“Where should I go?” asked Alice.”That depends on where you want to end up,” the Cheshire Cat replied.

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

What your company does with social media should be guided by clear objectives

In conversations about social media with business owners over the past few years I’ve found – even with those who have some social media activity going on – a lack of awareness that social media can be employed to achieve any one, or several, of a number of objectives.

If what I have noticed is as general as I believe it is, that could mean that many businesses are selling themselves short on the benefits they could be getting from their social engagement.

So I encourage the idea of spending some time brainstorming possible social media objectives. This can help your business get greater leverage, and create more value, from your social media engagement activities.

It’s also essential that we ensure the social media objectives we choose fit with our broader business objectives. I’ve written about this elsewhere and provided a 5 step process: see my blog post How to Align Your Social Media and Business Objectives

I’ve also uploaded to Slideshare a recent presentation on the same topic, titled A Practical Approach to Align Your Social and Business/Career Objectives.

You might choose to do that broader process, which includes brainstorming your social media objectives as the fourth step.

Some possible social media objectives

To help with the social media brainstorming process, here are ten of the objectives companies typically focus on when they get serious about social media strategy. They are numbered for convenience, but in no particular order of priority.

  1. Build brand awareness
  2. Generate leads
  3. Increase sales
  4. Establish thought leadership
  5. Build relationships with customers
  6. Engage customers as brand evangelists
  7. Get customer input for product and/or service improvement
  8. Improve internal communication
  9. Staff recruitment and retention
  10. Improve departmental and/or company-wide collaboration

And if that doesn’t provide enough inspiration to get started on your own list, check out Jeremiah Owyang’s list of 50 Ways to use Social Media, listed by Objective (posted in 2008 but still good).

Do you have an example to share about the value of being clear about your social media objectives?

Or a cautionary tale about not having that clarity?

Image: Cheshire Cat drawn by John Tenniel, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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