As 2015 comes to a close and end-of-year reports start flooding in, it’s time for us all to reflect on our accomplishments over the past year and start to plan for the future. It’s certainly been a big year for social media, but we can only assume that 2016 will come with even greater challenges and surprises.
Bring them on!
No matter how good your performance was this year, there’s always room to improve. Ring in the New Year with these resolutions that all social media marketers can use to make an even bigger impact in 2016.
1) Set growth targets and come up with a plan to reach them
Take this opportunity to look at how your social media profiles have grown over the past year and set new goals for 2016. It’s great to be ambitious, but remember that your growth won’t change radically unless you commit to the proper planning and execution. Be prepared to put in the work.
2) Improve customer support and response time
Despite being one of the best ways to deal directly with consumers, customer support via social media is an area where most brands are still sorely lacking. There are plenty of ways we can all improve. Why not start now?
For some, it will mean starting up the conversation in the first place – a shocking number of businesses don’t even allow followers to publish posts on their pages. 2016 can be the year that you give your fans a voice. For others, it will mean reducing your response time and making sure every query is addressed. Wherever you stand, start making this more of a priority and your consumers will thank you for it.
3) Make every piece of content count
Earlier this year, Buffer shared its marketing manifesto and divulged some invaluable advice for fellow content creators. At its core was this: “treat every single piece of output as the one that’ll be a breakout hit.”
The line between quality and quantity can be difficult to navigate, and I’m sure we’ve all struggled with it at least once in our careers. It’s important to keep up a consistent rate of output, but by embracing the idea that every piece of content can be a hit we stand to make huge strides. As Buffer points out, this isn’t to be confused with perfectionism. That only leads to endless pondering and delays. Instead, set yourself deadlines and make the content as amazing as it can possibly be within that timeframe.
4) Create a social media calendar and stick to it
If you aren’t currently using a calendar to plan your social media posts, now is the perfect time to get started. Planning your content in advance comes with several benefits that you can start reaping right away.
First of all, it will save you time. Lots of it. Granted, it takes an initial time commitment (we recommend every Monday) to brainstorm and build up an initial store of content, but having everything ready to go makes the rest of your week a cinch. Too many precious minutes are wasted trying to come up with good content on the spot. Secondly, creating a content calendar gives you the opportunity to look at your social media from a long-term perspective. You can plan campaigns well in advance and have them develop naturally over a longer time period.
5) Produce content that reflects the here and now
While having a schedule or calendar is an important step towards perfecting your social media practices, that doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. In fact, you should be. There will be fleeting opportunities that you need to take advantage of then and there. Keep your eyes open for them and be ready to act.
Reacting quickly to cultural events shows that you’re hip to what’s happening now – a quality that really sets some brands apart from the rest. Oreo’s brilliant Superbowl blackout tweet is a perfect example, and has cemented the snack-maker’s status as one of the forerunners in social media.
As you’re probably well aware, everything in social media moves quickly and people expect the most recent, relevant content. This year, make it a goal to be aware of all the important conversations going on around you and let your content reflect that.
6) Pay attention to the data and fine-tune your content
There’s no better way to understand your social media performance than by looking at the numbers. This year, keep a close eye on your data and try to identify the content that’s really connecting, and – just as importantly – the content that isn’t. As you weed out the bad and push out more of the good, you’ll be one step closer to social media perfection.
7) Come up with original and creative campaign ideas
Make 2016 the year where you really get creative. There are so many brands doing wonderfully imaginative things with their social. Why not be one of them? Look at what other brands are doing and try to improve on them. Get inspired. Do something no one has done before. Who knows? Your campaign might just be the next viral sensation.
8) Set aside more time and resources for video
Video content has always required a little extra effort, but for many brands out there it’s time to start giving it the attention it needs. There’s no denying it – video is becoming an all-important aspect of consumers’ online behavior. You’ll want to make this a major focus of your social media efforts. Try taking advantage of Vine’s short six-second format to create fun clips on a limited budget. The more shareable, the better.
For those of you with your sights set firmly on the future, live-streaming might be something to start delving into. With apps like Periscope and Meerkat on the rise and more brands starting to pick up on the trend, we have a feeling this will be an increasingly powerful tool for social media marketers in 2016.
We hope this article gave you some ideas for perfecting your craft in the coming year. Happy New Year from all of us, and here’s to a successful 2016!