Creating the Perfect Social Media Purpose Statement (and, yes, you need one.)

Everyone has a purpose. Full-stop. As we get into this topic, I want you to know that I believe you have a purpose in this world. What we are going to be talking about today is how to define your purpose for being on social media. Why is this important? Because going onto your social media channels without a purpose and a plan can lead to a chaotic and often toxic experience. In general, having a plan leads to better decisions. Think about it. Going to the grocery store with a list makes it easier to stick to the types of foods that you intend to eat and less impulse buying of things that, well, might not be so great for you. Creating a routine for your work week saves you time and energy because you are able to focus on particular tasks on your to-do list. In school, you learned the value of creating a plan, an outline, for your essays in order to stay on topic and get the best grade. So if having a purpose (i.e. to get groceries) and a plan ( i.e. a grocery list) helps you at the store, wouldn’t having a purpose for your social media help you get what you came for? For example, if your purpose is to catch up with old friends, you’ll probably spend more time engaging with these friends than you would in a Facebook group about your favorite hobby or hanging out in Marketplace looking for the best deals. If you are there to promote your business, you might spend more time in your Facebook group than you would be chatting with the president of your senior class.

So do you have a purpose for your social media? You might and not even realize it, but if we don’t define it and get some clarity on it can be easily forgotten in the intensity of a moment or cause that sparks your interest. Next thing you know, your angry about something you didn’t even know was a problem until your newsfeed told you and that’s a recipe for posting or commenting on things that you wouldn’t normally. However, if you have a purpose, you can refer to that when you are unsure of if or how you should post.

Ok, let’s get to work on creating your social media purpose statement. Don’t worry, that sounds really complicated, but it’s not.

First, if you have created personal or family purpose statements based on a set of values that guide your daily life, start with that. My friend and fellow marketer Joe Garrison, states his purpose as, “In all areas of life, just try to make things a little better for others and myself.” While this is his purpose statement for his life, one can see it come through in his interactions with people on social media. His tweets are always making things better, sometimes with marketing advice and sometimes with dad jokes, but hey, he’s consistent!

But let’s say you don’t have some grand purpose statement, that’s ok too. When thinking about why you are on social media, it can be as simple as saying, “I am here to laugh at cat memes.” That’s cool, at least you know what type of content you want. Maybe your purpose is, “I want to stay connected with my kid’s school (or college friends, or fellow knitters, or my church.) Statements like these can and should drive all of your interactions. If you are looking for a community- of cat meme lovers, of fellow parents, of people who love the 90s, or a little bit of all of those, the content you create (the things you post) inform the algorithm of the types of things you are interested in and what you are not interested in.

If you want to have more of an intentional purpose for being on social media than the things listed in the above paragraph, here are 2 questions you should ask to create the perfect social media purpose statement:

  1. Review your last 10-20 posts. What topics are you posting about? It’s ok to have multiple topics but we all tend to have threads. Me? I post about caregiving for my mom, working in social media marketing, old pics of my kids (they won’t let me post current ones), and I share blog posts and helpful articles about social media. What about you?
  2. What do you want to be known for? When people think about you, especially those that ONLY know you from social media, what do you want them to know of you? In the marketing world, we call this “branding.” Whether you think you have a brand or not, you do. Think of it as your reputation. What do you want your reputation to be? I have a friend who is spunky and sassy and it’s part of her “brand.” If you met her on the street, you would get the same sass, and I love that about her social media profile!

After you’ve answered these questions, you are ready to create a social media purpose statement. It can be as simple as filling in the blanks: I want to be known for ____________________ by creating and/or posting content that ___________________________.

My social media purpose statement is: “I want to be known for encouraging others by creating and sharing content that equip, inspire, educate, and encourage.

See? Easy peasy. Now, how will this help your social media experience? When you post with a purpose consistently, you are giving algorithms data that will help determine the type of content you see. You are also telling others what types of things you are interested in talking about which may, in turn, create a deeper connection with people. When this happens, you begin to create the community and experience you want.

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