How to Set Social Media Marketing Goals That Drive Revenue Growth


Identifying social media marketing goals that drive business results will help you prove the ROI from your social strategy.

This is crucial for today’s marketers, most of whom are unable to tie social media initiatives to revenue.

According to eMarketer, The CMO Survey by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business found that over 60 percent of B2C chief marketing officers can’t quantify the impact of social media. And almost 50 percent of B2B CMOs say they haven’t been able to prove how social affects their business.

Despite the inability of a majority of marketing leaders to prove the impact of social media marketing, The CMO Survey found that from 2015 to 2020, the share of marketing budgets spent on social media will likely double, from 10.7 percent to 23.8 percent.

This means that marketers plan to spend a lot more money on social, without necessarily being able to prove the ROI from their efforts.

That is a big problem for leaders who want to ask for more marketing budget, and who want to prove their value so they can keep their jobs. It also helps to explain why there is such as high turnover in senior marketing positions.

Forrester research predicted that at least 30 percent of CMOs would be fired in 2017, according to Adage. So the question is, how do you prove that your social media efforts contribute to business results?

The importance of social media marketing goals

Every marketer anticipates one main thing at the beginning of each quarter — goal setting. Marketing goals determine your workload, your priorities, and how your performance will be evaluated. Your work-life revolves around these goals.

This means that the key to implementing a revenue-driven marketing strategy, is setting smart goals that help you to improve your performance and prove your value.

Let’s break down the purpose of social media marketing goals.

What your social media goals should do:

  • Measure success so you can optimize campaigns;
  • Set expectations for your team and give them something to work toward;
  • Align your social strategy with other marketing and business activities; and
  • Prove the value of your social media strategy to executives.

What they shouldn’t do:

  • Focus on tasks that can’t be tied to business outcomes;
  • Use vanity metrics as a means of proving ROI;
  • Undermine or fail to support other marketing functions and the overall marketing strategy; and
  • Rely on gut-driven, rather than data-driven, social strategy for success.

In order to create effective goals, you’re going to identify business results your company cares about, figure out which aspects of social media best serve those objectives, and then set up key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow you to accurately predict, guide, and report on social media ROI.

Let’s walk through the stages of creating and using effective social marketing goals.

1. Identify business results your company cares about.

When identifying business objectives, make sure you focus on the results, and not the functions, your company cares about. We already know that most CEOs don’t care about social media. Why should they when a majority of marketers admit they can’t quantify its impact and have trouble proving its contribution to business outcomes?

But that’s why we’re walking through this process — because you’re going to change that mindset.

So, what exactly do they care about?

Some of the top priorities for CEOs include:

  • Increasing revenue and business growth;
  • Improving brand awareness;
  • Beating the competition; and
  • Keeping customers happy and coming back for more.

These are business objectives that your social media marketing strategy can contribute to.

If your company has other priorities, identify those objectives and keep them in mind as we look at how to connect business goals to social media marketing goals and activities.

2. Connect business objectives to social activities.

Here is the key step in setting up smart social media marketing goals.

Take your list of top company priorities and explore what social activities align with the business objectives in front of you. Then, make sure you can measure the contribution of those activities to business results — otherwise, it will be impossible to calculate ROI.

Let’s use the objectives listed in the previous step as an example of how to align social media and business goals.

Increasing revenue: Finding social media’s contribution to this business objective is easier than you think. With a social attribution, you can measure exactly how many touches and how much revenue can be credited to your social campaigns.

Business growth: Reaching new consumers and assisting with customer acquisition is something your social strategy can excel at, given the instant access to real-time conversations and large audiences on social networks. Measuring social media ROI simply means using attribution to track social-influenced transactions by new customers.

Improving brand awareness: This is an easy one. All of your social media efforts help to build brand awareness and drive consumer attention to your website, stores, and products.

Customer retention and satisfaction: Social media is becoming more and more important for customer relations. Your social strategy can take ownership of a large chunk of this relationship, as well as get credit for the repeat purchases your efforts help to drive.

Beating the competition: In a real-time marketing world, social media can serve at the front line to help your company stay ahead of competitors and own key conversations with consumers. All you need is the right data and metrics to do a competitive analysis and keep tabs on your ownership of the social conversation versus the other guys.

Step back and look at the marketing activities you’ve highlighted. How can they be grouped into actionable marketing goals?

Improving brand awareness is going to be the first goal. Many find it intimidating to measure, but with social media data you’ll have a lot of information to use for measuring success.

The social activities for business growth and increasing revenue are very similar, so we’ll group these into one goal: increase social media’s contribution to revenue.

Both customer relations and beating the competition require activities centered around social media engagement. We’ll house both of these objectives within the same social media marketing goal: improve consumer and customer relations.

Now that you know how to connect business objectives to measurable social marketing activities, let’s look at the best metrics for measuring the ROI of those efforts.

3. Determine what KPIs to use for your social media goals.

When determining what metrics to use as key performance indicators for your goals, it’s vital to differentiate between leading and lagging metrics.

Leading indicators use metrics that have proven to serve as strong predictions of how a campaign will perform. Lagging indicators use metrics that measure the success of campaign results in retrospect.

According to The CMO Survey, marketers mostly rely on “vanity metrics,” such as number of followers, in order to measure and report on the business impact of social media. In fact, only 14 percent tie social media to sales.

Top-of-funnel leading metrics such as social engagement and website traffic should not be used as the end all be all of measuring business impact. They are good at guiding team performance and campaign optimization efforts, as well as predicting outcomes. However, the only way you’ll be able to truly prove the value of your social strategy is by using lagging metrics, such as social attribution, to show how social media contributed to revenue.

Another important part of setting social media marketing goals is knowing what objectives and KPIs solicit the actions and performance you want from your team.

For instance, take the example social media marketing goals below. While the KPIs we can identify for improving brand awareness are all leading indicators, we know that a) because these are strong leading indicators they should be predictive of social media-influenced revenue, and b) you’ll be able to measure the exact revenue outcomes from these efforts in the third goal.

Your team should always be clear that these goals are meant to compliment each other. If your brand awareness social campaigns (goal #1) are attracting and engaging (goal #2) your target customers, then social media ROI (goal #3) should increase.

Examples of social media marketing goals and KPIs

In the first two examples, I’ve highlighted KPIs that serve different functions for improving your marketing team’s performance.

Efficiency KPIs are meant to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns in terms of resources used and the average impact of your efforts.

Consumer opportunity KPIs measure social media’s contribution to the marketing-sales funnel in terms of driving shoppers to the website and producing leads.

Competitiveness KPIs highlight metrics that serve as key differentiators for helping your brand to stay ahead of the pack.

The last goal consists simply of a revenue KPI, for measuring the ROI and impact of your social media campaigns.

Goal #1 — Improve brand awareness.

Efficiency KPI: Average engagement rate per post per channel (leading)
Consumer opportunity KPI: Web traffic from social (leading)
Competitiveness KPI: Share of voice by channel and topic (leading)

I’m not going to spend time going over the value of brand awareness, but if you want to learn more about tieing branding to ROI, you should read this article I wrote.

Whether or not your company cares a lot about brand awareness specifically, these KPIs are strong leading indicators of how well your social strategy is performing so you can make adjustments to improve campaigns along the way.

They aren’t directly tied to revenue, but as you’ll see under goal #3, revenue metrics tend to be lagging rather than leading, and you want to be able to stay ahead of your campaign and optimize it for better performance.

If your brand awareness campaigns are targeting the right consumers, then these KPIs should help you predict social media ROI.

Goal #2 — Improve consumer and customer relations.

Efficiency KPI: Average cost per conversion for social ads (lagging)
Consumer opportunity KPI: Number of conversions from organic, paid posts, and ads (leading)
Competitiveness KPI: Average speed of response for consumer inquiries (leading)

Improving consumer and customer engagement isn’t just about messaging more people. It’s about creating social media campaigns that drive consumers to further interact with your brand.

A key part of this goal is the inclusion of consumer relations in marketing. Social media has always served as a method for contacting a company. However, as people increasingly depend on social media for information or help from brands, marketers need to incorporate consumer and customer relations into their social marketing strategies.

This is great news for marketing, because it means that they will own even more of the funnel, and have a greater number of opportunities to influence new sales and improve customer lifetime value.

Customer service on social in particular provides an opportunity for marketing to get credit for customer retention and repeat purchases.

Additionally, 71 percent of consumers who’ve had a good social media service experience with a business will likely recommend it to others, according to Ambassador. And that, in turn, contributes to news sales and business growth.

Goal #3 — Increase social media’s contribution to revenue.

Revenue KPI: Total social attribution (lagging)
Number of repeat customers touched by a social campaign (lagging)
Number of new customers touched by a social campaign (lagging)
*Look for ways to improve your future social media strategy by breaking these metrics down by campaign, channel, source, and more to find out what works best.

This goal is the money shot. While the first two goals help to guide tactics and campaign optimization, social attribution is what enables you to financially quantify social media ROI.

You can break down social attribution by returning vs. new customers, campaign, channel, source, content, and even the individual post. You’ll know exactly how every marketing effort can be valued in terms of revenue dollars, and be able to prove it.

For example, you can see the number of conversions, the amount of web traffic, and dollar value of this sample Facebook post from the TrackMaven platform:

The last, but possibly the most important, step in setting up your social media marketing goals is knowing how to effectively track and report on your progress.

4. How to track and report on your social media goals.

A successful approach to tracking and reporting on any marketing goal should always start with getting the right data. Being able to access social performance across all of your channels is one place is crucial for accurate tactical comparisons.

Take this example from TrackMaven, where you can clearly see the ROI from different social channels, so you can easily evaluate how to better allocate your future resources.

Once you have the right data in place, you want to be able to quickly and easily access that information. That way, you can assess your overall marketing strategy as well as analyze what campaigns and social posts are performing well and which ones should be discontinued.

Having a marketing dashboard helps you to track all of your social media marketing goals and KPIs in one place, and be able to see results at a glance.

PRO TIP: Take a look at this guide on the best metrics for CMO dashboards for additional ideas.

Both having the right data and making it easily accessible is crucial for effectively reporting on social media ROI to C-level executives.

Your CEO doesn’t have time for you or your team to do multiple hours of data analysis in order to show your progress. You need to have real-time reporting using data that you are confident in.

Following these steps for setting up, tracking, and reporting on social media marketing goals will not only enable you to prove ROI — it will help you and your team to improve your marketing performance as a whole.

This article first appeared in

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