If you work in marketing, you’ve undoubtedly participated in/endured at least one drawn-out planning session. Here’s how it usually goes:
- Sometime in the post-Thanksgiving to mid-December timeframe, somebody on your team reads a guide titled How to Craft a Winning Plan for <insert year>. Hey, it might have even been from Simply Measured.
- Your boss agrees it’s something the team should do “after end-of-year stuff settles down.” To show (s)he means it, (s)he even ropes in the VP to buy the team lunch for the event. The VP even says (s)he will stop by and quietly answer emails in the corner for a while. Morale = boosted!
- Everyone stumbles back into the office after New Year’s. They see the three-hour meeting on their calendars and start quietly thinking the same thing: I don’t remember what this meeting is about. Why is the VP on the invite? Does anyone else feel unprepared?
- The meeting finally happens the last week of January. You’ve laid out a plan for Q1, which is nearly half over at this point, and a broader plan for the year as a whole.
- You show up to work the next day, and nothing feels different.
So Now It’s February
And you’re wondering how to keep the spark alive. I was first introduced to BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) by a CEO at a previous company. If you don’t have a BHAG, get a BHAG. Try to choose just one for this year. Focus is key.
The hard thing about BHAGs is that they are usually intended to be met over the course of a year or more. Plans spanning long periods of time are valuable and necessary, but you’ve still got to find ways to show up everyday, be productive, and hope the stuff you do over the next couple hundred working days brings you to the goal you set in January. How are you going to do it? How do you keep yourself from getting bogged down in the minutiae and stay aligned with your BHAG?
To quote myself, 2017 is the year of full-funnel impact from social. If your 2017 plans don’t include KPI goals for the top and bottom of the funnel, they should. Try our Metrics Matrix (below) as an easy starting point.
Now, if you take nothing else away from this blog, remember this: Achieving your BHAG for 2017 is about being intentional with every social post. The reason we do things like the Metrics Matrix is not just to give you a framework for measurement, but also a framework for being intentional with your posting activity. Every post should have a purpose.
It’s hard to go through a big planning exercise, define your BHAG, and maintain alignment with a long-term goal when there are hundreds of days between you and the finish line. Below are some practical tips for staying intentional on a daily basis, so you can slowly but surely chip away at your BHAG.
1. Make Some SAAGs: Smaller Audacious Yet Achievable Goals
Your business has a rhythm. Most businesses march to a monthly-quarterly-yearly rhythm. Remember, our goal is to find ways to be intentional with what we do daily, so we stay aligned with our larger goal for the year. Monthly is a pretty good chunk of time for SAAGs. You can take the linear approach and simply divide your year-end goal by 12 (or the 11 months left at this point).
2017 Social Media Planning Template and Checklist
Or, if you’ve got the data to model it, you can alter your monthly SAAGs to account for seasonality, resource changes, etc. You want to start gaining momentum with each month as you start measurably inching toward achieving your BHAG. Thinking monthly will also keep a sense of urgency in your daily workflow, because you’ll feel it if you start falling behind in a condensed timeframe with less time to make up for miscues.
2. Add a Column to Your Content Calendar
Assign a purpose to every post based on where its intended impact lies in your marketing funnel. Is it a post designed to increase brand awareness? Mark it on your content calendar. You may even consider grouping posts with the same purpose when you do your performance analysis. It will teach you a lot about your audience and what types of posts yield the greatest output for different points in the funnel.
Your brand awareness posts may end up driving a ton of purchases. If so, you just learned some valuable new insights about your audience’s content preferences. What’s the right mix of posts intended for each phase of your funnel? Not to cop out, but it’s going to depend on your business. Perhaps a good SAAG is to figure out the optimal mix of posts designed for brand awareness, consideration, intent, or decision. This is the type of short-term activity that will result in long term success.
3. Spread the News
Show others how you are tracking against your short– and long-term goals. Not only will it keep you accountable, it will also inspire collaboration. Integrated marketing campaigns outperform those executed in silos.
Plus, you’ll be surprised how many of your teammates from other areas of marketing want to hear how you’re making strides in social. They have their own BHAGs to achieve, and are also struggling to find ways to tie what they do every day to their year-end goals.
Are you ready to start tracking your progress toward your BHAG? Ready to start sharing it with others at your organization? Click below to let us know.