Back to Basics: Get Your Social Media Plan on Track for 2013
Here’s the problem with any type of plan – unless you keep it in check, revisit it often, it runs the risk of flying out the window, never to be seen again. We always get so excited when we make plans in business – it’s such a great feeling, being all organized and focused and stuff. But soon, the chaos of our days ensues once again, and our best laid plans become distant memories – we lose focus and then wonder why we haven’t gotten very far.
Nowhere else is this more the case these days than when it comes to social media. We are told we need to have a strategy in place, so we can listen, create content, respond, and meet our business goals. That’s all fine and well, and we’re pretty good at laying the ground work – but what happens when it’s back to life, back to reality? Our plans get swept to the side, and before we know it, we haven’t kept up our blog, responded to those messages or checked in to see if our metrics are showing positive results.
It’s time to get back on track! Here’s a quick and dirty method for re-booting your social media efforts and getting yourself set for success in 2013!
Revisit your goals. We’ve heard it a thousand times before. No social media plan can work without having good, solid business goals in place. And I mean business goals, not “get 500 likes on Facebook” goals. Spend some time figuring out what you actually want to accomplish with social media. Hint: It can change over time. In other words, your goals for this year may be different from last year. Have another look and make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve.
Listen more, talk less. The easy way to do social is to simply post stuff a lot. This sort of verbal diarrhea is very prevalent in the online world. People just push stuff out without regard as to whether it’s actually valuable to the audience. As Stephen R Covey once said, “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”. Spend some time setting up your listening posts. If you aren’t already, get on Google Reader and start subscribing to the things you want to hear. Set up alerts around keywords for your industry. Make a habit to check in daily (or at least a few times per week). The more you hear about, the better a position you’ll be in to be able to talk about the things that matter to your audience.
Use a Dashboard to stay organized. If you’re still using twitter.com and facebook.com to manage and track your social network activity, please stop. Not only is it a pain in the butt to have to log in and out of various accounts all the time, the amount of pointing and clicking you need to do to stay on top of your social accounts is ridiculous. You’re wasting so much time! Set up a dashboard tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite (I prefer Hootsuite personally). Having your social media activity “at a glance” will make you much happier, I promise.
Stop being afraid of analytics. Let’s face it, some people like numbers, and some people don’t. I fall into the latter category. Numbers aren’t my strong point. But it’s so important to be able to look at your analytics and understand how your social actions are moving the needles. Tools like Google Analytics provide a LOT of information, and if you’re not sure where to start, then get some help. Knowing how to measure your efforts effectively is the only way you’ll know when you’ve been successful! So lose the fear, and learn what you need to know to be able to decipher your analytics.
Get some training. This world changes really quickly, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes, a bit of training is all you need to keep you on track. This could be anything from reading books to registering for social media courses. Find what works for you, and set aside the time (and the money, if necessary) to learn some new things. It will go a long way to helping you to get focused and stay in the game.