Setting your 2012 social media goals

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As the end of the year approaches, now is a good time to work on your social media goals for next year, if you haven’t already done so. As social media is online word of mouth marketing, it has become essentially important for businesses, so whether you’re experienced at social media or just getting started, having some goals in place for 2012 means you are better prepared for the coming year.

Social networks are good environments to learn because that is where the people are. This is fundamentally what businesses must keep at the back of their minds: social media networks are great places to gain knowledge and then use this information to support your business in the best way possible.

When thinking about what you would like to achieve in the social media space for 2012 it important that your goals align with your overall business objectives. Other things to bear in mind when setting social media goals are the following:

Set only a few goals
: Having too many goals in the social media space can be overwhelming as time, commitment and effort is important. Therefore, setting no more than three goals, which are realistic, but stretch you out of your comfort zone means you will more likely achieve what you set out to do.

Measure the results
: If you want to increase traffic by 10 percent, you need to know how you are going to measure this increase. Without this foundation, you simply multiply your chances of failure.

Experiment with different platforms
: There are a vast number of platforms in the social media space. Don’t be concerned that you don’t know all of them. The best way to learn is to sign up for a personal account and become familiar with how the network functions, then create your business profile and experiment.

Consider your resources
: Social media marketing is time consuming. How are you going to create content and conversations for the year if you have more than one platform? Quality content and conversations updated regularly are fundamental to being successful in the social media space. Therefore, it is better to focus on only one platform and do this properly than have five platforms that are updated irregularly with information your target audience isn’t interested in.

Create quality content: This one is an obvious one but still the one the majority of businesses struggle with. Content needs to be useful to your target audience as well as transparent and not self-endorsing.

Social media is not the same as traditional ‘push’ marketing where advertisers ram forward messages to consumers in the hope that they will be noticed. Social media and the online environment in general, is more in line with ‘pull’ marketing where the audience takes the information they want and need.

If you keep producing content that your audience finds valuable, they will keep coming back as well as spread the word. This is the key benefit of social media.