Prepare for 2012

Preparing for 2012

Preparing for a new year is never easy no matter what line of work you’re in. In social media, it’s damn near impossible. Regardless of how much analysis of the previous year you complete or how strategies you put in place to start the year, things change… rapidly.

That all said, if you aren’t at least thinking about how you can improve or tweak your social strategy on a big picture basis, you’re already behind. Throw in Google’s announcement of their social search integration and you’re plain out of sight.

While they may be basic, here are some things you should be thinking about while you’re building your plan for the next month, 6 months, or even the whole year.

What is the connection between social and the bottom line?

Time and time again, we see businesses jump into social media with a bunch of buzz words at the helm of their strategy. They say that they’re doing social to converse with their customers, find new customers, have authentic engagement, etc. Those reasons aren’t wrong – they’re at the core of our values. That being said, business owners aren’t asking themselves how their efforts will connect to the bottom line.

We are far enough along in social media where the ROI is meaningful. We should never lessen the value relationships and authentic conversations, but we should be thinking about why we are spending the time and money and what the benefits will be in the end.

The line between social media to the bottom line may not be a straight one, but in the end, they should connect.

What networks actually matter and why?

I don’t need to be the one to tell you this but that said, the networks we use are evolving and all serve a different purpose. That also means that each network might not be important to your bottom line or message. This is where ROI is very important. It is important to evaluate each network separately and then determine whether it belongs in the mix of your social media strategy.

Where does social rank as a priority?

In my current position, I try to focus on social media as much as I can but in reality, social is often not the most important form of marketing for our goals (especially when you’re competing for Google ranking in “online mba programs“. That isn’t to say social doesn’t matter or isn’t a continuous part of our communications strategy. Instead, we have figured out what its importance is and how many resources should be dedicated.

Because we have evaluated its importance, we understand how to maximize our efficiency and what the most direct lines of success are within our overall marketing mix.

What is your voice?

Sometimes, being conversational and open isn’t the way to go for brands. Some brands need to be more authoritative or resourceful rather than being a friendly face. That doesn’t mean they don’t understand the nature of social that just means they understand what their public persona is and what is the best voice for their brand to possess. Find your voice and you’ll carve your place in the social atmosphere.

What defines success?

All of these questions lead into the final one. What defines success in your social strategy? This may be the most obvious question, yet it is the most important. If you don’t understand what you are working towards or what you will be evaluating at the end of your reporting period, it makes it extremely difficult to understand how to move forward.

Social is always evolving, but your overall goals shouldn’t waver past minor adjustments. They should stand firm from the beginning – otherwise your messaging and path will change to where your original goals are unrecognizable.

Everyone’s success in 2012 will look different from one another – it’s your job to understand what you are aiming to toast to in 2013.

Written by Guest Post