Setting Realistic Small Business Social Media Goals

Lindsey Weedston Online Marketing, Social Media

Small Goals

It’s a small goal. Get it?

We at Stevenson Advertising have been gearing up to take a real dive into the online marketing world. We’re expanding our web design and content marketing departments and looking into how we can best offer comprehensive social media services for new and current clients. In the meantime, we’re about to dive into implementing our own social media plan – if you’re following us, you’re about to see a lot more social activity coming from our direction.

As we’ve said before, one of the most important steps to implementing any marketing campaign is the plan. You need a specific schedule and concrete goals – goals with actual numbers. The schedule is the easy part. The real challenge is figuring out how to set goals that are both ambitious and realistic. You don’t want to make things too easy for yourself, but if you’re not meeting any of your goals, you risk becoming frustrated – and then you just want to give up on the whole endeavor.

What’s a realistic social media goal for a small business with few or even no followers on their accounts? Unfortunately, most of the success stories about social media campaigns to be found are about larger companies who already have a large following, or else about a company that did something so off the wall that it got everyone’s attention. It would be great if every company could think of some wildly innovative and delightful social media campaign that went viral, but even a great idea is hard to get off the ground when nobody’s paying attention to you yet. What’s the average small business to do?


Choose Your Focus

There are several measurable aspects of social media marketing that you can set concrete goals for, including:

  • Follower count
  • Views
  • Leads
  • Social engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.)
  • Brand awareness
  • Website traffic driven by social accounts
  • Conversion rates (the rate at which people go from lookers to buyers)
Web Traffic

You don’t need to set goals for every single one. For a more focused campaign, choose the three which are most important to you and focus your strategy on increasing those. At Stevenson, we’re looking to get more followers, increase engagement, and get more leads.

As for the actual numbers that you want to set for yourself, those will depend heavily on the amount of time and money you’re willing to invest as well as the number of followers and amount of engagement you already have. Plus, there are plenty of ways to boost your social media reach using resources you already have.


Sugarbush Resort & Blue Orchid Handbags

Constant Contact tells the story of Sugarbush Resort. They set a goal of a 1,500 increase in Facebook fans. Of course, since they already had 7,000 fans, this was just over a 20% increase. And since they already had such a significant reach, a 20% increase was easier for them. If you only have 700 fans, getting 150 new ones might be more difficult. Of course, if you have barely any followers at all, percentages don’t mean much. It would be more feasible for you to launch a small campaign in the way that Blue Orchid Handbags did. This small company started with just 70 Facebook fans and was having trouble getting any new ones. However, they already had an email newsletter going. Simply by promoting her Facebook page through the newsletter, she got 20 new fans in four days. As of February 21st, 2014, they have 210 followers.

As a small business, setting long term goals that involve overall percentage increases might not be feasible. You’re new at this social media thing, so you need to test the waters. Set goals month-to-month at first and see if you can meet them. If you don’t, or if you blow past them, adjust.

Social Media Pillows
Don’t forget that each social media platform is different. It’s generally easier to get followers on Twitter and Tumblr than on Facebook and LinkedIn. 50 followers in a month is usually feasible for new accounts on Twitter just by simply following others and posting regularly. To get that on Facebook, you’ll need to do something extra.


More Than Followers

When it comes to engagement, it’s much tougher to reach lofty goals when you have few followers. You might even want to wait to set goals for engagement until you have a base of at least 100. With our small time social media accounts, we only get a couple engagement actions (likes, retweets, or repins) per week at best right now. After a month of getting quality followers, we’re hoping to see that get up to around 10 for all engagement actions per week, and start seeing a couple quality comments among those.

Of course, things like traffic and brand awareness can be measured in percentages through the use of Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Topsy. Before you begin any social media campaign, make sure you’re set up and familiar with all the best free tools out there that will fill your coffers with precious data. Realistic goals to start out with for website traffic are probably in the 10-20% increase range, though again, it depends on how much you’re willing to put into it.



Once we’ve implemented our own social media strategy for a few months, we’ll be back with our own success story to add ourselves to the crowd of examples. We’re excited to see where this will take us and how we can start using the information to help our clients succeed in the social media world.

Have you tried out your own social media plan? What goals did you set? Let us know in the comments and maybe we’ll credit you for some of our success (sorry, no cash prizes).