25 SMART Social Media Objectives | Beth's Blog

25 SMART Social Media Objectives

Digital Strategy

I’ve been working on a peer learning project with arts organizations called “Leveraging Social Media” based on the social media lab.   There are two cohort groups, one working on strategic use of a single channel and a more advanced group working on an integrated  strategy.    With both, the process begins with setting SMART objectives and  Kami Huyse points out why this is important.

Using SMART objectives for nonprofit communications strategies is not new idea.   Spitfire’s useful  SMART chart planning tool has been used by many nonprofits and was adapted for social media for nonprofits by NTEN’s WeAreMedia project several years ago.

SMART Objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely objectives.      The Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Advocacy Campaign guide points out they come in three flavors:

Tactical: Tools and Techniques
Results: Money, time, or other tangible tesult that can be converted
Capacity: People, content, work flow, learning

The process includes beginning with identifying intent.  Next, make it specific by adding a number, percentage, increase/decrease and a date.   Some nonprofits find it hard to do because it takes hitting the pause button.  Also, there may be a feeling that one is getting “graded” if they don’t make the deadline or hit the target number.   SMART objectives can be revised along the way.

Some struggle to find an attainable number.    Benchmarking comparing your organization’s past performance to itself or doing a formal or informal analysis of peer organizations can help.  It also helps to break down your goal into monthly or quarterly benchmarks.

It is also important to think about what specific metrics are needed to measure along the way.   Often, there is too much data collected and not enough sense-making of it.    Many organizations think more data is better.  It is best to concentrate on the one or two data points that will help guide improvements and demonstrate results.   With social media as with communications strategies, the data points are those that will help measure:  awareness, attitudes, actions, or behavior change.

Finally, allocating time for a reflection about what worked, what didn’t based on an analysis of the data is critical.  Many nonprofits have not institutionalized this approach.    Unfortunately,  there is a goldmine of learning lost about lead to success or how to improve results next time around.

Here’s a summary of 25 SMART social media objectives from Leveraging Social Media project with arts organizations.

Increase website traffic by 25% by adding social media content starting posting by November 1, 2012.
Acquire 100 new donors through Facebook Causes by June 30, 2012
Increase email list sign ups through social media channels by 500 names by June 30, 2012
Increase the number of gallery visitors who purchase (in person or online) by 20% by June 30, 2012
Increase online and print mentions by 25% by June 30, 2012
Increase enrollment in classes and workshops by 50% by June 30, 2012
Increase exhibition visitors by 15%  by June 30, 2012

Increase audience connections through Facebook to 1000 by June 1, 2012.
Increase our month to month Post Feedback on Facebook by 25% on average.
Increase mentions by 20% on Twitter before, during, and after performances for 2011
Increase likes and comments with fans on Facebook to 3 comments per post by June 30, 2012
Increase views on YouTube Channel by 50% by January, 2012
Increase number of retweets and @replies on Twitter by 20% by September, 30, 2011
Recruit 40 organizations to join our LinkedIn organization page by June 30, 2012
Increase web site traffic from Facebook by 20% by September 30, 2012
Utilize Facebook to increase Festival attendance and online program views by 5% by September 2011
Identify top 25  influencers on Twitter to  build relationships to help blog, repost, and spread the word about online  program by September, 30, 2012
Increase the age/ethnicity/gender/income/geographic of Facebook fans by 20%  by June 30, 2012

Create video trailers for all productions garnering an average of 100 views per trailer for the 2011-2012 programs.
Integrate social media across organization staff and departments to use it reach goals by 2012
Conduct an audience survey to determine where to expand, grow, and diversify social media presence for 2012
Create one video per month to tell stories about the impact of our organization by January, 2012.
Recruit 40 organization
Staff members in membership, fundraising, communications, and marketing departments will use social media tools to engage audiences on Facebook page 3 times per week.
Conduct surveys at the end of every class and workshop to gather important audience social media usage data and experience with program by June 2012
Enhance visual storytelling capacity and diversify type of content shared with a  goal increasing  videos by 10%, photos by 20% photographic and text that stimulates comments by 20%  by August 1, 2012
Create a presence and support active fans on social fundraisings Jumo,  Crowdrise, and Change.org by September 30, 2012
Create a system to collect, aggregate, and share user generated content on social media by audiences by September 30, 2012

What if we stepped away from the process of checking off items on our to do list, and spent a little bit of time charting impact of our nonprofit’s social media use?  What if we made sure the process for identifying  SMART objectives included capacity building, measurement, and reflection?

What is your organization’s SMART social media objectives?  How did you determine it?  How will you measure them along the way?

26 Responses

  1. Betsy Baker says:

    Thank you, Beth! As a grant writer I constantly harp on nonprofits for data collection to strengthen the grant application but they either tend to collect it and not do anything with it or just don’t collect it all because the process seems to be overwhelming. Just focusing on one or two collection points is good, sound advice. I also like how you gave samples of social media objectives. We get a lot of guidance on what we should be doing but not as much as guidance for the how of doing it. Great post. 🙂

  2. Beth, Thank you for your wonderful (as usual) post. I teach social media in a marketing grad program and I struggle with how to teach them to keep it simple but measurable. This outline is a great teaching tool and will make things tangible for them. The students create a social media plan for a real non profit as part of the course including meeting the exec. dir in the first class and making a presentation to them in the final class.

    I want to thank you for all your hard work and for sharing everything you are doing and learning. It makes me feel like I am a part of it and I recommend your blog and zoetica to anyone who will listen! I don’t tell you as often as I think it so today I decided I needed to thank you very much for everything.

  3. John Haydon says:

    Beth – this is so great!

    In my limited experience I’ve found that many orgs confuse “goals” and “objectives”. Goals are broad, objectives are specific and measurable.

    Goal: Create a culture of trust, openness and support on our Facebook Page.
    Objective: Increase fan posts by 50% in the next 90 days.
    Strategy: Respond quickly, thoughtfully and compassionately to comments. Give props to best contributors.
    Tactics: Use Hyper Alerts to get instant notification of activity. Spend 30/day pouring over fan comments on stories with the highest feedback.

  4. John Rougeux says:

    Beth, thanks for this post. If you were to select the 5 objectives that generally provide the greatest bang for the buck, what would they be? I realize that the answers will vary from one organization to another, but your thoughts on what has generally been the “low hanging fruit” would be helpful. Thanks.

  5. Very well written. These are very clear and not modest at all. Its important to lay numbers down when its time to achieve goals. Most companies forget to do this, they merely approximate.

  6. Jenn Dize says:

    Wow! This is very well done. A great reminder of how important it is to lay out concrete objectives.

  7. […] Social media expert Beth Kanter summarizes recent studies on how to increase Facebook engagement – it’s also a great way to find out what issues your constituents are most interested in.  Beth also outlines how to set SMART social media objectives. […]

  8. Beth says:

    John: That is a great question. There are too many variables to generalize like that because it all boils down to strategy, organizational culture, staff skills on the execution, etc.

  9. m.xzy says:

    I am very new with this Social Media, but I want to be an expert on this [for employment purposes]. Thanks for this relevant information.

  10. Maria Thompson says:

    Thanks Beth! This is so helpful!

  11. Gabriel Cole says:

    Fantastically helpful thank you, It looks like your current audience may perhaps want a lot more content such as this keep up the great work.

  12. Andrew says:

    Excellent page / post …

    I have to agree with John Haydon, too many people and organisations get goals and objectives confused…

    I have a statement and question about objectives and I would appreciate some clarity: I feel that objectives seem similar to what your ideal metrics would be….

    Surely objectives and metrics are inter-linked whereby objectives would be your intended result and your metrics would be your actual result? Could anyone please provide some clarity?

    Thank you

  13. […] Having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) objectives will help you have a clearer view of what to expect on your social media campaign. […]

  14. […] 31 organizations were accepted. Beth’s blog captured certain aspects of the workshop including articulating objectives, benchmarking, and a case study of AXIS Dance’s use of Facebook […]

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  16. Jeff Meyer says:

    It looks like I’m about a year late to this post, but I’m glad I read it nonetheless! Very insightful stuff. By any chance can you point to any case studies of how someone has achieved some of these goals?

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  18. […] of focusing on metrics first, ask yourself what you ultimately want people to do. Then the metrics come into […]

  19. […] of focusing on metrics first, ask yourself what you ultimately want people to do. Then the metrics come into […]

  20. We are looking to take a more active role with social media, we think it has great potential & this article helps us understand the principals of social media.

  21. […] needs to achieve, the direction of social media implementation becomes clear. Here is a relevant case study on how one organization did just […]

  22. […] 25 SMART social media objectives for nonprofits by Beth Kanter Building an editorial calendar (good thoughts from Spin Sucks – a great site) Content Strategy – an easy-to-follow process Your Top 10 Content Strategy Questions (Finally!) Answered by NTEN You Need a Content Strategy (slideshare) Policy Database: The most complete listing of social media policies. Referenced by the world’s largest brands and agencies. Volunteer Blogger Agreements. Look at your own standard volunteer agreement and use it as a base. Tailor it with blogging specific expectations and incentives. One sample. […]

  23. Ekima says:

    While Jeff is a year late, i am a year and a half late to this post but i am also truly happy to have stumbled upon it. Great blog. Please how can one achieve the goals stated in your blog?

  24. […] for an info graphic on social media, I found this simple, but very well articulated graphic from Beth's Blog. Initially, it came across as overly simplistic, then it dawned on me that it was precisely this […]