As we push further into January, it is a good time to pause, evaluate your social media efforts, and make changes to get better results in 2015.
1. Get Geeky With Analytics
Most social media managers and strategists spend all of their time executing and little time analyzing. Most reports that I’ve seen are very surface level and don’t really dig into what worked and why. The best way to get better results is to know what is working and why. Make it a habit to spend more time with analytics. Create a scheduled time in your calendar for at least a half-day every month to step back and review your successes and failures, and take a look at how other businesses are getting results.
2. Talk to a Customer (Literally) Every Month
Every month, find ONE CUSTOMER and talk to them about your social media approach. What social networks do they use? Why? What would they want from you on social media? Companies invest so much money in surveys (and annoy their customers) when a few conversations could be 10 times more insightful.
3. Stop Doing the Things That Aren’t Working
Earlier this year I read a post about a business that stopped using Facebook. Despite having tens of thousands of fans, they deleted their Facebook page. Prior to deleting it they hired an expert, tried a number of different things, but ultimately they just weren’t getting results. Don’t be afraid to stop doing something that isn’t working.
4. Discover and Experiment With One New Social Media Tool a Month
Keeping up to date with social media tools can be challenging, and many end up being a waste of your time. That being said, the right tools can make all the difference in your social media marketing efforts. This year I found four tools (BufferApp, Piktochart, IFTTT, and Schedugram) that made a huge difference in my social media effectiveness. Commit to learning one new tool a month – if even half of them are right for you, you’ll be on track to get better results faster.
5. Build a Tagged and Searchable Image Library
We all know the importance of visual social media marketing, but many social media managers spend tons of time trying to find great images. Streamline your social media marketing by creating a shared, tagged, searchable image database that you can use across your social media marketing. While the setup may take a while, it will be worth it because you’ll be using better images and getting better results (plus you’ll save time).
6. Try Something New at Least Once a Quarter
Social media marketing is still relatively new and always changing, so it is important to experiment, test, and learn. Try something new at least once a quarter. Build testing and experimenting into your plan so you are constantly improving.
7. Audit How You Spend Your Time
I recently audited how I was spending my time in an effort to become more productive and I was amazed at how much time I was spending on things that were not driving results. Commit to tracking your time (there are online tools that can help) for at least a week to determine if you are really spending your time on the right things. Social media is like cooking a meal – I can spend five hours or 20 minutes making a meal; they won’t both be as good, but depending on my priorities I may only have time for the 20-minute meal. Consider the return on investment (ROI) you generate from different activities and commit to spending your time on the right things.
8. Build a PLAN to Invest in Your Skills
Like any craft, mastery happens over time with continued improvement. I’ve been a regular speaker at social media conferences since 2007, and I learn something new every time I speak or attend. I train businesses on social media marketing, and at every social media workshop I walk away with at least 20 action items for myself (and I am the trainer!). If you want to master social media, build a plan to attend conferences, go to training, read some books, follow some experts. Don’t just hope that you will carve out the time. Build an actual plan for yourself so that you are deliberate in your training.
9. Educate Those Around You
In order for businesses to succeed in social media, the social media manager needs support and buy-in from across the organization. Many people who aren’t directly involved in social media marketing, including senior executives, don’t fully understand social media. Carve out a small amount of time for a lunch and learn or hire an expert to increase the knowledge levels of your entire organization.
10. For Yourself: Do a Monthly Audit of Your Personal Social Networks
I try to “audit” my social networks to make sure that I am presenting myself in a way that is consistent with the reputation that I want to build for myself. For example, after being on Instagram for a few months I looked at my pictures and noticed that I had only taken pictures of Martinis. This doesn’t exactly match my personal branding objectives, so I made an effort to take pictures of different things as well.
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