Why Your Social Media Plan should have Success Metrics

So, you’re going to launch a social media campaign huh? You’ve got all the tools, resources, and processes together, but did you remember to set some goals?

I get to meet and talk to many companies that are adopting social media from a variety of levels of sophistication: unsure, scared, excited, embracing, overly ecstatic. One of the biggest challenges they have is forgetting to visualize what success looks like. In many cases, they are overly focused on fondling the hammer, that they forget about the overall goal.

Even if a company is doing a trial project (externally, internally, whatever) part of the expectations of the project should include a page, slide, or document that indicates what success will look like –even if they know that it may not be reached, here’s a few example to get you started:

A few examples of what success could look like for you:

  • We were able to learn something about customers we’ve never know before
  • We were able to tell our story to customers and they shared it with others
  • A blogging program where there are more customers talking back in comments than posts
  • An online community where customers are self-supporting each other and costs are reduced
  • We learn a lot from this experimental program, and pave the way for future projects, that could still be a success metric
  • We gain experience with a new way of two-way communication
  • We connect with a handful of customers like never before as they talk back and we listen
  • We learned something from customers that we didn’t know before
  • As you prepare your plans (you’ve got one right?) to use social media, don’t forget to include a section on “what does success look like”, and visualize and aim for you goals. Oh, and guess what, your goals can change over time, and they should.

    Experimentation with these are important, these are radically different ways for companies to communicate with customers, so be sure to indicate to your management how this is experiment, and you’ll need a bit of wiggle room and latitude for the unexpected. It’s their job to empower and trust you, knowing the risks that could happen as you learn to let go to gain more.

    It’s important to setup expectations for yourself, your management, and your customers (feel free to let them know why you are doing this) in order to give yourself a purpose as you embark on connecting in new ways.