5 Road Bumps That Warrant Altering Your Social Media Goals

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2013 was a huge year for me. 13 = my lucky number --> I was born on Jan 13th. On Christmas Eve 2012, I reflected on over twenty things I wanted to happen in my life in the next year. Low and behold, by Christmas Eve 2013, I had accomplished damn near every one of them --> much to my own surprise. See, I have an excellent habit of achieving goals...OVER-achieving goals. This is most likely due to my Type A personality and slight case of OCD. I set my sight on something, and I go and get it.

However, my goal accomplishments of 2013 did not yield the euphoria I expected them to. In fact, my rigidness on achieving those twenty-something goals written on a cold night in 2012, led to some very staunch life lessons. You can see bits and pieces of these life lessons throughout my blog posts from the past year and a half. While I don't believe in regrets, and am incredibly grateful of the wisdom gained from the consequences of sticking to my goals no matter what life threw at me, it got me thinking --> Had I been more flexible in my goals, altering them with the ever-changing tide of life, I could have had a bit of a less bumpy path.

Similarly, this is something I see again and again with clients. They set goals, content calendars, big campaigns for their year on social media, and then refuse to deviate from them as the year unfolds. While I appreciate the dedication to goals, the very same dedication I identify with in myself, sticking to the them can often create a mess, or even worse, box a company in so they look years behind in the social universe.

Here are some road bumps that can occur within a year that are worth altering your brand social goals for:

  • A New Social Network 
    • Social media changes FAST. It is almost a guarantee that the network you put all of your focus and spend on at the beginning of the year will be beaten out by another network by the end of the year. If you start a campaign on Facebook that is tied to a million Facebook metrics, and you see that another network is of more interest to your consumers, SWITCH NETWORKS. Modify your campaign to fit the network your consumers are on.
  • Unexpected Reaction To A New Product
    • Sometimes you expect a specific conversation to grow around a new product, and once it his the social waves it starts a completely different conversation than you ever expected it to. GO WITH IT. Follow the conversation that fans started, and be grateful you have fans interested enough in that product to start organic conversations about it. Don't be so rigid with your campaign plan that you ignore what the consumers WANT to talk about.
  • Current News
    • When I was interning, I was required to read the news for at least thirty minutes everyday when I got to the office in the morning. This was the BEST assignment ever. Not only did it give me topics for cocktail parties, it gave me a heads up on what social conversations needed to be altered for the day based on what was happening in the world. You can see hundreds of examples of companies that stuck to their goals and original messaging through HUGE world news and happenings, and received HUGE criticism and detachment from their fan base. Keeping an eye on world events should be one of your top priorities as as a social professional.
  • A Rocky Road
    • Yes, rocky roads can teach us all a little something, but if achieving your goal and metrics is leaving your social community hostile, or empty, then it's time to ditch it. An example of this is putting all of your manpower behind audience development, while falling behind on consumer engagement. Yes, you might get the number of fans you wanted, but does it matter if you're getting called out for your lack of engagement with fans?
  • Tacky Transparency 
    • The moment a consumer recognizes they are just a pawn in your end goal, you are finished. First off, the consumer should always be at the top of your mind when creating a social goal, or you shouldn't be practicing social media. Taking that a step further, you should make sure your goal is so flawlessly executed that the consumer never feels like they are just a piece of your strategy. If you sense consumers are catching on to what you are trying to accomplish in social, and start to feel like minute pieces of a puzzle for you to gain money or exposure on, tweak your goal. Effective social strategies mean the consumer is never aware of the bare bones of the strategy, or their role in it from a business standpoint. They should always feel like they are having an authentic, enjoyable experience with your brand.

Goals are awesome. I will probably do a post soon on how to set effective social goals. However, flexibility is just as important as setting goals when it comes to social media. The social media playing field is changing ALL OF THE TIME, and you need to make sure that your goals are fluid enough to change with it. You can't predict social conversations like you can predict other parts of business, and you need to make sure you are leaving room for that little fact in your strategy development sessions. Otherwise, you might end up learning some pretty tough lessons in front of the entire world.

- Marji J. Sherman

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