While it’s tempting to just let things stay quiet during the holiday slowdown, there’s no better time to take a long hard look at what went well with your social strategy over the last year and be honest about what didn’t. Then you can wrap those findings up into a new and improved strategy to kick off Q1.

Don’t know where to start? We’re here to help! (And we can help you measure your efforts too, no matter what kind of budget you have.)

What’s new in 2016

The 2016 prediction posts are rolling in and it’s worth paying attention to what experts expect will be big next year. Just remember to always pay attention to your audience: What they’re doing and saying, and where they’re doing and saying it. With that said:

Think about how your audience fits in with these predictions and make plans based on that.

social strategy 2016
Pictured: Your audience? [Image used with Creative Commons License via Mint Social on Flickr]

See what’s working

Take stock of your efforts on every platform that you’re on, and see how those efforts helped you meet your goals for that platform. If you don’t already have a measurement plan in place, you can run a free snapshot report to get an idea of the conversation around your Twitter account or a popular hashtag in your industry as a starting point. Likewise get an idea about what’s working on your Instagram account with a free Instagram account checkup.

From the basics of what you know is working, decide what you can improve even further. If you answer customer questions well on Twitter, put a plan in place to do it faster. If your Instagram followers love your quick tip photos, plan to do more of them in 2016. Test to see if they like quick tip videos too. Don’t get complacent with what has been successful; always work to add more value. 

As a bonus, look to see what your competitors are doing well and see how you can incorporate that into your own plan for the new year.

And see what’s not working

These days we’re long past the lesson that you can’t just put up product photos on any social platform, “go viral” and boost your business dramatically. But just looking at what performed poorly doesn’t tell you enough without looking for patterns in why: Check the time of day you’re posting (on every platform), the types of content you’re posting there, whether or not you’re using hashtags or emoji like your target audience and/or competitors do, if your brand voice has shifted unintentionally, or if your visual content marketing is stale (just product photos without an attempt to be dynamic or interesting, for example).

Don’t be afraid to experiment with all of these variables in 2016—  which brings us to our next point!

Draft a plan

If more went wrong than right, that’s okay. Don’t panic. Now you get to set up a purposeful experiment if you haven’t before. Decide first what your goals are for each platform or review the ones you already have in place to see if they still make sense: Are you trying to increase your share of voice in your industry on Twitter? Provide excellent, timely customer service on Facebook? Share your company culture on Instagram? Build a portfolio on Tumblr? Your goals in each place will inform your content marketing in each place. Always work to be of value and be useful, or at least entertaining (but ideally both).

Schedule review times

Experimenting doesn’t get you very far if you don’t have a measurement plan in place. Decide how often you’re going to review your data- we recommend at least quarterly- and put it in your calendar now so you can’t shift the deadline. If you have formal team reviews scheduled quarterly, do smaller reviews with the social team every month and review everything yourself once a week. More frequent reviews will help you stay on track with your goals and help you shift content plans in a timely manner when necessary.

Keep experimenting!

Don’t forget to have fun with your social strategy; your audience can tell if you are. Visual content marketing and especially video content marketing aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, so decide how you can have fun and experiment with them in a way that makes sense for your brand. If you have already been experimenting with them, what else can you do that’s different? What are your competitors doing? How does your audience talk amongst themselves and to you across platforms?

The more data you can gather around all of these things the more informed experiments you can run and the better your social strategy will be in 2016.

And as always we can help you with the measurement portion of your plan if needed.

This post was originally published on Union Metrics.