Last year, I created my first annual Social Media New Year’s Resolutions and am following it up, 2011 style!  This list is meant to be a list of goals to accompany your social media plan – not serve as a standalone social media blueprint. Remember that there is no end-all-be-all social strategy for all companies, so make sure that you aren’t making your brand the square peg forcing itself into a round social hole. So, onto the social media resolutions for 2011!

1.  Keep Building & Improving Your Customer Service

Most social media disputes start with customer service and could be avoided in the first place if the situation was handled properly. While this was on the list last year, it still amazes me how some  companies fail to see the importance of customer service and how it can turn a social plan from a proactive marketing tool into a reactive reputation management tool.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs released a stat saying that “A dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.”  With the surge of social media usage, people are able to spread the word of dissatisfaction even quicker. Boost your customer service and customer policies in 2011 and squash the social media firestorm before it is lit.

2.  Market Your Social Accounts As Often As Possible (Even In Other Marketing)

The age old question of “how can I get more people to like/follow me on my social accounts” has one easy answer that most companies still shy away from: exposure. Let people know:

a)  That you are participating on these sites

b)  Where to find you

c)  Why they should follow/like you

Doing this requires more than just a little logo in the corner of your website; it’s not that easy. The large social networking sites have widgets that can help, and now many companies are taking this a step further. Here is a great example of Zazzle.com not only promoting their current sale, but parlaying it into their Facebook account with the promise of more deals to come:

Overstock is even running banner ads that not only focus on products and the brand, but also let users know they are on social platforms:

So if your goal is to increase your following, make sure people know you have these social accounts. Don’t be afraid to let them know. In 2011, make sure that your social accounts are leveraged across all of your marketing material.

3.  Improve Your StumbleUpon Presence

The beauty of StumbleUpon is that there is a category that can apply to any site. With the disintegration of communities like Digg, Delicious and Propeller, it may be surprising to know that StumbleUpon is thriving; 2010 was the first full year with the original creators back at the helm, and the community is bigger than ever.

The two biggest advantages to StumbleUpon are the continual traffic that it can send over extended periods of time, and its variety in user demographics. StumbleUpon is one of the only social sites where the male to female spilt is nearly equal, and topics range from knitting to guns – something for everyone!

A comprehensive list of topics can be found here, and a great basics guide for StumbleUpon can be found here … happy stumbling in 2011!

4.  Test Social Advertising

One of the easiest ways to see if a social platform is right for you is to test the network out with advertising. From YouTube Ads to Sponsored Tweets to Paid Stumbles, give each network a chance and see what performs for you.

Creating an effective and engaging ad is crucial in this process. The saying “When there’s smoke, there’s fire” works perfectly with social ads as you can give these networks a trial run before creating a full-on social strategy around them. Just make sure your ads provide a good deal of smoke before allocating a comprehensive social plan to a network.

5.  Take A Closer Look At Podcasts

While podcasts have been around for 5+ years, 2010 was truly the year that marked their move mainstream. Traditional radio stations are dying a slow death and have yet to produce any innovations on the internet that are worth participating in socially while online radio is flourishing. Podcasting and online radio are growing rapidly, with approximately 42 million users in 2009.

Whether it is creating your own specialized niche podcast, advertising on a large podcast, or pitching to be a guest on a relevant podcast – get in the podcast game as 2011 will be the year that podcasting truly becomes mainstream.

6.  Claim Your Social Names On New Networks

Going out and claiming your usernames on social networks should be done at least once a year as social media sites are sprouting up faster than ever. So stop a brandjacking before it starts with a service that will register your usernames across new and upcoming social networks.

Sites like KnowEm help to protect your trademarks across as many as 300 social sites for a nominal fee. Consider this your kick in the pants to stop a problem before it starts by securing your names and protecting your brand.

7.  Make Sure You Have A Social Analytics Program That Is Working For You

Happy with your analytics package? Good, move on to the next resolution. If you are still here, let’s talk analytics. Besides customer interaction, one of the most important issues that companies have with social media is proving its worth to keep campaigns alive … this is where analytics come into play.

Whether it’s simple tracking on links or full blown social analytics tools, a standard must be set for implementation. Outspoken Media covered a great SMX East session that broke down different needs and platforms that can solve the problems that every company can face. The takeaway? Do your research on Social Analytics solutions or head to SMX West 2011 to learn more, but make sure that you find a social platform that works for you in 2011.

8.  Leverage Video Sharing Sites

It is surprising and somewhat embarrassing to stress this point in 2011, but many companies don’t have a satisfactory video presence … still. Take some time in 2011 to support your website with video, as YouTube is now exceeding more than 2,000,000,000 views per day.

Sears does a great job with their YouTube page, capturing all press, ads and information about the brand and displaying it for public consumption. Anything from branded How-To’s to detailed product shots can be placed on video sharing sites to extend your reach, brand and search engine presence.

9.  Keep Rewarding Loyal Fans With ‘Social-Only’ Exclusives

The number one thing that can be done to grow your networks is to give people a reason to follow/like you. It’s that simple. By treating these followers and fans like they are VIPs, you will grow your networks and your social campaign will thrive.

One of the best mediums to partake in this is Facebook due to the levels of customization they offer. Take a look at some previous creative examples of social media exclusives, and don’t be afraid to implement exclusive content for fans only in Facebook.

Incentives are the number one deciding factor on whether or not a user will participate with your brand – so listen to them and provide coupons, discounts, free offers and more!

10.  Test Location Based Social Media

Whether it be Foursquare, Facebook Places, Groupon or Gowalla – location specific social media will be mainstream in 2011. These services appeal to many retailers because many times the services not only boost sales, but increase foot traffic and awareness as well. In this medium,  the offer you provide to customers can truly make or break your campaign.

Provide a great offering to the network and you will reap the long term rewards. It is also good to know that many of the reps from the social networks can really work with your brand to provide creative ‘non-cookie’ cutter promotions, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with them.

11.  Leverage Your Offline Presence To Boost Your Online Social Accounts

As we talked about earlier, letting people know that you are participating in social media is crucial – even if consumers are ‘offline.’ Feel free to even go above and beyond what we talked about in resolution #2.

If you have a physical presence, leverage your retail space to let people know where they can find you online, if you sell products- leverage your packaging space to show them where they can further interact with your brand. Get creative. Use any wasted space to alert your customers of your presence and give them specific instructions on how to find you.

When promoting your accounts, be specific. Instead of saying “Find us on Facebook” give a specific URL to make it easy for them. Even Walmart realizes the power of offline social promotion, so should you:

And that’s it! Add these resolutions to this year’s social media strategy, and your 2011 social presence will be the best yet. Have any other additions that you would like to share? Feel free to add any of your resolutions in the comments. Happy New Year!

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social

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About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email



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