Though it should go without saying that setting an objective is the first step in any marketing activity, I have noticed just how often it is overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, if asked about any email sent, post shared, or ad created, most marketers will have a quick answer as to what that piece is meant to achieve. But it can sometimes be a bit of a ‘chicken and the egg’ situation. The marketer may be running on autopilot, so used to creating and putting out content that a marketing activity’s objective may be a secondary thought, rather than the force that shapes it.
This is true for social media marketing as it is for most marketing forms. It can be easy to get lost in the cycle of posting content on your company’s social media accounts, especially if you’ve set a quota for yourself as far as posting frequency. Depending on the type of business you operate in, you may be focused solely on maintaining the appropriate voice and tone to appeal to your audience. But you can’t let yourself get so submerged in the routine aspect of posting that you forget to determine a goal for each and every post. What are you hoping to achieve with that specific link, article, video, or comment? No matter how simple that one post may be, you need to have a clarity of purpose in order for it to be at its most effective.
Each social media post, as well as each marketing communication in general, has an objective that falls within one of three categories. We’ll explore each one from the point of view of the popular beauty product supplier Sephora.
This is the most basic type of objectives you can set, but also one of the most important. When thinking about the marketing funnel, this is the type of content that will get people in so that they can hopefully progress all the way through conversion. A social media post for this type by Sephora would announce the launch of a new product, likely with a hashtag so the post may be found even by users who don’t already follow the account.
Your objective falls under the category of consideration if you are trying to create interactions with your audience that go past awareness and into familiarity and even trust. This can be achieved in many ways, such as stimulating traffic, encouraging engagement, promoting app installs, attracting video views, and generating leads for further marketing. For Sephora, this may take the shape of sharing links to enticing products’ pages, posting videos showing how to use a hair styling tool, or encouraging people to sign up for the rewards program to acquire their emails.
Aimed at those that have moved further down the funnel, conversion-oriented posts on social media focus on finalizing the acquisition of a customer. One way in which Sephora achieves this is through their bi-annual sale. Social media posts are one way they promote these rare times when premium products go on sale. The conversion objective can be met by people following a link to shop on the Sephora website or being encouraged to go into the store to shop around.
Although there are plenty of advantages to having a schedule for social media marketing, routine shouldn’t be allowed to detract from consistently setting objectives for each and every post. Each and every Tweet, video, or post operates as part of a whole, and must therefore contribute to your strategy in a concrete way. If you ask yourself what you hope to achieve at the beginning of each post creation process, you will allow your overall social media marketing strategy to thrive as a whole.