8 Social Media New Year's Resolutions
Back in December I put together my Social Media Holiday Wish List, and now that we're over a week into 2013 I thought I'd follow up with a few "resolutions" to consider for making your social media presence better in 2013.
These aren't ground-breaking insights, but the list below are things I try to do - both with my personal accounts and with clients I work with - to get the most out of social communication.
1. Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Are you sharing someone else's photo on Facebook or Instagram? Posting a link to a blog post on Twitter or Google+? Tag the author or the account that originally shared it in your post. Seems simple right? Well, I continue to see people sharing content without attributing it to the person or organization who created it. Aside from being a simple courtesy, recognizing the effort that goes into creating quality content gives the person you tagged a reason to check out what you're doing. Who knows, they might even return the favor by sharing your content sometime in the future, introducing you or your brand to a new audience.
2. Keep Things Fresh
How long has it been since you changed the cover photo on your brand's Facebook page? Is your Twitter background over a year old? While I do think it's good establish one profile image to maintain a consistent presence for your brand in the Twitter stream or Facebook newsfeed, changing out the cover/header images on your social profiles regularly presents a fresh look to those who may visit often and allows you to highlight different segments of your business to new visitors.
3. Engage the People and Brands You Follow
I know... I know... 2009 called and they want their word back. "Engagement" can be defined in many ways, but the bottom line is to participate as actively as you can in the social community you've worked hard to build. I read an interesting post from Mark W. Schaefer earlier this week suggesting that engagement is not a social media strategy. Mark makes a good point for putting social engagement in the proper context for the resources you have available, but interacting with your followers and reaching out to those you follow is what makes social media "social."
Start out by keeping it simple. Set aside a few minutes a couple of times each day to scroll through your twitter feed. When you see a tweet you agree with or a link you're interested in, hit "reply." Complement the author, ask a question, add value with additional information, or simply share an opinion. You might be surprised at the conversations that result - and the relationships that develop - because you took the initiative to send a single tweet.
4. Stop Using Auto-DMs
Yes, I've been over this before, but if you're still using an automated direct message to thank new followers on Twitter, the start of a new year is a great time to make a change. If you want to recognize a new follower, send them a quick reply. It just takes a second, and guess what? You'll come off as a real person who appreciates those who are interested in what you have to say.
5. Run a Promotion
No, I'm not suggesting you run yet another "WIN A FREE iPAD" giveaway (not that there's anything wrong with that), but creating a mechanism for your social community to get involved and contribute to your content is a win-win for everyone. Do you work for a hospitality or lifestyle brand? Invite users to capture a photo and share their experience. Offer a prize and/or feature the winning entry on your social profiles. There are a number of turn-key Facebook apps that enable easy uploading and user voting for photo contests that comply with Facebook's Page guidelines.
Get creative. Do a simple giveaway that asks users to tag their entry with a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. If your Web content features images, build a promotion on Pinterest around a specific product to grow visibility. Give the members of of your social community another reason to connect with your brand while sharing what you do with their own online audience.
7. Write More
This is one resolution that I'm adding to my personal list for the coming year. Start that personal blog you've been thinking/talking about. Write a guest post for a blog that focuses on your industry. Create an editorial calendar for your company blog and invite contributors to write guest posts. Focus on content that answers a question, solves a problem, or demonstrates how your products and services can make your customers/clients lives easier. Having trouble finding an article addressing a specific topic? Write it yourself and create a resource that could eventually be found in others' searches. My colleague Sarah did this just last week with her post about creating a secret, private event on Facebook.
8. Measure Performance and Use the Data
I had a boss several years ago who was a Harvard MBA. One of his favorite sayings was, "Anything worth doing is worth measuring." While it's a pretty general statement, it does apply to your social media strategy. Whether you're using Facebook insights to measure community growth and user engagement, or whether you're tracking detailed metrics across all of your social channels with a more advanced platform, measuring the performance of your social content helps you to understand what works best and enables you to adjust your strategy to maximize results. Are videos getting more views in the evening? Are Instagram photos generating more likes and comments over the weekend? Are status updates reaching more users than photos on Facebook? Do photos get more retweets than links? Use the answers to questions like these to reach the appropriate audience with the right content at the right time.
New Year, New Ideas
These are just a few of the things I try to keep in mind while planning each day, week, and month in my annual content calendar. I'd love to hear ideas you've used to get the most out of the social Web. What are your social media New Year's resolutions? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments. Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!