What makes a goal SMART?

by | Jan 7, 2020 | Strategy | 0 comments

As a social media marketing strategist, writing your goals is the foundation for ensuring that your strategic plan remains on track and is flexible enough to adapt to necessary adjustments along the way. There are several methods of how a goal can be designed and monitored during a project’s timeline. However, one of the most popular designs is the SMART goal process.

What makes a goal SMART? Well, when making your short-term and long-term goals, there are five important concepts to consider as you draft your strategic plan. 

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

Specific

There will be many possible goals to contribute to the success of your strategic plan. When you meet with your marketing team, you can facilitate a brainstorming session to engage them and offer opportunities to share new ideas. You want to spend the time to craft goals that are clear and specific to avoid making your intentions open to interpretation. This will be especially important when you present your plan to leadership and key stakeholders. 

Measurable 

As you monitor your progress, a good question to ask yourself is, “How would the team know if they were successful?” It is important to be able to measure that growth as you meet your goals, and being able to assess the progress that you and your team experience as the steps or tasks involved are accomplished towards the end goal. By adding benchmarks to your objectives, you can deter from a negative scenario and remain flexible enough for making adjustments.

Achievable

To avoid frustration from your team, you want to set achievable goals.  Don’t underestimate the potential of your team members, but be honest about the resources you have to complete your plan, so that you are not aiming too high either. Your available resources, including people, skill sets and funding will either set you up for success or a critical pitfall. 

Relevant

If the project is not relevant to the organization, it will be difficult to help keep everyone involved and stay on course.  How does your goal support the strategic plan? You want to be certain that the objectives you are setting will align with the overall organizational goals. Also, be willing to remove a goal completely, should it not live up to the expectation to support your strategic plan.

Time-bound

During a regular work day, you are constantly juggling multiple commitments and deadlines. But without a timeline, the tasks that are not scheduled are more likely to be forgotten altogether. In order to have accountability for your project’s completion, you need to create a goal that will have a delivery date, as well as awareness of the milestones to help ensure the goal stays on track. Making your motivation a time-bound factor creates a critical consideration of what needs to be completed and the consequences of missing a deadline. It is also wise to prepare for delays that couldn’t have been anticipated.

For a strategic approach, the SMART school of thought is designed to help you remember these key components to create your goals. Utilization of this framework will help you devise a starting point with your creative team and the completion of a meaningful marketing campaign for your project. 

A vague goal might be something like, “Drive sales to our website.” Sometimes a team member just needs help zeroing in on the solution. A more meaningful goal might be, “Increase the number of people who promote our brand online through social media platforms, blogs and review sites by 7% each month.” As you develop your marketing plan, what are some of the challenges you’ve experienced to create SMART goals with your team? 

Author: Bridget MacWalters

Bridget MacWalters is a marketing and communications professional with more than 10 years of experience creating content to enhance community engagement for the non-profit industry, as well as for the internal communications at Fortune 500 companies, including Securian Financial Group.

Bridget has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Currently, she is taking the SMS Prep Course and plans to earn a Social Media Strategist Certification from the National Institute for Social Media. In her down time, Bridget is at her place of joy with her family and dog.

Connect with her through LinkedIn and Instagram.