Skip main navigation

How to select the right social media objectives for success

This article describes the relationship between social media and marketing objectives. Let's explore them both.

It’s crucial to be able to articulate your core business goals as social media objectives. This ensures that your activity in social is aligned and integrated with the wider organisation.

Social media objectives

Social media objectives are derived from marketing ones, which in turn are derived from the goals of the business.

A diagram which shows how the business goals inform marketing objectives, which in turn shape the social media objectives

To download a detailed description of this visual, scroll to the “Downloads” section at the bottom of this step.

This diagram shows the business goal as the starting point. The marketing team will base the development of the marketing objectives on it. Keep in mind that the rest of the departments – sales, operations, etc. – will also set their own objectives in alignment with the business goal.

In contribution to the set marketing objectives, the social media manager will develop a social strategy with its own connected objectives. These are specific to social media but fully integrated with the marketing objectives, and ultimately, with the business goals. Below are six common business goals which can be supported by social media.

Business Goal 1: Brand awareness

For ‘top of the funnel’ marketing, social media plays a vital role. Video is increasingly the most popular format for this awareness-building, as it lends itself so well to capturing attention, explaining a new concept and introducing a new creative idea to a defined audience.

Many brands create highly shareable content in the hope that many consumers’ first contact with the brand will be something shared from a friend they know and trust, leveraging the power of online word of mouth.

Business Goal 2: Data capture

In a fast-moving digital environment, it’s as important as ever to have proprietary customer data, so you have ready access to this information and you’re not solely relying on platforms such as Facebook to stay in business.

Social media can still, however, play a role in capturing data such as email addresses and names via incentives (e.g. ‘sign up for our exclusive offers’) or through lead generation paid to advertise.

Business Goal 3: Sales

Traditionally, social media managers have avoided tying their activity to commercial goals, as developing a social community will always be a long-term and indirect form of marketing. However, the increasingly algorithm-driven social landscape has decreased organic social (in many instances, to less than 10% of a company page’s audience).

Therefore, paid social has become a much bigger part of the mix. This gives brands an opportunity to put specific sales-focused messages in front of discreet, targeted, audiences.

Business Goal 4: Repeat purchase

A successful social media community should include and involve existing customers to make them feel valued and part of something.

While it’s not the place to incessantly promote products to people, indulging their love of your brand through valuable content will keep you at the front of their minds and indirectly drive those repeat purchases.

This can, of course, be done more directly through paid social advertising.

Business Goal 5: Advocacy

Word of mouth marketing, which leverages the power of personal recommendation, is nothing new. But with social media, this channel operates at a completely different scale. Research consistently shows that people respond far more positively to a product recommendation from a real person, rather than one from the brand itself.

Any engagement metric can potentially demonstrate this but shares of content and mentions of the brand/product are the best indicators of online advocacy.

Business goal 6: Customer feedback

Social media is a highly effective channel for gathering feedback on products and learning more about your audience’s opinions and appetites.

From simply asking an audience which variation of a new product they like, to running in-depth surveys targeted at specific groups through paid social ads, there are numerous ways to make your business more customer-centric through social.

If you’d like to learn more about understanding your social media strategy, check out the full online course from The Institute of Data and Marketing, below.

This article is from the free online

Understanding Social Media Strategy

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now