A new year represents beginnings. It is a time to reflect on what was missed and make plans for improvement. This year is going to be a crucial one for many businesses with uncertainty in the economy, fluctuation in the social media sphere, and an awakening that is happening for many that social media is here to stay and is something that they need to master.
Competition is getting stronger thanks to this awakening. It’s no longer an option to try out social media. The test drive phase is over. Either you’re in or you’re out. If you’re in, here are some things that you should strive to accomplish in 2013 that will make your social media strategy shine above the competitors:
- Get on the Google+ bandwagon before it becomes a bandwagon – In 2011, I said that Google+ had potential. In 2012, it started showing signs of having influence over searches, placement of reviews in the local section, and an increased engagement level on the social networking component itself. In 2013, it will go from an option to a “must have”. We saw this sort of necessity budding with Facebook in 2008 and Twitter in 2009. Google+ is different because it’s accelerating faster than any of its predecessors. Get going now or you may fall terribly behind.
- Make quality content the highest goal for website improvement – We’ve discussed it several times over the last few months and we’ll continue to discuss it for as long as it remains important. High-quality content is the key to both search and social more than it has even been in the past. Unique, important, entertaining, and informational content that can get the inbound links and social shares to your website can be your secret weapon in 2013.
- Consolidate your social media posting strategies – This is a challenging one to discuss and deserves its own blog post in the near future. There’s a difference between posting the exact same content to all of your social profiles and pages at the same time and consolidating the strategies in a way that will make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not that you will cross-post everything you have. It’s that you’ll want to make sure that everything from website content to Facebook posts to Pinterest pins are pointing in the same strategic direction.
- Get visual – The written word is harder to promote than the visual message. All of the major social networks love images. Most hate links. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try to make links a part of the message, but all too often it’s the only part. This has to change in 2013.
- Post higher quality instead of more often – If given the choice between crafting and promoting a single piece of content on Facebook and Google+ that truly resonates with the communities or posting a lot of good but not great content, I’ll take the former every time. Your posts have to pop or they’ll go nowhere.
- Grow your targeted following ONLY - There was a time when it was okay to get a boost on followers by targeting the whole world. It’s easier to get local followers to a big account than one that is tiny. Things have changed, though, and now it can actually damage the effectiveness of your accounts by being too large with untargeted followers. Tighten it up, prune when necessary, and stop trying to inflate your numbers.
- Build a true personality with your social profiles and stick with it – This is not a call to become the cat-picture poster of Facebook. There are plenty of those. It’s a call for businesses to personalize, to make sure that there is humanity within their social media posts. It could be regular promotions of a local charity, funny videos made by the business that can quickly become “a thing”, or just staying business-focused but with a real person expressing real ideas and offering real advice in their industry.
It’s hard to limit this list to 7. I actually had to cut off three of the tips I was going to give because they were too hard to try to fit into a list; they deserve individual blog posts of their own.
There are so many other things that businesses should do in 2013 to make their social media shine like never before, but it’s better to start with a handful of achievable goals rather than be flustered by the failure of taking on too much at once. If you do these things, you’ll get better this year.
Thankfully, nothing on the list is that hard.