From Printwear Magazine
by Kristine Shreve

Now is a great time to assess your company's social media program. Of course, you should constantly monitor your social media accounts, but take the start of a new year to examine what you're doing, what's working, and make any necessary changes. This is also when you should plan your editorial calendar, even if it's as simple as setting up reminders for product launchings, sales and specials, or trade show announcements to ensure your social media outlets spread the appropriate messages at the right times.

PRUNE YOUR LISTS
The prevailing theory seems to be that more ďlikesĒ equals more success, but this isn't always the case. What matters more than the number of likes is the quality of those likes, particularly when it comes to Facebook. On Facebook, any given post is generally shown to a percentage of your followers, so genuine likes matter.
To prune your followers, first take a look at who engages with your page. What constitutes engagement varies by each social media platform, but youíre looking for people who like, favorite, retweet, repin, or comment. Those people are definitely worth keeping.
Next, look at your followersí location. If your followers are largely from Indonesia or India, consider deleting those followers. Many click farms operate in Indonesia and India; thus, likes from those countries may not be valid or useful. Focus on quality, not quantity.
This is also a good time to examine the accounts you follow. When first starting a social media account, many users follow indiscriminately to make connections and generate follows and likes for their own accounts. Now that the accounts are established, get rid of the dead weight. Unfollow or unfriend any account that doesnít post regularly or mostly publishes rubbish posts. Instead, follow accounts that help you meet goals and reach your target market. Every account you follow adds more noise to your feed, and some platforms have limits on how many accounts you can follow. Make every follow and friend count.
The same goes for deleting dead accounts. As more social media platforms become available, you might think your company needs presence everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. You only have so much time in your day, and only so much of that time is devoted to social media. Spending time on underperforming or dead accounts benefits no one. If an account doesn't generate much engagement or your target market isn't on that platform, itís time to delete the account and spend your time more wisely.

MAKE A PLAN
Itís no accident that the first word in social media is ďsocial,Ē so reach out to others and form a community. Make sure that liking, retweeting, repining, and commenting are a daily part of your social media program. Social media is about interaction and connecting with others. If you only post sales messages and never interact, youíll find that you're talking to yourself.
Also, donít be afraid to try new platforms. New social media outlets pop up all the time, and one of the new platforms may be the perfect place for your business. Do your research first, and make sure the new outlet is in the realm of your target market and suits your social media style. Understand how to properly use the new platform and give accounts time to grow and the attention they need.
Everyone wants to post the sensational video or tweet that goes viral, but that's a rare phenomenon. Modest goals are a better bet and usually benefit your account in the long run. Look at what you've posted over the past year and see what created the most engagement on each platform. Examine what competitors are doing and see which posts on their feeds engaged people the most. With this information, you can craft posts on your feeds that echo what you know works without copying it. Your goal isnít to go viral but to add value and interest to your feeds.
Along with competitors, watch industry players. Find out which companies are the stars in your industry and keep an eye out for those accounts that consistently generate buzz and engagement. You can follow and learn from these accounts.
Keep in mind that social media works both ways, and ignoring your engaged followers is the worst social media sin. Respond to comments, retweets, and questions in a timely manner. Donít simply post so that new content appears regularly on your feeds. Half of social media is about communicating with others, and itís an integral part of the process.
Like most advertising mediums, generating a buzz on social media isnít free, but with the right research, plan, and platform, advertising provides good returns for your dollar. Donít waste time complaining about the cost. Most social media outlets werenít set up as a nonprofit, nor do most claim to be so. Budgeting for social media advertising should be part of your planning for the year.
When it comes to social media, be responsive, interesting, and aware. Manage your accounts consistently, and pay attention to your engaged followers. Remember, the most successful social media accounts are the ones that give you a peek behind the curtain and reveal a companyís personality.