Evaluating Social Media: Step 2. Define your goal

Even if you are evaluating tactical efforts, you will still need to define your goal. You ultimately are concerned about how well your message is disseminated, or you ultimately have a Facebook presence, for a strategic, overarching goal.

Furthermore, the tired “raising awareness of your organization” is not acceptable. The authors ask: “why do I want people to know about my organization?” Behavior change is the ultimate behavioral goal and as the authors write: “when people start behaving differently, you have reached your goal.”

The question is: what is the change your organization is trying to achieve over five to ten years?

The authors differentiate between policy goals and behavioral goals. Policy goals progress from awareness to building supporters and a constituency, and from creating public will to policy change. Putting that in classical music terms, we can see how a policy that will support classical music, passed by your state’s legislature, could be an example of a desired outcome. Or perhaps think about a policy regarding arts education and the role of your orchestra in that policy.

Behavioral goals progress from awareness to attitudes, from changing social norms to behavior change. Again putting that in classical music terms, we can see how a change in attitude or social norms toward classical music, and ultimately a change in behavior, could be an example of a desired outcome.

Depending on the stage of the road you are in and the state of the environment and your audience, you could aim for any of the goals above, from awareness (as long as you ask yourself why) to change.

Now I certainly like to think that your mission statement is a good guide to inform your goal. As I wrote before: you should start thinking about how social media can help your organization’s core mission of providing classical music to audiences in your community and around the world.

Whether your goal is a policy goal or behavioral goal, the key themes that become apparent from the guide seem to be building a network of supporters and advocates to drive policy or behavior change.

Perhaps in other words, not just creating ticket buyers (although that is certainly part of it), but rather evangelists that will advocate for classical music; people who will advance your mission of bringing classical music to communities and audiences the world over.

So let’s define our goal as: “To build a network of supporters (patron evangelists, partner organizations, and bloggers) who can work together to advocate for an increase in classical music participation.”

One important last note on defining a goal: your communications plan is only part of the effort toward this goal. There are also program initiatives and supporting activities. These, perhaps more so than your communications plan, drive your road toward the goal; they are the meat and bones of a classical music organization. They include artistic programming, fundraising, education programs, and much more. Although you would again work from an integrated perspective, this series is not here to evaluate those elements.

On Monday, we’ll look at step three: stating your objective.

(Source: Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide)