As the country woke on January 1st 2012, it did so with many New Year resolutions flying around, from giving up certain vices, through to eating a healthier diet, exercising more and giving to charity. But resolutions aren’t just for individuals, they can also be applied to businesses – and below, we look at some of the New Years resolutions you should make to improve your social media marketing campaign.

Resolution 1: Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign:

It may sound obvious, but there are still businesses of all shapes and sizes who still aren’t using social media marketing – and these companies are losing out on potential business, customers and perhaps most importantly useful networks.

One of the common reasons for businesses opting not to use social media marketing is because they believe that the platforms available are only for the younger generations and not their target audience. Yet, statistics show that this isn’t true.

A study carried out in September 2011 found that:
• Over half pensioners in the UK use Facebook; whilst 37.4 million UK adults use Facebook regularly
• 32.1 million UK adults use YouTube regularly; 15.5 million use Twitter and 7.9 million use LinkedIn

Although we cannot recommend highly enough the importance of social media marketing; we also recommend before creating an account on every platform available, that you spend a bit of time researching each platform and your target audience as this will allow you to find the best platform for your needs and requirements.

Whilst carrying out the research, it’s also important to make sure that you put together a plan of what you want to achieve via your social media marketing campaign. Do you want to promote a product and / or service? Interact with a specific niche audience or network with other business professionals?

Resolution 2: Be Consistent:

As with all New Year’s resolutions, the first few weeks are a flurry of activity as we hit the ground running on our good endeavours. Unfortunately, after a month, keeping New Year’s resolutions, even with the best will in the world, can be difficult – and this has led to a kind of “social media graveyard” with numerous neglected accounts sitting on the internet.

Whilst the intentions when first creating and using various social media marketing platforms may have been good, in reality an unused social media account – whether on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ – can be as damaging as not having account. Why? Because clients who come across an account which hasn’t been updated for months (and in some cases, years) will get the impression that the business isn’t interested in real-time interaction with its customers.

Keeping this in mind, it’s important that once you take the plunge and create a social media marketing campaign that you keep on top of it. This doesn’t have to mean spending hours each day on various social media sites, or putting a couple of hours aside each Friday afternoon to add a status here-and-there. Instead, I’d recommend taking ten minutes at the start of your working day and ten minutes in the afternoon to update each platform.

You’d be surprised how much difference even a short amount of time, which is consistent, can have on the performance of your social media marketing.

Resolution 3: Make it Personal:

No-one wants to feel like they’re engaging with a machine when they take to any social media platform nor do they want to read just about your business and the services you offer.

It’s therefore important to make sure that you add a personal touch to each platform when you use it. If various people within your company have access to your company profiles, why not add a name to the end of each update? Are you talking about a service you offer, why not include the name of members of staff who specialise in these services?

Other great ways to make your updates personal is to include images – this can be done on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook – so if your company are holding an event or at an awards ceremony, why not provide an update via your social media marketing and include images?

To prevent your social media marketing campaign coming across as all “Me, Me, Me” include industry specific news, tips or advice from time to time or share updates that others have added to the social media platform; after all, networking is important if you want to make a success of social media.

Resolution 4: Use The Platforms Available Tools:

Each social media marketing platform has various tools available which are designed to help users make the most of each site; so why not take advantage of them?

Twitter, for example, allows users to use the hash tag within tweets –allowing others to search for updates which include the same word / phrase. If it is relevant within your update, use a hash tag or two.

A second tool on Twitter is the re-tweet option. Have you seen something on your timeline from someone you’re following which is interesting or industry specific? Why not re-tweet it to your followers. Not only does this help prevent your Twitter account from becoming all “Me, Me, Me” (see above) but it also helps with networking.

Facebook and LinkedIn have similar features to the re-tweet option with the “Share” and “Like” options, so don’t forget to use them too.

Resolution 5: Keep Each Social Media Platform Tidy:

It can be tempting when you first join Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to follow / be-friend everyone that you come across or everyone that looks interesting. Realistically though, this is the wrong way to go about building a healthy social media marketing campaign.

Instead, on each platform you need to make sure that you follow those that are industry specific and those that you know; but if they don’t update there statuses for a month or two, don’t be afraid to unfollow them – after all, if they’re not actively using the platform, they aren’t benefiting you or reading your updates.

Another way to keep each platform that you use tidy is to organise your followers and those you’re following on Twitter into lists. On Facebook you can do a similar thing, by adding those you’re friends with into relevant groups (i.e. business contacts, suppliers, clients).

As with all New Year’s resolutions, the five above for your social media marketing campaign may not be easy to stick too, especially when something else crops up. But if you want to make sure social media works for you, they are important.

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