Take Social Media to the Next Level in 2011

January 3, 2011

A New Year brings new opportunities for your business. Among these, one that is sure to be a resolution on many to-do lists is taking social media to the next level.

You are tweeting, friending, liking, tagging, blogging, and creating content to build your brand and connect with your target audience. However, too often businesses simply put a toe in the water by creating the obligatory Facebook page and walk away as if the flag has been planted on this new frontier.

What now? How can you integrate social media marketing into your overall strategic plans and take things to the next level? Leveraging the full potential of social media comes down to two critical elements essential for success. First, you need to develop a social media engagement strategy for your business that clearly outlines what your goals are and how you will accomplish these in the social space. Second, you need to have the right tools in place for relevant and actionable measurement of social media’s impact on your brand.

For my part, establishing a clear platform of thought leadership on branding and new media has been essential for our growth. That’s why blogging fits our business so well. However, I haven’t always been consistent about it so I am establishing a New Year’s resolution for my own social media practices. I call it a 52-Post Resolution (#52postresolution for those of you on Twitter) and it’s simply my commitment to post thoughtful brand-driven insights to this blog each week for the next year. As consistency is king, I’ll be posting new content at 9:00 AM every Monday. With my content strategy outlined, my next step is to engage my audience via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Finally, I need measure the results and adapt. I monitor my blog’s traffic with Google Analytics so I can see who comes to my site and when, what they are looking at, and more. Using this information I can adapt my strategy accordingly. If Monday is slow and I get a ton of weekend traffic, I can try publishing then. If my shorter posts encourage longer visits, I need to become a better self-editor. If 63% of my referring traffic comes from Twitter, I should try tweeting my posts even more often to see if I get a lift.

Developing a strategy and measuring results are critical to social media success.

Recently my three year-old daughter got a LeapFrog laptop toy. I opened the device up and it exclaimed, “New blog entry! I spent all day at the beach. Is there a special place you like to visit?” It’s not only reminding my daughter to update her blog but it’s giving her post ideas! I can’t think of a better metaphor to highlight the urgency for better understanding new media. And there’s no better time to rethink your strategy than at the start of a New Year.

To learn more about taking social to the next level in 2011, join me on January 13th for Social Media Marketing 201: Implementation & Impact presented by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce — a lively and in-depth discussion on practical applications for social media success at your business. You’ll leave with examples of how to implement a social media strategy, a clear understanding of how to measure social media’s ROI, a plan of attack for your business, plus bonus tips, tools, tricks, and best practices.

Learn more and register >

Or if you’d prefer to arrange a time for me to present this to your group or organization, please contact me.

Let’s take social media to the next level in 2011 by laying a foundation for success. Happy New Year!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.