The end of the year is near and with the holiday season approaching, it’s time to look back at 2015 and decide on some useful New Year’s resolutions for 2016. The following recommendations (in no particular order) should serve as ‘best practice’ reminders for the new year on how you can professionalize your social media strategy.
1. Reply to all comments
We start with one of the most important Community Management guidelines, one which is really hard to consistently carry out: replying to all comments and mentions on all your social media platforms. The benefits of this approach are clear: forcing you to answer to all comments keeps your engagement high, encourages participation and helps creating your community online.
Replying to all comments also means reevaluating your moderation policy. Doesn’t it still happen way too often that you delete (or hide) a comment rather than turning the user’s engagement to your advantage and thinking of an intelligent reply? 2016 should be the year you will want to get that 100% response rate badge on Facebook!
2. Join one new social network
In 2016 the big networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram will still dominate the market, but it can be a great change of pace to try out a new network. Whether you register a company account on Vine, launch your Periscope channel, promote your event via Snapchat or create a WhatsApp group, in 2016, experiment with at least one new social media platform – it will give you new ideas, keep you updated on new developments and perhaps opens a way to reach completely new target groups!
3. Double your social media advertising budget
Social media advertising can be a tricky thing. However, if you are considering to invest at all into advertising, make sure to include a budget to promote your business, product or service on a social network. Traditional channels like banner-ads, radio or TV spots or print ads are no thing of the past, but none of these can give you the precise targeting options, in-depth customization and detailed analysis like social media advertisement.
4. Stick to your social media content calendar
If you happen to do social media marketing, you probably have some kind of content calendar: an excel sheet, Google calendar, whiteboard or dedicated app to mark down when you are posting what on which platform. I can tell from experience that often we start with the best intentions, but at some point during the year, we forget the calendar and way too often just update our social media profiles when we got a few minutes of free time.
Planning ahead doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible in your social media updates, but it negates the risk of inconsistent publishing when the Community Manager takes a holiday, last-minute updates because you forgot to prepare a post for Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You”) or publishing three posts in an hour because your weren’t thinking ahead before a big event. 2016 has to be the year you take your planning seriously and stick to your calendar!
5. Professionalize your community management
Sticking to your content calendar is one thing, but you also need the tools to make this task easy and efficient. Taking social media marketing seriously also means to invest a few euros a month to afford the right tool for your social media team to schedule messages, review your performance and manage your community. You don’t need to start with heavyweight apps like Engagor – a Buffer or Hootsuite account will do for the beginning.
Logging in and out of your social media profiles is so 2015 – buy your Community Managers a social media publishing tool in 2016!
6. Get serious with video marketing
Video marketing is booming not just since 2015, but it certainly became clear this year that you’re missing out on an enormous potential if you ignore audio-visual marketing. In 2015 live-streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope attracted millions of new users, Snapchat video contributed to the app’s success and Facebook introduced the first 360° video on its platform.
Today all you need to start creating videos is two decent smartphones (one for video and one for audio) and some creativity. Your first videos won’t be perfect, but if you never start, you’ll never learn!
7. Review your numbers regularly
You probably have some kind of social media monitoring in place to follow your actions online. But are you really adapting your strategy based on these numbers? 2016 should be the year you go beyond vanity numbers and think about the key performance indicators that really matter for your digital strategy.
Do ‘likes’ and ‘follower’ really matter or would it be more reasonable to monitor more closely your click and conversion rate, your direct sales on social networks and your monthly engaged users? Think about your strategic goals and define your KPI in direct correlation with these objectives.
8. Say ‘thank you’ to your community
Finally it’s always important to remember to be grateful: the attention span of social media users shrinks smaller and smaller and you should thank your loyal fans and followers for commenting, sharing, reading and watching your updates. Why not organize dedicated offline follower meetups, create special offers for your Facebook fans or invite your most loyal commentators to your office? Realize that your fans are more than numbers on the monthly social media report and turn them into brand ambassadors!
I hope together we can execute on at least a few of these resolutions for 2016. Please don’t hesitate to comment if you have a question or want to add your ideas!