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Kick off 2013 with a Great Social Media Strategy!

The parties are over and the kids are back to school.  It’s time to focus on building your business for the new year.  So let me ask you – do you have a social media strategy for 2013 yet?  The days fly by quickly and it’s easy to leave it for another day when you are not so busy.  However, if you determine your social media strategy now, you can either take a few of hours per month or hire someone to implement it for the remainder of 2013.

Evaluate Last Year’s Social Media

What, if anything, did you do with social media for your business in 2012?  Write down the steps you took and the number of followers you gained.  Did you have direct leads or sales from social media networking?  Did you pay for any ads?  Do a quick assessment of what actions you took and the results.  Then ask yourself how you feel you did on a scale of 1-10.

 Your Social Media Goals for 2013

Social Media Landscape image

Now that you’ve looked at your results for 2012, it’s time to determine your objectives for 2013.  Do you want to increase your fans on Facebook?  Grow your Twitter following?  Engage with more prospects on LinkedIn?  Whatever you hope to achieve, start by defining your social media goals.  While measuring the direct results of business growth with social media is still a bit foggy, you can be sure of two things:

  1. By participating in social media you give your customers the opportunity to engage with you and you get immediate feedback as to how you’re doing.
  2. By posting relevant content to your industry and providing links back to your website, you will increase your traffic by being more searchable by the search engines.

Define what you wish to accomplish with your social media plan for 2013 before you take any further actions.

Where to Focus on Your Social Media Networking

Most Social Media Managers will tell you that every business should be on every social media channel.  However, I am also a business owner and I know how overwhelming that can be.  And when you’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to just say “forget it” and move on to something that is more familiar such as print advertising or the yellow pages.  Besides, you want to spend your time performing your business, not chatting it up on social media.

My suggestion to you is to pick the two best social media sites for YOUR business.  Learn more by reading our post “What Social Media Sites are Best for My Business?”.

Create a Social Media Production Schedule

Once you decide where to spend your social media energy, you can schedule your content.  I use a blank monthly calendar and plan out each topic I will post on each day of the month.  To make it easy, I pick regular topics, such as “Fun Fridays” or “Monday Blues” for humor, “Tuesday Tip of the Week” and “Thursday quotes”, but you can design your weeks however you wish.

If your business is seasonal, briefly outline each month and what topics would serve you best during those months.  For example, if you are in retail and back to school season is big for you, create a meaty production schedule for the months leading up to it.  You don’t have to actually write the content at this stage, just map it out.

Write it!

Take one month at a time and, following your production schedule, come up with content that you would share.  Keep in mind the social media venue and any restrictions it may have (like Twitter only allows 140 characters!).

Automate Your Social Media

Once you have written your posts for the weeks or months ahead, consider automating it.  You can schedule up to 50 posts at a time by using a bulk uploader on HootSuite.  While it takes a little time to figure out the .CSV formatting, the time it will save you in the long run is worth it.

But Don’t Just “Set it and Forget it”

While automating your posts is helpful and will at least get you out there, you don’t want to simply ignore your social media sites thinking that it’s done.  Because it’s not.  ENGAGEMENT is the name of the game.  When your followers comment or share your posts, respond to them and thank them.  Share spontaneous and “social” events as they occur.  “Like” your followers pages and make comments on their news feeds.  Social Media networking is all about showing your customers and potential customers who YOU are.

Track Your Social Media

Throughout the year, take note of how your followers increase and/or the analytics that each social media site provides.  Watch which topics create the most viral results and change your strategy accordingly.

Make a commitment to be consistent with social media in 2013.  It can help you grow your business in a cost friendly and fun way!

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