Your New Year’s Social Media Resolutions

happy_new_year_fireworksWe’re now only a few days from 2014, and many of us have undoubtedly committed to some of the usual New Year’s Resolutions: exercising more, eating less, quitting a personal habit and the like. But have you dedicated yourself to something that will improve your business, not just yourself?

I’m talking, of course, about your New Year’s Social Media Resolutions!

The new year is a great time to take stock of what you’ve done so far with social media for your business, and committing to taking specific steps to improve your engagement and influence. And although I know I’ve stopped going to the gym and eating healthy after a couple weeks, hopefully these resolutions will be the type you can stick with for the long haul.

1. Research Your Target Market and What They Want – If you haven’t yet developed a clear idea of the people who most need your products or services, now is the perfect time to do so. By identifying a target market, you can seek them out wherever they are most active, for example Facebook or Twitter, and then post the type of content they will be most interested in.

Depending on your business, this might be helpful tips and expertise, media or special promotions. A huge list of followers looks impressive, but if the users are not very targeted, they will have a much lower chance of responding positively or converting.

2. Be More Strategic With Your Brand and Online Reputation – It’s one thing to open a Facebook and Twitter account under your brand name and start talking. It’s another to have the discipline to ensure that every post is a strategic choice based on the image you want to associate with your brand. Of course, every business is different, and this does not mean that you need to be stiff or impersonal, but any tone you decide to take on social media needs to be a conscious decision.

It is easy to slip up periodically and let your emotions or personal opinions take over, inspiring you to make a post you’ll regret later. Make 2014 the time where you save that type of posting for your personal profiles and make sure that your business ones are in line with the image you want to cultivate.

3. Master a New Social Media Platform – 2013 saw big changes to the social media landscape. There were updates to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and emerging networks such as Vine (owned by Twitter) picked up steam. 2014 is a great time to take on a new platform that is relevant to your target market and working it into your overall social media strategy.

4. Step Up Your Analytics– If you’ve been going along not quite sure how your social media efforts are paying off, you can make 2014 the year you get intimate with your analytics and set specific targets for your business. If you don’t yet use Google Analytics, it is a great time to start. You can examine the reports for important metrics such as Visits, Pageviews, Average Time on Site, and Bounce Rate, and you can analyze your top referring sites to compare how many visitors were sent to your site by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other channel. In addition, there are plenty of other services that can help you measure content performance and social media conversion.

5. Increase Your Social Media Investment – Finally, if you’ve seen some success with social media but haven’t yet allocated much of a budget, you may want to pledge to make a more significant investment in 2014. By following the previous steps and ensuring that you have a clear strategy in place, you can be sure that you are getting the most out of your money.

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Andrew Walsh

I'm Andrew Walsh, a web entrepreneur, author and academic librarian. Check out my book Savvy for the Social Web, or learn more about me my personal homepage. If you're interested, please follow me on Twitter and Google+
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