I don't know if you know but Technology in the Arts has a Twitter account - it's true! And @TechInTheArts has reached its goal of 10,000 Twitter followers! Huzzah! Break out the champagne! We're going to dance all night, such an achievement has never been reached by mankind before!* Unless, of course, 10,000 is an arbitrary number that just seems important. Sure, it's a milestone, but what does that really mean for an organization? What does that mean for Technology in the Arts?
To begin, growing our Twitter following was a goal we set at in fall of 2012, at the beginning of our school year (Tech in the Arts is a initiative of Carnegie Mellon's Master of Arts Management program, remember?). This being CMU, we were focused on making the goals as specific, measurable, and realistic as possible. At the time, we decided to increase our Twitter following by 15%, a goal we reached a few months ago to little fanfare (less zeros behind that number). 10,000 followers was a stretch goal that we vaguely outlined for "before the end of the year". As we got closer to that less than specific deadline, we sat down and decided the deadline for that goal would be the Heinz College graduation ceremony. And we made that goal, almost a week before the big day.
The moral of the story is, this is a milestone because we determined what milestone meant before embarking on this wild ride. It's all a part of a larger social media strategy that ultimately exists to help your organization further its mission. We decided our focus would be on increasing followers based on the values and mission of our organization, measured our progress along the way, and we were flexible enough to adapt the plan as changes needed to occur. Social media is a whole lot more than likes and followers, and if it's a part of your marketing mix, you should take it seriously. Treat it like any other plan, determine what is of value to you, set reasonable goals, and map out how you plan to reach them.
As for what's next? 100,000 followers has a nice ring to it - though perhaps it's unrealistic. Does your organization have milestones and goals set for social media?
* This statement is blatantly untrue.