Most of us have to wear many hats and extinguish multiple fires each day in our business. With technology changing so rapidly and social media moving so quickly, how will you know what to prioritize this year?
Here are my top 10 social media marketing resolutions for 2014:
1) Eliminate silos. This is my number one piece of advice – especially for small businesses that are short on staff capacity. The tendency is to hand off all the “social media stuff” to one person.
In 2014, social media will no longer be the sole responsibility of one person working behind a desk. Social media has an insatiable need for up-to-the-minute information on your business, in the form of on-the-ground customer/client stories, photos, short videos and updates.
One person, or even one lone department, cannot possibly be in all places at once, collecting and disseminating this information in a timely manner. In addition, every person involved with your business needs to be on the same page about using social media – not just what is prohibited, but what is encouraged.
2) Educate. With eliminating silos comes education.
Some of your staff (or even you yourself) may be skeptical or afraid of social media. Some of them may not understand the power of social media or the responsibility they have as an online representative of your organization.
If your CFO posts incriminating photos online, it will reflect poorly on your business, even if it is from her personal account. If a former employee writes a scathing review about her experience with your company on her Facebook profile, you need to know about it and address it promptly.
There are no lines between the personal and professional anymore – think before you tweet, and educate others.
3) Share the load. If you don’t have one already, form a Social Media Committee.
The benefits of forming a dedicated group of people to do the work of your business’ social media are many. First of all, a successful social media strategy requires a lot more than just sending one tweet a day. There is research to be conducted, photos to take, stories to collect and comments to respond to. There are blog posts to write, posts to share and customers to acknowledge.
Sharing the load of the social media work – brainstorming, creating, curating and promoting content – is best done within a group. Marketing and customer relations are in everyone’s job description. Without people being made aware of your business and responding in a favorable light, not a one of you would have a job. Some of your staff may need to be reminded of that.
4) Find influencers. Commit to finding and actively engaging at least 10 Online Brand Ambassadors for your business in 2014.
Related Class: How to Incorporate Influencers Into Content Marketing
5) Forget your agenda. In order to cut through the noise, you need to be providing useful information to your online community – information that they will want to read and, most importantly, share with their networks, helping spread the word.
Continually think about providing value and not receiving anything in return. Forget your agenda, and forget promotions and announcements (unless they are of interest to your community) – start thinking about ways to build engagement and share stories that your customers will find compelling enough to discuss with their friends, even when you don’t ask them to.
6) Less is more. I am a huge proponent of the “less is more” philosophy on social media channels.
Don’t add to the noise. Always ask yourself before posting: Is this relevant? Is this timely? Is this helpful?
7) Experiment. Instead of relying on the old standards of Facebook and Twitter, why not explore Pinterest, Instagram, or Vine?
A recent Pew study found that 42% of online adults are active on more than just one social networking site. The study also found that Instagram users check in to the site daily!
While Facebook does remain the dominant social networking site (71% of adults online use it), recently it has been found that upaid, organic reach for brand pages is dramatically down on the site.
In 2014, unless you are budgeting for Facebook Ads, you may want to consider diversifying onto other social media platforms to ensure you are continually building and reaching your online community.
8) Budget for social media tools. While establishing a basic presence on the big social networks is technically free, useful social media management tools can cost something.
I suggest using HootSuite Pro to manage all of your social media accounts in one place. There is a free option for up to five social media accounts. (Note: I don’t get paid to recommend this; I simply use it and love it!)
9) Use your daily calendar. I cannot stress the importance of actively scheduling chunks of time for social media management within your calendar, like an appointment or meeting.
Have you ever thought, “I’m just going to send this one tweet…” and then an hour goes by? Avoid falling down the Internet rabbit hole. By scheduling dedicated time to manage your social media accounts in your calendar you will avoid the dreaded time sink.
10) Commit to engage. Commit in 2014 to actively and in a timely fashion answer questions, respond to comments and acknowledge online community members who share your posts and tweets.
Have a reasonable and manageable response policy in place to keep everyone on the same page and held accountable. Keep in mind that most active social media users expect a response within an hour or less.
And a special bonus resolution:
11) Create a culture of improvement. How will you know that you are successful without measurement and analysis? While the words “big data” may seem scary to you, in 2014, your investors and staff are certainly going to be savvier, wondering about the impact all this work on social media channels is having.
If you can explain to higher-ups that you are moving the needle, even a little bit, this will help your social media efforts gain credibility.
Measurement is also vital to examine your efforts and find out what is working so you can do more of it (and what’s not working so you can improve it or cut it out).
Make sure to budget and include time for measurement, analysis and reporting in your calendar also.
OMI’s Social Media Certificate program is built to specifically address the needs for the business professional and marketer. Upon completion, you will be well versed in social media, understand the baseline principles that drive success on any platform, and have the skills to impact ROI. Enroll now and learn to develop a strong underlying strategy to focus your time, efforts, and budget—so social media doesn’t turn into a chaotic free-for-all.