While you can rush ahead and set up a WordPress blog and a Twitter account, you’ll get more out of
 your marketing if you set out some marketing aims and objectives first.

It’s tempting to start with the tools themselves – but take a step back. Always make your marketing aims and objectives your starting point. Social media tools are not, in themselves, the connection with your customers: they are simply tools that you use to connect with customers.

However, you don’t need to write endless documents and spreadsheets before you execute your campaign. A good starting point is the 1-page social media marketing plan template included with my free PDF guide Create a Social Media Marketing Plan (Word and Excel versions of the template are included – simply adapt them to fit your needs).

What are you marketing?

Think first about what is it that you are marketing. Think about how broadly or narrowly focused your marketing campaign will be – will it be a single product or your entire organization? Examples include:

  • your business
  • a charity
  • a conference
  • a specific product or service
  • a book
  • …or just yourself.

What are your marketing aims?

It’s important to distinguish between marketing aims and maketing objectives. Consider your overall aims first: what is the purpose of your marketing programme? Think carefully about what you want to achieve, so that you will know when you have succeeded. Examples include:

  • increasing sales
  • building an email list
  • raising awareness of a new brand
  • launching a new product or service
  • differentiating your product from its competitors.

What are your marketing objectives?

You might also wish to set yourself specific marketing objectives. Objectives are different to aims. They are more specific and measurable. You may have come across setting ‘SMART’ objectives before, such as when conducting appraisals or managing a project. It’s an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific – Is your objective a specific enough goal? If it’s more general, it might be an aim rather than an objective.
  • Measurable – Is it measurable? We will look at social media measurement in a later blog post.
  • Achievable – How realistic is your objective? Can you benchmark it against the competition, or against other marketing campaigns you have run?
  • Relevant – Is your marketing objective central to your business? Will it help you achieve a specific business priority?
  • Time-Specific – When will your objective be completed by? Within two months? By the end of the financial year? Put a specific date on it.

A marketing aim might be to increase sales. A SMART marketing objective might be to sell 20 workshop places within the next six weeks.

TAKE ACTION

  1. Decide what, exactly, you want to market
  2. Write down your primary marketing aim
  3. Write down a SMART marketing objective
  4. Fill in the first two lines of the 1-page marketing plan that comes with your free guide (download here).

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at how to find your online community.

Find our more in our free ebook, Create a Social Media Marketing Plan.

Jon Reed is an author and social media consultant, and the founder of Reed Media. He previously worked in publishing for 10 years including as publishing director for McGraw-Hill. He is the author of Get Up to Speed with Online Marketing, lectures on social media at several universities, and runs in-house training and workshops. His blog Publishing Talk is a learning resource for authors and publishers, and has one of the most followed Twitter accounts in publishing (@publishingtalk).

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