There is no “right” answer when it comes to setting objectives for your social media marketing strategy because every brand’s goals are different.

The 2023 State of Social Media report found a majority of business leaders view social media data and insights as having a positive impact on business priorities. The top priorities include building brand reputation (66%), understanding customers (65%) and improving competitive positioning (63%).

That’s why we put together this guide to setting social media goals—we believe marketers should feel empowered to get down to business.

We also created a social media metrics map to help you develop your social media plan. Download the resource below to boost your strategy.

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What are social media goals?

Social media goals are targeted objectives achieved through a brand’s presence on social media networks. Social media goals often align with an organization’s overall business goals. Some common goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Improve community engagement
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
  • Increase conversion rate and sales
  • Improve social media customer care

These are just a few examples in social media marketing goals, as each business has its unique needs and mission.

Why do social media goals matter so much?

Marketers can’t afford to ignore the process of setting goals on social media because they impact the wider business.

According to The Sprout Social Index™, marketers plan to connect the value of social to business goals in 2024. Some 60% of marketers plan to quantify the value of social media engagements in terms of potential revenue impact. While 57% also plan to track conversions and sales directly from social efforts. Others will use social data to inform product development or marketing strategy.

This is why setting specific social media goals is so important. Below are just a few of the reasons why goal-setting is an absolute must-do for marketers.

Goals hold you accountable

Whether you’re working on behalf of a company or client, there’s a growing expectation for marketers to discuss social media ROI with their bosses.

By defining goals, you’re able to point to the specific steps and actions you’re taking to meet your business’ needs and justify your role.

Goals guide your budget

Businesses aren’t going to splash cash on social media without justification. Maybe you’re laser-focused on content creation. Perhaps you want to go all-in on Facebook ads. Whatever your focus, outlining your goals with an action plan helps you identify how much you need to spend on your social media budget.

Goals encourage marketers to pay attention to data

Here at Sprout, we’re all about social data. And we encourage all marketers to take a data-driven approach to social media.

Social goals are contingent on social media key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. Putting together a high-performing campaign means understanding what’s moving the needle in terms of engagement, clicks and revenue.

6 social media marketing goals that demonstrate business impact

With a goal-setting framework established, it’s time to figure out which specific objectives make sense for your business. We spoke with Team Sprout and community members of the Arboretum to learn more about some of the top goals for today’s marketers. Below you’ll find example social media marketing goals based on those conversations.

Increasing brand awareness

KPIs: followers, impressions, traffic, share of voice, reach

Raising brand awareness is one of the most pressing goals for brands, although it’s also the broadest because it involves making a lasting impression on your target audience.

Olivia Jepson, Senior Social Media Strategist at Sprout says, “Brands remain focused on increasing brand awareness and engagement. Marketers have to consider how their brand is being talked about versus their competitors. And they’re looking to see how often their audience is engaging with content because brand awareness becomes a long-term game, especially as teams uncover more creative trademarks that scores consistent engagement.”

As you can see in the Arboretum thread, increasing brand awareness and boosting engagement are common goals for marketers:

Two posts from members of the Arboretum sharing their team's goals for 2024 where members mention increasing brand awareness and boosting engagement as goals.

Generating leads and sales

KPIs: Sales revenue, lead conversion rate, non-revenue conversions, email sign-ups

No secrets here. Generating leads and sales means translating your social media presence into dollars and cents. This can be done directly through social ads, but also means paying attention to details such as:

  • How you funnel your social traffic to relevant landing pages
  • Which creatives and calls-to-action phrases you’re using on social media
  • Your target audience for your ads and sales messages

“Businesses are prioritizing generating leads and sales, and so must social teams. It’s often equally if not more important than brand awareness goals. For example, one Arboretum community member mentioned they hit their brand awareness goal of 1 billion engagements and now they’re working to shift those folks from social to the next step like website signups,” Jepson says.

Two posts from members of the Arboretum sharing their team's goals for 2024 where members mention lead generation and sales goals.

Increasing community engagement

KPIs: clicks, likes, shares, comments, mentions

Encouraging conversations with your target audience goes hand in hand with building a relationship with them. Likes and shares aren’t just vanity metrics. These data points can clue you in on whether or not your messaging and content strategy resonate with your customers.

“Community engagement enables you to further define your brand voice and make meaningful connections with followers as you go back and forth with them,” Jepson says.

A post from a member of the Arboretum sharing their team's goals for 2024: more engagement and conversations.

Growing your brand’s audience

KPIs: mentions (via social listening), followers, share of voice, engagement rate, followers

“Whether you’re bouncing between multiple networks or are laser-focused on a single platform, growing your audience is non-negotiable. That’s why it’s such a common goal for social media marketers,” Jepson says.

Key objectives here include figuring out your top-performing content, optimal publishing frequency and running campaigns that attract new followers to your account.

Two posts from members of the Arboretum sharing their team's goals for 2024, and both members reference audience growth as goals.

Increasing web traffic

KPIs: traffic, link clicks, conversions, email sign-ups, product trials

Not all of your social media goals are tied directly to social media itself.

Whether it’s sign-ups or sales, it’s critical to keep an eye on how your social followers behave once they become on-site visitors. This is crucial for determining your overall social ROI, as well as which channels and pieces of content result in the most traction.

Sprout Social's Post Performance Report shows several metrics for published posts including impressions, average reach per post, engagements and engagement rate.

Platform-specific goals

KPIs: varies per platform

Remember: Goals, priorities and expectations vary from platform to platform. Sometimes you’ll need to create social media goals by network because each one has its own strengths.

Let’s say your business wants to run paid ads that target hyper-specific users, you might consider Facebook because of their large user base and they have a robust ad-targeting platform. If you’re a B2B brand, LinkedIn is probably a north star because it’s a go-to network for professionals.

In the Facebook scenario, your goal might be to covert 20% of viewers. For LinkedIn, you might make a goal of increasing impressions by 60% and plan to incorporate more shareable content in your strategy.

There are a lot of different things to consider when setting platform-specific goals, so check out our complete guide to insights on social media platforms and their demographics.

How to set social media SMART goals

Let’s dive into the specifics of setting social media SMART goals. The following framework is fair game for any business regardless of the social network(s) you use.

Begin with a big-picture objective to the goal-setting process and think of a broader goal. For example, you might want to build awareness for a new product and generate leads or improve your response rate on the networks you use for customer service to boost customer loyalty.

Then start thinking about granular goals that’ll directly inspire your day-to-day social activities. Once you have your overarching goals, you can begin refining more specific, measurable objectives, which leads us to setting SMART social media goals.

Setting SMART goals

SMART goals are a popular framework used by businesses. It’s an acronym for:

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear, simple and defined.
  • Measurable: How will you measure success and which metrics will you use to analyze your efforts? Which social media analytics will you monitor?
  • Achievable: Is it achievable with your available resources?
  • Realistic: With your current resources of time and money, is it possible to achieve your goals?
  • Time-sensitive: Every goal needs a time frame, whether it’s one year or several months.

We have a social media goals template based on the SMART technique you can download below.

Download PDF

Identifying your goal metrics

Now identify the KPIs and metrics you’d like to assign to your goals. Let’s say you’re a coffee brand that wants to increase brand awareness for your new brick-and-mortar locations. In a SMART breakdown, it might look like this:

  • Specific: Increase brand awareness on your Facebook account within a five-mile radius of your stores.
  • Measurable: Increase fan count by 15%. Increase link clicks on posts about the new cafe locations by 15%. Have an average Post Reach of 1000 people per post.
  • Achievable: Yes
  • Realistic: Boost new cafe posts with social media advertising by $15 per post, targeting an audience within a five-mile radius.
  • Time-sensitive: Three-month campaign

Defined business objectives with measurable results act as a compass for your team, setting the direction to help you achieve larger goals. Tools such as Sprout’s analytics suite break down each of your most important data points in a centralized platform, so you can easily track and monitor your social networks to achieve your social media goals.

Sprout Social's Facebook Summary with metrics including impressions, engagements, post link clicks and publishing behavior (plotted on an area chart).

Tracking your results over time

Whether or not you’re reaching your goals depends on your ability to monitor your data over time. Is your audience growing? Are you converting?

Whether the answer is “yes” or “no,” you’ll know for sure if your action plan is working in the data.

Sprout Social's Facebook Competitors Report shows key metrics of your profiles compared to your competitor's average.

Data is especially important for setting achievable social media goals. For instance, let’s say your Instagram averages 1,000 followers per week. Scaling up to 2,000 or 3,000 per week within the span of three months isn’t unreasonable. However, expecting that average to boom to 500,000 per week in three months isn’t realistic.

Start mapping your social media goals for success

Goal-setting is the common thread between marketers who are successful on social media. From brand awareness to boosting revenue and beyond, we encourage marketers to set specific SMART social media goals.

With the help of tools like Sprout, you can take a data-driven approach to reaching your social media goals sooner. To help you narrow down your goals and identify the most relevant KPIs, we created a downloadable social media metrics map.