So the holidays are behind us and the guilt we all felt about not posting over Christmas and the New Year is giving way to a new determination to fire up the social media work and turn those followers and friends into clients and partners.
This the time when New Year’s Resolutions are made, plans to generate more cash, boost numbers and increase output are laid… and those improved new habits are already beginning to be broken. So do your business a favor. Make plans for 2013, but make the right ones: set goals that are achievable and which will bring real benefits to your bottom line.
That means not setting any number goals. Forget about saying that your Facebook page is going to have x thousand fans by this time next year or that your Twitter page is going to pick up 500 new followers every month for the next twelve months. Those figures themselves will not help you at all. They will just tell you how many people saw and liked something you posted once. They do not tell you how many people you are actually reaching or how many of them are interested.
Engagement does that. If you are going to make a plan for 2013, make sure that it includes less broadcasting and more talking. Increase the frequency with which you make comments — especially comments that contain helpful, positive information — on the updates, tweets and even blog posts of potential customers and partners. Answer questions that people pose on Twitter and on Quora, a good place to build a halo of expertise. Most important of all, make sure that you are engaging with the right people.
Not All Followers Are Created Equal
Not all followers and friends are equal. Some are far more important than others with the ability to move their followers and reach larger audiences. If you do not know who are the key influencers on each of your social media platforms then your first goal this year should be to draw up a list. That is not completely straightforward but you have probably got a good idea who they are already and you can use Klout to rank their contributions. Alternatively, if you want to do it yourself, you can just check timelines and walls, and count the number of comments, likes and shares they receive for each post and update. The count does not have to be rigorous but once you have got an idea of the most important people that you are in touch with on social media, you will want to make a point of communicating with them, drawing their attention and deepening your relationship with them.
And just as some social media contacts are more important than others, so some platforms are more effective than others, too. That does not mean that you should dump LinkedIn or Flickr if they are not giving much in the way of results. It just means that you should focus your attention where it is likely to deliver the best results.
Happy New Year.
None of these things are solid goals. The only figure that really matters in social media is the additional revenue it produces — a figure that is actually quite difficult to measure. As I have stressed earlier, social media only enhances value. But the more you engage with the right people on the right platforms, the more you will be able to raise those sales figures this year.