By Missy Sheehan
The beginning of a new year is always a time of change—a time for reflection, contemplation, inspiration, and motivation. While the average Joe is prying himself off the couch and hitting the gym in a quest for self-improvement around this time, business owners often resolve to better their businesses with resolutions to help propel their enterprises forward.
If you haven’t started using social media for your business yet—or if you want to boost your presence—now is the perfect time. “Social media is here to stay and will continue to propel consumer spending,” according to Los Angeles based business strategist Jackie Nagel in a recent post highlighting seven trends that will impact small business growth in 2015.
Here are five New Year’s resolutions you can make to whip your social media presence into shape this year:
1. Embrace Change
Change is inevitable, so it’s best to embrace it and try to turn fortune in your favor this year. Get yourself up to date on the latest social-media trends, and learn how to use those trends to your business’s advantage.
Business and marketing experts have predicted several trends that will rock the social-media world this year. The new “Buy” button Twitter began testing with a small group of users in the fall is one example. “Although it has yet to make an appearance in my newsfeed, Facebook and Twitter's new ‘buy’ buttons allow small business owners to sell their product or service to their network without them needing to leave the platform,” Nagel writes.
2. Reflect on Last Year
A new year can mean new opportunities for growth and success, but you can’t move forward without first reflecting on where you’ve been. Study your business’s social media successes and failures during the previous year. In what areas did your business perform well, and in which areas did it perform poorly?
When you’ve analyzed where your business stands, decide where you’d like to see improvement and what changes you need to make. Taking this step is enormously beneficial for developing new ideas and strategies for meeting goals like increasing sales.
3. Get Organized
Once you have some goals in mind, it’s time to make a plan of action. An easy and effective way to start is to create an editorial calendar, a strategic posting schedule that can range from a few weeks to several months in advance and outlines exactly what you’re going to post on social media and when. By planning your content ahead of time, you’ll be able to better align content with your other business goals and develop the best overall strategy.
Use this guide to help you create an editorial calendar.
4. Don’t Let Fear Weigh You Down
While you’re planning your editorial calendar, take Forbes contributor Will Burns’ advice on one of the quintessential New Year’s resolutions for businesses in 2015: lose weight. “Fear is the enemy of creativity,” Burns writes. “Let’s not let it weigh us down.”
According to Burns, marketing should be fun for both brands and customers. “So let’s all loosen our grip on the bat a little in 2015 and lose some of that oppressive weight,” he suggests.
If there’s any place marketing should be fun, it’s social media, so take Burns’ advice and apply it to your content strategy this year.
5. Be a Better Listener
"A brand can't imporvise meaningfully without knowing what's on the minds of its audience."
“A brand can’t improvise meaningfully without knowing what’s on the minds of its audience,” Burns writes, so resolve to be a better listener in 2015. It’s not hard to find out what your fans think—just ask them on social media. Ask them what products or services they liked in 2014, and which ones they didn’t. Ask them what they’d like to see in 2015. Also take the time to read your customers’ reviews and really listen to their complaints and criticisms. Then take action to improve those areas of concern.
For owners of larger businesses who want to take it a step further, Burns recommends using social metrics companies like Brandwatch or apps like Whisper, which lets users post anonymously, to get even more insight into what consumers are saying about your brand.
In a new year, anything is possible. Resolve to stick to these five resolutions, and you’ll be well on your way to social-media success in 2015.
Happy New Year!