Setting Social Media Goals for 2016 (& Free Worksheet)

Setting goals on social media can help you determine the right content and more for your online strategy!
Setting goals on social media can help you determine the right content and more for your online strategy!

If you're running a business or have a personal brand (artists, designers, makers, etc) and utilize social media to get your message across, it's imperative that you define what your goals are.

Setting goals can direct your actions, help you create unique content, and be the deciding factor in what platforms you spend time on.

If you haven't set goals, don't beat yourself up. It's something I see a lack of often. There are so many reasons why goals are not a priority for businesses and people using social media; from just never taking the time to sit down and outline goals to simply not knowing what goals to strive for.

It's a new year, so let's get this party started on the right foot by defining what goals you might want to concentrate on and how to go about achieving them!

Below are some of the biggest and most common goals you may want to think about when using social media to build your business online.

Goals for a Social Media Strategy


Social media is one of the best ways to drive sales back to your business. Whether you're a product or service driven business, if you're selling anything, sales should be one of (if not the most) important goals!

Drive sales by creating content with these tips:

  • Calls to action (CTA): Make sure there is always a URL even if you are posting a picture (Posting on Instagram? Direct them to the link in your bio). Don't expect followers to go find your website or shop page on their own, because more often than not they won't. If it's not in front of them, you've lost them. Make it easy for potential clients and customers to buy your products and services.
  • Definitive language: Use words and descriptions that encourage people to take action immediately. Writing "check it out." is no longer powerful. Talk to your community in ways that relate to them, and why they need to click on a link right then and there.
  • Use visuals as much as possible: People scan now online before they commit to reading anything - always use images to pique interest. (Not a great photographer? If you are selling a product, consider in investing in a photographer or take a class to sharpen your skills.)
  • Plan your content: Sitting down and planning out your copy, content, and your focus is a game changer for taking control of your business on social media. Use a calendar to spell out exactly what you're sharing online. This allows you to visually see how often you talk about a product/service, how exactly your content will drive traffic back to your sales pages, and what exactly you are saying.

Website Traffic

Along with sales, driving traffic back to your website is one of the biggest goals to reach for within your online strategy.

Whether you are sharing art work, selling clothing/products, or looking to increase your blog following, driving followers and potential clients back to your website with enticing content is one of the best ways to encourage traffic.

  • Calls to action (CTA)As above with building sales; use calls to action, make it almost stupidly easy for visitors to find your website by always supplying a URL, and using strong definitive language.
  • Drive traffic with original content: create compelling and interesting content through blog posts and images about your services, products. Offer valuable information that will benefit your audience through a blog post.
  • Always be driving: Don't feel bad or feel like you are annoying people by selling what you do. By planning out your content you can visually see where you are talking about your product, and then fill in the voids with content that underlines your brands values and missions.

Grab your Goals Setting Worksheet here!

Engagement/Community Building

Not to be confused with follower growth, engagement and community can be incredibly robust no matter how small your audience is. It's also one of my favorite things about social media: connecting to others through common interests (one's art or products), can feel like you've made a small difference in someone's life. There's nothing like it!

Engagement and community building is hard work, it doesn't happen over night. But with consistency, perseverance, and interesting content, it will happen.

Simple ways to begin to create engagement and community:

  • Share and create valuable content: People hang out on social media all day to be inspired. Social media is aspirational. This means many things to different people. This could be gorgeous Instagram photos, exceptional information in a blog post, a cat video, you name it. Inspirational content runs the gamut online, and the best way to connect with your community is sharing content that they relate to.
  • Be personable online: this doesn't mean let it all hang out. No, quite the contrary, it means being professional; being true to your brand's values, and engaging sincerely with your audience.
  • Curate a welcoming atmosphere: respond to questions in a timely manner (no longer than a few hours, if you're replying days later you've lost them), ask your community questions, talk directly to your customer when posting. Act like there is an actual person behind your brand -- because there is!
  • Follow back: you don't need to follow everyone on social media back. However, if you have people that continually pop up in your mentions, engage with you, and support your content, product, and services it's just common sense and good faith to follow them back.

Creating and building a community starts with one person, and it is called social media for a reason. 😉

One of the most wonderful things about social media is the accessibility it gives us to people who are at the top of their fields and making valuable contributions.

Brand Exposure:

Brand exposure is simply about becoming known within your industry and being associated with it. Be the best you can be online, a few ways to make this happen:

  • Share valuable and unique content: set your brand apart by sharing content that inspires, offers valuable information, and sets you apart from everyone else.
  • Create your own compelling content: You are the master of your domain, create content that says that! A few ideas:
    • Write compelling blog posts about your company - such as why you do what you do, or a great customer experience you had
    • Take product shots that inspire and really breathe life into what you do
    • Share images from your community by encouraging your clients and followers to use a branded hashtag
    • Stay consistent: People are creatures of habit, so it's important to be dependable online. Post content consistently, stay on brand, respond to comments and queries in a timely fashion.

Professional Exposure: Employment and Opportunities

Many women I've worked with are looking to change careers or gain exposure within their field through professional opportunities. Social media is a great way to build your own reputation and network with those in your field.

Key ways to do this online:

  • Share content about your niche: one of the first ways to start to establish yourself within your industry - share relevant and great content. Work to be known for offering information that is not only helpful but valuable and unique.
  • Write and create original content within your niche: Blog, podcast, create videos, etc. Establish yourself by creating content from your perspective. You are unique and have a great point of view, show it!
  • Share your work: This may sound silly, but you would be surprised by the amount of people who never share what they have made online. Don't let fear and insecurities sabotage your goals. Share your work!
  • Following & engaging with industry people: One of the most wonderful things about social media is the accessibility it gives us to people who are at the top of their fields and making valuable contributions. Don't be shy about following them and engaging with them. They are people just like you and me -- and I'll tell you what, I have made countless connections and landed jobs due to the connections I have made online.
  • Being consistent: Exposure does not happen over night. Be consistent, take risks by reaching out to network, plan your content, and keep at it.
  • Setting Goals: I know so meta, but it's important that you outline why you want exposure and what exactly for. By setting these goals and measuring your success through engagement, traffic, and actual interactions, it will help outline your success.
  • Being confident: Be true to yourself!

Follower Growth

I kept this one for last, because while we all want to have followers (don't lie to yourself, you do, we all do.) it can really muddy the waters for why we're online and what our true goals are.

Sometimes people set out and all they want are more followers...but what does that mean exactly? Is it brand reach? Is it sales? Is it being known within your industry? Use the above goals I laid out to help you define what you want and why you are online, then track your followers as a measurable goal monthly so you can see the progress that's happening. (I'll be posting over the next few weeks about how to track follower growth, so stay tuned for that!)

Now Put it Into Action

Now is the hard, but exciting part! It's 2016, be honest and push yourself to work to achieve what you want this year with your goals on social media. It can be scary to write it all down, but the only way to achieve goals is to set them and then work towards them. You can do it! Download the above worksheet to get started, or make your own.

How can I help you? Hit me up on Twitter or join my private Facebook to talk about your goals and the hurdles you have.

Meighan O'Toole

Always all in.