What do The Walt Disney Company and the WWE have in common (other than lucrative merchandising revenue and a cast of memorable characters?

If you followed the Dachis Group’s Social Business Index, which “analyzes the effectiveness of strategies and tactics organizations employ to engage the market through social channels,” you’d know that Disney and the WWE are two of the most socially savvy brands out there. Apparently, people are still gaga for staged fighting and Donald Duck.

Did these corporate giants reach such great social heights by pursuing the exact same social media goals? Of course not. Disney and the WWE are vastly different companies with vastly different business objectives. You don’t market sweaty, hulking wrestlers the same way you do talking mice.

These two very different companies achieved social media success by applying specific social media tactics to achieve specific business objectives.

You may not be a multibillion dollar business with a killer mascot (at least not yet), but you can still do social like the best of them, so long as you connect your business objectives to an effective social media marketing strategy.

No Strategy, No Way!

According to the 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study conducted by the SMB Group, just 24% of small businesses use social media “strategically, in a planned way.” Let’s hope for your sake you’re not part of that other 76%.

You could tweet a hundred times a day and have the fanciest looking Facebook page known to man, and none of it would matter if you didn’t have a social media strategy in line with your business objectives.

Don’t believe me? Just ask digital analyst and social media guru Brian Solis. “At the root of the problem, today’s social media programs start with the technology in mind and not the solution in mind,” said Solis in a September 2012 blog post. “Many businesses jump into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, et al, without thinking through opportunities or customer expectations and experiences.”

Are you one of those companies using social media “just because”? It’s not enough to post randomly on Facebook and throw whatever videos you have laying around on YouTube. You’ve got to be strategic.

It’s Time to Align

Before you dive headfirst into social media oblivion, take a cue from Mr. Solis and start with a solution in mind.

Follow these steps and you’ll be more likely to pursue a social media strategy that makes sense for your brand.

1. Define Your Business Objectives

Before you can pursue applicable social media goals, you need to make your business objectives perfectly clear. This is essential to running a business in general, let alone integrating a social media campaign that isn’t totally aimless.

Ask yourself this: What do you hope to achieve in the short- and long-term? Be specific. Do you want to improve overall customer satisfaction? Do you hope to increase profits by 10% over the next year? Do you want to be known as the coolest little ice cream shop in Austin, Texas?

Whatever they may be, your objectives are unique and require an in-depth, meaningful analysis of your business.

If you’re not sure how to set good business objectives, this article from Inc.com might come in handy.

2. Choose Relevant Social Media Goals

According to an Awareness Inc. survey of 469 marketers titled “The State of Social Marketing Report,” the top goals for social media are:

  • better customer engagement (78%)
  • revenue generation (51%)
  • better customer experience (47%)
  • increased thought leadership (41%)

These are all fantastic social media goals, but they may or may not be goals that pertain to your specific business objectives. You’ve got to pursue social media goals that relate to your unique objectives.

Are you launching a new product and hoping to get people interested enough to make a purchase? Do you want to direct people to your landing page, educate consumers, enable e-commerce, or deliver better customer service?

If you’re at a loss for good social media goals to pursue, this list by Web Ad.vantage founder Hollis Thomases sums up some of the most common ones.

3. Pursue an Appropriate Social Media Marketing Strategy

Just as your social media goals need to correspond to your business objectives, your social media strategy needs to directly relate to your designated goals.

Imagine you sell designer clothing and one of your business objectives is to increase sales of little black dresses. If your social media goals were to 1) increase revenue generation and 2) increase customer engagement, how would you get there? You’d have to figure out tactics that suited your social media goals. In this case one of your tactics might be posting articles about fashion shows, style tips, and other content that appeals to the dress-buying demographic.

Whatever strategy you decide to pursue, bear in mind that the best social media tactics are those that correlate directly to the social media goals you have in place.

4. Monitor Your Audience/Track Results

All that time you spend brainstorming objectives and tying it all together to your social media strategy won’t mean jack unless you’re monitoring your audience and tracking the results of your actions.

Be sure to keep tabs on what your customers are saying and measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy via analytics. There are tons of tools out there that let you do social monitoring and analytics, so you should have no problem measuring the efficacy of your social media tactics.

Make the Connection!

You don’t need to be a gigantic corporation like Disney or the WWE to establish a winning social media strategy.

All you’ve got to do to align your business objectives with an effective social media strategy is:

  1. Define your business objectives
  2. Choose relevant social media goals
  3. Pursue an appropriate social media marketing strategy
  4. Monitor your audience/track results

Be smart and strategic about your social media marketing strategy and you’ll have a much better shot at achieving your business objectives. It might not hurt, however, to have somebody like The Rock or Mickey Mouse on your side.

Is your social media marketing strategy in line with your business objectives? Let us know whether you’re ready to outdo Disney and the WWE by posting in the comment section below.

Read more: Setting Social Media Goals Creates Success