPI?

Remember: “There is one metric to rule them all! It is unsexy, and old: Net Profit. 🙂 Bonus: Never, ever, never make Cost of any kind, a KPI.”

I know that this stuff is overwhelming. Try to keep it as simple as you can while starting out. As always, if you have a question – just ask!

{BIG Thank You to my colleagues and peers for weighing in on this!}

Other Blogs:

Get Started With Social Media Management
What is a social media competitive analysis and why does my small business need one?
How should businesses create a plan for social media and how will they track their success?
Social media training: where to start

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.