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Goal-Setting for Social Media

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 2/23/15 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, retail management

You're surely somewhere on social media by now. So the next step for you and your store is to step some goals in order to expand your presence. With that in mind, we went searching for some good goal-setting methods and found this article from Buffer's blog. We've re-posted a bit from the article down below, but be sure to read the whole thing just in case one of these methods doesn't meet your specific needs.

1. S.M.A.R.T.

S – Specific – The more specific you can be with writing down your objective, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is you need to accomplish. Often, answering the five “W” questions—Who, What, Where, Why, and Which—can help you achieve greater specificity.

M – Measurable – Can your goal be measured? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?

A – Attainable – Another way of putting this is “realistic.” Is it possible to achieve the goal you’ve set for yourself?

R – Relevant – For businesses, a relevant goal means that it has the potential to impact your business objectives, vision, or values.

T – Time-bound – Give your goal a deadline.

SMART goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business. Peter Drucker, the founder of modern business management, often is credited for coming up with the basis for SMART, and the specific mnemonics can be traced back to mentions as early as 1981.

SMART has been a successful goal-setting framework for a long time because it is easy to understand, to act on, and to follow up with.

For example:

Let’s take Facebook page growth for instance. If you want to set a goal to grow your Facebook page’s likes, here’s what that might look like with the SMART framework.

  • Specific – Who? What? Why? “I would like to grow our Facebook page likes because Facebook is a key social media platform that we can learn about and help others grow along with us.”
  • Measurable – Choose a specific number for the growth
  • Attainable – Make sure the number is realistic
  • Relevant – Does growing your Facebook page support your business’s objectives, vision, or values?
  • Time-bound – What deadline will you set?


“I wish to grow the Buffer Facebook page from 35,000 likes to 100,000 likes by May 31, 2015.”

2. Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles of Goal-Setting

1. Clarity – Similar to the specificity from SMART goal-setting, clear goals help immensely with understanding the task at hand, measuring the results, and achieving success.

2. Challenge – The goal should be difficult and challenging enough to prove motivating, but not so challenging that it’s impossible to achieve. Using the Inverted U method is a good way to test for appropriate challenge levels.

3. Commitment – Get your teammates to buy into the goal. Involve them in the goal-setting process.

4. Feedback – Measure your progress and seek advice throughout the pursuit toward the goal.

5. Task complexity – Be careful in adding too much complexity to your goals as complexity can impact morale, productivity, and motivation.

locke latham goal setting

In the late 1960s, Drs. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham performed much of the research that has informed our theories of goal-setting, showing how goals and feedback can be huge motivating factors for business employees.

Through their research, Locke and Latham settled on the five principles of goal-setting mentioned above.

In one of the studies, Locke performed an analysis of 10 years’ worth of lab and field studies on the effects of goal-setting. For instance, he looked at cases of people being told to “do your best” versus “try to beat your best time.”

The specific and challenging goals led to higher performance 90 percent of the time.

Locke and Latham’s research showed that the more difficult and specific a goal is, the harder people tend to work to achieve it.

For example:

Let’s try out our Facebook page example again.

  • Clarity – Set a clear goal for what we want to achieve with Facebook page growth.
  • Challenge – Does the task fall into the sweet spot between low pressure (not challenging enough) and anxiety-inducing (too much pressure)?
  • Commitment – Get buy-in from team members who may be helping with the project.
  • Feedback – Seek advice in creating the goal and in progress throughout. Check the stats periodically to see how you’re doing.
  • Task complexity – What is involved in growing a Facebook page? Limit the complexities by focusing on a set number of specific growth strategies.


The Buffer marketing team aims to grow our Facebook page to 100,000 page likes in the next 90 days by trying out strategies with video, optimal timing, and tagging.

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