How to Create Good Social Media Business Objectives
Business objectives are the most critical, yet most overlooked, part of a social media strategy.
Now that we’re past the point of early adoption, many brands are citing “Everyone else is doing it” as their business objective Who is everyone? Customers? Target Market? Competitors? Employees? Suppliers?
A poor business objective causes many problems, the worst of which being a social media strategy execution that is vague and generic.
Take this example from Putnam Investments: The Retirement Savings Challenge. The blog seems well intentioned, but what is this doing for Putnam?
The “About” section says, “At Putnam, we’re starting a conversation about America’s existing workplace savings plans, because we believe they can become a more reliable foundation for our nation’s retirement system.”
Awesome! The nation’s retirement system definitely needs some help, bravo to Putnam for trying to use business to help society.
But…how can you start a conversation about America’s retirement system without a comment field? I would love to comment on this great post about retirement savings.
Possible Social Media Objectives:
- Brand Preference? Could be, but where’s the tie?
- Brand Awareness? Okay, this might be it, but with a low PageRank how will anyone get to the site?
- Perhaps from Putnam Investment’s Twitter account? The tweets are all good PR or Corp Communications tweets, but there’s nothing driving content.
3 Components of Good Social Media Business Objectives
A good business objective should have 3 components
- Business Impact (Speak to Shareholders)
- How (Speak to Employees)
- Consumer Value (Speak to Consumers)
Here’s an example I reverse-engineered from Time Magazine’s Twitter account:
Drive traffic to ad-supported website through timely, simple updates of new articles that are easy to understand, receive, and manage.
- Business Impact: Drive traffic to ad-supported website
- How: through timely, simple updates of new articles
- Customer Value – that are easy to understand, receive, and manage
Notice, the word “Twitter” was intentionally left out of the business objective. The tool doesn’t matter, what matters is that managers understand how they are going to do something for consumers that will give the business value.
Tips on Writing the Business Impact
- Start with a verb. An objective is an action.
- Think Accounting 101 –obvious connection to revenues or expenses.
- “Brand equity” or “brand awareness” are okay to use, but expect organizational resistance. If using these, be able to explain how you will measure it and isolate the social media initiative as a variable.
Tips on Writing the How
- Avoid technology specifics, buzzwords, and industry vernacular.
- The test of clarity is that a non-tech or non-business person could easily understand it.
- If you have an obvious technology in mind that fits, don’t be afraid to write the How that leads to it as an obvious solution.
Tips on Writing the Consumer Value
- Read existing research to understand consumer behavior. This will ground you in reality.
- The value should lead to a benefit. It’s trickier than it sounds…but think of a benefit as how a consumer would rave about your brand to a friend.
Would someone pay for it? It doesn’t matter if you’re going to charge for it, but this is a good test of whether or not you have value.
In: Leadership and Management, Strategy