“We’re going on Facebook!”
“Great! What will we do there?”
“We’ll be on Facebook!”
“Umm, ok, yes, but what will we DO there?”
“Yes, do? What are our goals? What will success look like?”

Sound familiar? Everyone’s excited about social media, but in order to make it work for your business, you need to understand what it is, what it isn’t, what you want to get out of it, and what success looks like. You wouldn’t start a direct mail campaign without marketing goals, so why start your social media campaign without them?

Given that any fans you get are likely coming for tips and specials, have you succeeded if you provide them? Or do you want to reach a certain number or percentage of existing customers, or track your contacts by their response to your posts?

Sprinkles, a cupcake bakery, uses social media instead of traditional advertising. Between April and November 2009, they grew their Facebook fanbase tenfold, to 70,000, through the simple method of giving away a free cupcake to fans who got that day’s Facebook password.

This is a great method, not only for increasing fans, but for creating a trackable interaction with their actual store. How many people come in each day and use the password? Does that promotion vary by time of day or day of the week? Do certain passwords bring in more customers? What else do free cupcake recipients buy when they come in?

Remember that your plan is only successful if it can be implemented, measured, and tracked.

Sara Prentice Manela