Resolutions of a Social Media Professional

As we begin our final countdown of 2011, millions of people like you and me will compile our list of New Year resolutions. Whether it’s promising to call grandma every week or declaring to lose 45lbs, resolutions like these often come and go by early February. For those of you like me whose grandma has given up and blocked your number, I offer a simple suggestion. Forget your Grammy and make a resolution that will stick!

For me 2011 was the year of many opportunities, forgotten resolutions, and lessons learned. Having recently started my career in social media there are many things I want to change or improve upon in 2012. While we already took the time to reflect on 2011 (which you can read here), I felt it was just as important to offer my declarations for the new year as a social media professional. Let’s begin with:

1. Focus content

First things first. I shouldn’t have to tell you that there is a distinct difference in posting content professionally versus posting content personally. As media professionals we all know that posting industry related topics is far different than posting pictures of you and Gaga taking shots at a dive bar in Brooklyn. Keeping this in mind, I’ve come to realize that while working in social media, it often requires wearing both hats.

Working with clients I’m often fighting the urge to post a wide range of information and topics, something I’m used to doing on my personal accounts. For me the data was as clear as day, people follow businesses online for specific news and information. In some cases it may take months of analytics to find what your audience is responding to, but having that data to focus your content is a priceless tool. Once you find what works, stick to it! The sooner you realize that no one is coming to you for a smorgasbord of information, the sooner people will rely on you for consistent updates.

Resolution: For 2012 I will improve content strategy and focus my posts on what my audience wants.

2. Get out and do something!

This past year I attended my first social media conference right here in Baltimore. Heading to the event I had absolutely no idea what to expect -“Would there be enough outlets?”, “Should I pack a sandwich?”, “Will this be the day I get to ride in a limousine for the first time?” Unfortunately, the answer was no to every question, but I did get to meet a lot of great people that I wouldn’t have met sitting in front of a computer all day. Finally, I had the chance to put names to faces and build a rapport with people in my industry. With so many of us coming into this industry each and every day, the single most effective advice I can offer is to get away from the computer and get in front of someone. Like the singer Macy Gray once said “Get up, get out, and do something!” Exchange your business card and promise to follow up later. You never know who you’ll meet at these events. In the end social media is all about being social, so what good are you if you’re just a Twitter tag with no identity?

Resolution: This year I will attend more networking events. Fingers crossed that I get that limo ride!

3. Streamline Social Tools

In 2011 we saw the rise and subsequent fall of so many social networking tools. From Google+ to Tumblr, there are so many platforms out there, that it’s hard to keep track of what’s in and what’s out. For me, I felt the need to sign up for as many as possible. I wanted to be in on the cutting edge of the latest technology. Unfortunately, it meant keeping up with usernames and passwords for 30 different websites. While each of these platforms may have offered advantages that the others did not, I had no way of keeping track of what was working and what wasn’t. This is why in 2012 I plan to streamline my entire process. No, I will not resurrect my Google+ account. No, I will not open a Pinterest account. Why? Because I have absolutely no need for them. This year it’s all about a-la-carte — picking and choosing exactly what you need. While there are many advantages to streamlining your social media toolbox, the main advantage is being able to better focus your attention on the few platforms you do use. Imagine how much time you’ll now have to develop strategy or respond to crisis.

Resolution: This year is all about buffet style social networking. I promise to only take what I need.

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