Intertwining social media with business goals

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Having a social media presence is worthless unless you do something with it. A business should set goals for their social media department (if they have one). This is an opportunity/cost issue. If you are not familiar with this term, Economists define it as the best alternative forgone because a particular course of action is pursued. In other words, is it worth it for you to use social media for your organization? The answer to that question is if the work done on social media created the most value at that given time.

Social Media’s Value to an Organization

Social media can be used for personal entertainment or for building a community around your company. Employees at work catching up with friends on Facebook or watching videos of kittens on YouTube are wasting productivity.

Social media adds to the organization when an employee monitors social media networks for positive and negative statements made by people about the organization’s product that he is responsible for. Social media adds to an organization if someone manages customer service requests in real time made in microblogging platforms, or engaging in online reputation management.

We see in these two examples of two employees. One of them is wasting time. The other is being productive. Same desk, same tools, and same channels, but we see completely different pictures. One of them has goals: business intelligence, customer service, and online reputation management.

Making goals for your social media department can only be done once you clearly understand your business tactics, goals, strategies, and targets.

The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

In the business world, managers have a difficult time telling the difference between strategy and tactics.

A strategy is a plan of actions designed to achieve a goal. It is complex and made up of many moving parts.

Tactics are the means by which a strategy can be carried out.

Example: The current strategy to get net new customers (goal) is to use Facebook to increase both our reach and our prospect-to-customer conversions. Two of the tactics that will be used are A) discount coupons for new connections on Facebook and B) rebate for anyone who shares our Facebook posts.

The Difference Between Goals and Targets

A goal is an organization’s endpoint, also known as an objective.

A target is the specific value assigned to an objective within a time frame.

Goals set the direction and focus of an activity, while targets establish the specific parameters to achieve the goal.

 

Example: If the company’s goal is to increase customers by 50 net new transacting customers, then the target would be 100 net new customers by Q1. If the company’s goal is to buy cheaper materials for products, the target would be to buy materials for products for 10% less.

Inserting a Social Media Program into Business Objectives

Social media is not its own function. It’s a communication tool, like the telephone and email, that serves the purposes for critical business functions, including public relations, marketing, lead generation, customer service, and market research. There is no such thing as a “social media strategy.” What you do have is business objectives or strategies to achieve these goals. Start with those and incorporate social media into that.

For instance, you don’t need 25,000 followers on Twitter. You need to make more sales and Twitter can be used to achieve those objectives.

A social media program, to deliver results, must have a purpose rooted in business objectives.

How to Create a Roadmap by Turning Objectives into Targets

To set targets for goals, there are a few approaches you have to take. First, it is much clearer to label targets as “performance targets,” “training targets,” and “sales targets” instead of having no clear label. Next, when setting social media targets, it isn’t as simple as saying you want “more followers,” “more mentions,” “growing market share,” and “increasing sales.” You need to be more specific. For instance, “gaining 300 mentions a day” and “increasing followers by 6,000 a month.”

Why is it good to set up your social media targets as stated? Two reasons. One reason is that it makes your organization focus on ways to achieve goals. It switches their attitudes from maintenance mode to problem-solving mode. The second reason is that setting specific targets makes there be accountability. It is one thing to show vague progress. It is another to make someone accountable for successfully hitting or failing to hit a goal.

The Top 5 Business Functions that can be easily enhanced by a social media program

A social media program can help businesses. This is because most organizations share certain needs. These needs can be met in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Fulfilling these needs can be helped through social media. Social media can assist by helping sales, customer support, human resources, public relations, and business intelligence.

 

Sales

One way social media can help with sales is to acquire new customers – first through its reach and influence. With social media, you adopt new customers and then develop them. You develop them by having repeated conversations with them. Eventually, many of these people will become your customers. Another way to gain customers, through reach, is to create an advertisement and promote it on social media. Finally, you can make money through, without being pushy, promoting discounts on your products.

Customer Support

Social media allows your organization to increase the efficiency of their customer support practice, and customer satisfaction. It increases the efficiency of the customer support practice and customer satisfaction because customers don’t have to jump through hoops to simply get your attention. There are people monitoring what your customers are saying to you, and that means faster response rates.

There are two things you have to do to create a social media program for your customer support practice. The first one is to train a customer service representative to use social media. This is a lot easier than hiring a social media expert and training them in customer support. The second one you have to do to infuse social media into the customer support practice is buying an advanced social media monitoring tool. These tools are very helpful. One reason is that anytime your company is talked about online you get notified.

Human Resources

HR is better off with social media. The HR team can identify the applicant, and if they have a lot of trusted friends, colleagues, etc., in common with the applicant, then the HR team will be able to trust the applicant more for the position. They can also recruit from social media. This is because they can search resumes of people on LinkedIn, etc., and may find someone they think would do well in the open position. Also, searching people’s social media accounts can be better than just sifting through just resumes.

Public Relations

If your company has a bad image online, then a public relations professional has to do what is called online reputation management.  This term means the public relations professional can spread across the online media the truth to make your organization have a better image.

PR teams can also help customers have a deeper relationship with the organization, through social media channels. A PR team can also increase trust and mindshare for the company, as well as foster alignment of values between companies.

Business Intelligence

Social media allows the business to monitor what customers are saying about you and your competitors. Social media allows how those sentiments are changing. Public relations can be applied due to business intelligence.

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