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How to Set Social Media Goals in 2023 (+ Achieve Them!)

By Jessica Worb
Updated on December 20, 2022
6 minute read

Ready, set, goals 🚀

Published December 20, 2022

Wondering how to create realistic goals for your brand? And more importantly, how to track them?

You're in the right place.

We’re sharing a step-by-step guide to setting SMART social media goals, measuring results, and reporting on your performance in 2023.

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Why Are Social Media Goals Important?

Social media is a marathon, not a race. 

And just like a marathon, reaching the finish line takes training, time, and patience. 

Setting social media goals is about understanding where you are and forecasting where you want to be. 

Without them, it’s hard to know if your strategy is working.

And we’re not talking about vanity goals like growing your follower count or getting more likes. Your social media goals can, and should be, be more than that. 

As you plan for the year, remember: your social media channels are a tool in your toolbox. And your social goals should align with and contribute to your overall business goals. 

Did you know: You can plan and schedule all of your social media content for free with Later? Create an account — today!

How to Set Social Media Goals: A Step-by-step Guide

  1. Consider Your Overall Marketing Objectives

  2. Identify Key Metrics

  3. Review Your Existing Performance

  4. Set Realistic Goals

  5. Measure Your Results

  6. Report on Performance

Step #1: Consider Your Overall Marketing Objectives

When it comes down to it, your social media content should be an extension of your marketing and business efforts. Are you looking to generate more leads? Drive sales? Build brand awareness? Offer customer service?

With a clear idea of your overall marketing goals, you can make informed decisions on your social media strategy, and what's really important to track and measure your performance against.

Ask yourself "why" each social media platform is important for your brand: 

  • Why are you posting to Instagram? 

  • Why should you show up on TikTok? 

  • Why are you starting a YouTube channel? 

  • Why do you need a Pinterest strategy?

Knowing why you’re showing up on these channels, along with how they will support your business goals is key.

Step #2: Identify Key Metrics

Once you're clear on your objectives, it’s time to identify key metrics. 

Key metrics, sometimes referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs), are the measurements you’ll choose to focus on and analyze.

There are a number of social media metrics you can choose from. 

Here are some of the metrics the Later social team measures on their channels:

  • Traffic

  • Sign-ups

  • Gated Content Sign-ups

  • YouTube Views

  • Reach

  • Engagement

  • Audience Growth

If you’re unsure which key metrics you should keep an eye on, check out: The Top 10 Instagram Metrics to Track.

Step #3: Review Your Existing Performance

As someone famous probably once said, “The only way forward is back.”

This is exactly where a social media audit comes in handy. We know it’s not the most exciting task, but it’s a necessary step in the goal setting process.

Think of this as spring cleaning — only instead of dusting ceiling fans, you’re polishing up your social media content. 

Once your audit is complete, take a hard look at your findings. 

The end goal is to make sure everything you share moving forward has a purpose and is helping to support your brand’s objectives.

TIP: Run a social media audit today with Later’s free guide (+ checklist).

Step #4: Set Realistic Goals 

Now that you’ve completed a social media audit and know your key metrics and business objectives, it’s time to start goal-setting.

We recommend setting SMART social media goals:

  • Specific: Include specifics to help you track the success of your content.

  • Measurable: The goal has to be measured in some way. This is where your key metrics come into play.

  • Achievable: Is this goal in scope? Your goals should be challenging, but still within reach.

  • Relevant: Is this goal working towards achieving your larger business objectives?

  • Time-sensitive: What is the timeline for this goal?

Let's say your goal is to grow on YouTube.

Here's how to apply the SMART framework to make your goal more effective:


To make your goal as specific as possible, you can say “Reach 400K total YouTube channel views by end of year.”


How will you measure this goal? In this case, the key metric you will measure is views.


Ask yourself: is this goal achievable? Look at your current numbers to determine if this YouTube goal is a major stretch or if it’s attainable.


Let’s imagine one of your overall business objectives is to create more video content. If so, the chosen goal is relevant.


For this example, it’s time sensitive because there’s a set deadline of “by end of year.”

Step #5: Measure Your Results

Once your SMART goals are set, it’s time to track and measure your progress and results. 

While measuring results will look different depending on your goals, there are still ways to streamline the overall process.

Most social media platforms provide in-app analytics, and while those are great, a third-party tool like Later can help make the process much easier.

Later’s Instagram Analytics gives you a visual overview of how your content is performing — all in one dashboard.

The tool lets you track up to 12 months worth of content, so you can see exactly what's performed best — and filter by key metrics, such as likes, reach, comments, clicks, and more.

Laters Instagram Analytics allows you to view posts by the number of impressions on each post.

Later’s Instagram Analytics tool also segments by post performance, Reels performance, and Stories performance, so you can see exactly how each channel is driving unique value for your brand.

Start tracking your insights and post performance with Later's Instagram Analytics tools:

Step #6: Report on Performance

Reporting on your performance is a key factor in knowing if you’re achieving your goals. 

“We like to track how we are marching to our goals both weekly and monthly,” explains Christine Colling, Later’s Social Media Manager. 

The weekly report is a high-level pulse-check, while the monthly one goes into much more detail.

“For our monthly reporting, we do a deep dive. It helps us either pivot or adjust things that aren’t working, or double down on the things that are.”

In your report, you can include your key metric numbers, month-over-month or year-over-year comparisons, and whether you're on track to achieve your end goal.

Think of your monthly social media report as a highlight reel that sums up your wins, losses, and opportunities.

So there you have it — setting social media goals doesn’t have to be daunting, especially when you follow these six steps.

And remember: goal setting is a marathon, not a race.

Ready to kick-start your monthly reporting? Download our free social media reporting template to help keep you on track.

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