So, you’re a small business owner, new to social media but wanting to take advantage of the powerful marketing opportunities that come with going social.  Just like with your web site, with social media it’s a good idea to know what you want to accomplish before you start creating your social presence. What your Objectives are for that presence- why are you going social, what is it that you want to accomplish for your business? If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, you can’t figure out how to accomplish it. You’ll be going into uncharted territory with no goals, no strategy. Ooooh, good luck with that, cowboy!

What are Objectives, Goals and Strategies?

Your Objective is your overall reason for doing something – for example,  objectives for creating a social media presence might include: to broaden your audience beyond your local community, to help create and cultivate your brand identity, or to drive traffic to your online storefront or business web site.

Goals would be your stepping stones along the way, your mileage markers that help you make progress toward reaching your overall objective.  Setting these goals then helps you figure out your strategy for reaching them, which in turn also helps you reach your overall objective.

Your Action Strategy would be the actions you take to reach your goals and objectives. Works backwards from your goals to create your strategy.

The outline to follow to help you figure out your business Objectives, Goals and Strategies is simple:

1. What are your overall Objectives?
What do you want to accomplish over the next year?  What do you want to accomplish in five years?  Visualize your ideal business situation, and from that create your Objectives.

2. What are some Goals that will help you achieve your Objectives?
Goals can be smaller milestones that you work towards – each time you hit that milestone you will be closer to achieving your overall Objective.  Think of Goals as a good way to break down your overall objective into smaller, bite size pieces.  Sometimes when we look at our overall Objectives, they can feel daunting, because it’s a big accomplishment we are trying to tackle.

3. What Action Steps do you need to take to reach your Goals?
Often, just knowing what your goal is will help you figure out what actions you need to take to reach that goal. If your objective is to broaden your audience, your goals might include increasing the number of people that have you in their circles. A little research into how to increase your followers will provide you with the action steps to take to reach that goal.  Defining your objectives, setting goals and listing your action steps is a great start when creating your business outreach strategy plan.


In Other Words…Let’s Plan a Feast!

Let’s look at an example now. Think about preparing a feast for a large party…it could feel overwhelming when you look at the big picture – “ohmygods how am I going to make a feast for a hundred people?!”

Hogwarts Feast

Preparing that feast is the Objective.

Now break the feast down to each dish – appetizer, lunch, dessert – now you have 3 Goals.

So then you think about how to reach the first Goal, your appetizer: “We’re going to have Butternut Squash Soup for the appetizer.” 

Now you do your research, find the ingredients and recipe for the soup, and voila, you have your action strategy for reaching that Goal! The actions include researching the recipe, buying the ingredients, and cooking the soup, following the recipe.  Soup’s done, and Goal #1 is reached!

Now do the same for the lunch and the dessert, your other Goals, and voila! by meeting those Goals individually – appetizer, lunch and dessert – you’ve now achieved your overall Objective of putting together a complete feast!

Once you broke that Objective (the feast) down into smaller Goals (appetizer, lunch, dessert), you were easily able to list the Action Steps (ingredients, recipe, cooking) needed to reach the goals, and once you reached your goals (appetizer, lunch, dessert all prepared) you were closer to your overall objective (provide a great feast)!

When broken down into goals with clear actions to take to reach them, what seemed so daunting before is now not so overwhelming, and you can see a clear path to reaching your objective!

So please share with us – what is your Feast?  What are your dishes? What is your recipe?

Don’t Forget The Secret Sauce!
If you want some great ideas for your action steps, please check out the TGIF Business Networking Hangout.  Lots of great guests with valuable “How to” info for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Topics have included Online Press Releases, Power Networking, Identity Branding, Blogging for Business, and lots more!  TGIF happens every first and third Friday monthly, beginning at 4pm PST (GMT-8). You can find archived episodes here.

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