Working with a marketing group recently I realized that many people have a difficult time getting from goals to tactics in social media marketing. The tendency we have is to set a goal and then reiterate the goal in different forms in the additional planning stages which are: Goals-Objectives-Strategy-Tactics. I have learned that improper identification in each of these categories can:
a. have you running in circles trying to get to the goal.
b. cause tears of frustration because you spent hours with a team discussing your high arching goals and when you got back to your desk you realized that no one on the team has any idea of how you are actually going to achieve them.
c. cause you to give up on goal setting because, heck, the goal is to grow, right? Who cares how we get there?
Sound familiar? Here is how I distinguish the categories, which makes it easier to understand the process of getting from goals to tactics in social media marketing.
What are Goals?
I’ve learned that goals are not specific. I used to think increasing followers on a social account was a goal. Wrong. A goal is what you will achieve for your business/career/interest by increasing the follower count. So the question to ask yourself is, what do you need or want to see happen in the future? Are you looking to sell a product? Start a workshop? Build a community around an issue to affect change? These are your goals.
Business Objectives and Strategies
These steps are more quantifiable. Let’s say my goal is to build revenue around a new product line for my business. Right now I sell shoes and I want to add handbags as an additional sales stream. The objective would be something more measurable such as selling an average of 10 handbags a week over the next eight weeks.
The strategy is about how you are going to sell those handbags. Will it be a new promotion to current customers? An Instagram promotion with a branded hashtag? Facebook Ads? Google Ads? Are you selling online and in brick and mortar stores? If so, you need to make sure your online promotion aligns with what you are offering in your stores. (It’s important that these things match so you don’t alienate any of your customer bases.)
Tactics are your To-Do List
The tactics are literally the things you will do on a regular basis to implement your strategy, meet your objective, and accomplish your goal. In this case, if you want to use a strategy based on your marketing to your current customers with an exclusive sneak peek and sale, you might want to use these tactics:
- Send out an announcement to your current list about the new line and follow up for two weeks with teasers leading up to the “opening” to current subscribers.
- Start a Facebook group for Insiders or use another platform to curate your most dedicated customers and use a campaign similar to your email marketing to capture people who don’t open their emails regularly.
Each goal may have more than one objective and/or strategy that you want to use. You need to list your tactics for each one as specifically as possible so you know how you are going to get what you are aiming for. For an introduction to different social platforms and how to use them, download our eguide.
I recently enrolled in a Master of Science program in Digital Marketing after years (ahem) of marketing and selling across all platforms (terrestrial and cyber) and multiple industries. I have always been skeptical of what you can gain from an advanced degree when you have a lot of applied experience. Well, for this lesson, my big educational moment is about reinforcing the process and its importance.
I lean toward the creative category of business persons. Although I am also very good at execution and management, I have a lot of ideas. When you are working in a marketing discipline ideas and follow-through are great. But you need to be clear about what you are doing or you could waste time.
I have found that this style of structured and disciplined planning makes it much easier to manage and quantify progress. I suppose in the internet age of marketing “old dogs” really can and must always learn new tricks.