A typical social media conversation:
Person A: Hey! Facebook has 600,000 users. We need a social media plan! Throw one together for me would you?
Person B: Great! I love the enthusiasm. What are your objectives?
Person A: Well, we want to get a bunch of followers.
Person B: Okay, so what are your objectives?
Person A: To get 10,000 new followers that we can communicate to directly.
Person B: Awesome. What are your objectives?
Person A: To have conversations with all these fans we are going to get.
Person B: Sweet! What are your objectives?
and round and round we go…
Makes me think about the fundamental differences between goals and objectives. To me, goals are point in time milestones we want to hit. Objectives are the long-term effect we want to create. I think of hockey given it’s playoff season. Scoring is the “goal”, but winning is the objective, hence game plans, and personnel, line changes, etc. They all add up to scoring goals in order to meet the objective.
When it comes to social media, it is great to have goals, but never lose site of the objectives. Social media managers are invested in the long term effects, not the short term. Short term results when not part of an overall objective will get you nowhere. Investing in social media differs from online advertising, keyword search, email, print, radio, etc. Sure, it’s great to integrate social media into these mediums, but again, what is the objective? What long term sustainable impression and activity do we want to generate?
Here are some ideas on Goals vs Objectives:
- 1,000 Fans on Facebook
- 100 Likes per post on Facebook
- 25 Comments per post on Facebook
- 10,000 Followers on Twitter
- Build a customer advocacy program
- Create a sustainable process to facilitate user generated content
- Improve time to customer issue resolution by 50%
- Create end user pull for a new product or service