New Years resolutions have to be the most frequently broken promises people make to themselves. Can you remember the last time you kept your new year’s resolution until the following December? If so… you’re pretty awesome. Just think: it’s always impossible to get a treadmill at the gym in January. Then it gets a little easier in February, and then is back to normal by March. So many gym memberships go to waste by spring.
Resolutions are often broken because they weren’t realistic to begin with, or were too drastic a change to adhere to. But new years are such a great opportunity to get a fresh start, especially after wrapping up big projects before the holidays in December. So if you can set realistic goals for yourself, now is the time to do so.
If you want to set some social media new years resolutions, here’s how to do so in a way that will be motivating, realistic, and will keep you from falling off the wagon.
1. Don’t resolve to improve every aspect of your social media strategy at once
Overwhelming yourself and burning yourself out is the worst way to start off the new year. This is how people fall off the wagon with their diet and exercise resolutions; they cut down to 1,200 calories and one hour of cardio a day, seven days a week, and then quit when they’re on the verge of fainting a few days later. Not the best approach. The same applies to social media: if you take too much on in the beginning, you’ll burn yourself out, never see your friends or family, and won’t apply the best practices to each social media element.
An over-ambitious social media New Years resolution:
I will write a new blog post every day of the week, tweet four times a day, create a Facebook page and update its status twice a day, and get TONS more Twitter followers, starting tomorrow.
A realistic social media New Years resolution:
I will follow this schedule to have an improved social media presence within 4 months:
- January: Create a Facebook page, add a like box to my website, and get used to updating the status once per day to start. Updating my status regularly will help me see the gaps in my existing content. When I see a gap, or think of content that would be nice to have, I’ll write it down in an Excel file I have saved on my desktop.
- February: Start blogging on a regular basis. I will start with three blog posts per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. By this time I will have topic ideas in my excel file, and I will add to the file as I think of new ideas. I will share the link on my Facebook page each time I publish a blog post, in addition to my regular status update I’ll stick to creating once per day.
- March: Get more engaged on Twitter. I will retweet two articles per day, reply to someone once per day, and share my three blog posts per week on Twitter as well. Additionally, I’ll start following people in my industry so that I can start getting more of a following, and will create Twitter lists so that I can group people together and make sense of my Twitter stream more easily.
- April: Now that I’m used blogging, Facebooking, and Tweeting on a regular basis, I will increase my blog output to five blog posts per week.
2. Set measurable goals that are realistic
Have target metrics in mind. This will help motivate you, and will be an encouraging factor when you start to succeed. Also make sure to make these numbers realistic. Here are a few examples:
- If you currently have 50 Facebook fans, aim for 20 new fans per month. (If this doesn’t seem like much, just think: this would more than quadruple your fan base after a year.)
- If you currently get 500 page views per month on your blog, set a goal of 700 page views for month #1, 1000 page views for month #2, and 1300 page views for month #3.
- If you currently have 500 followers on Twitter, aim for 200 new followers per month.
You can always adjust your goals as you go if you exceed your own expectations.
3. Write out your plans for the new year
Flesh out exactly what your goals for the new year are, like in the examples above. Don’t go overboard with a 50 page business plan; again, avoid overwhelming yourself. Just take out a piece of paper and write down your goals (and the numbers you want to achieve) over the next six months, and pin it up above your desk. If you want to be a bit more organized, keep an Excel spreadsheet (and still print it out and pin it up above your desk; files often get forgotten and abandoned).
Having your plans written out make your goals seem more real. It’s more motivating than having a couple vague ideas floating around in your head, which you might quickly lose sight of.
4. Don’t resort to automation
If you want to get more Twitter followers or Facebook fans, don’t start downloading sketchy software to automate the process for you. Followers that you acquire automatically will not be worth anything to you in the long-run. By using social networks the right way (sharing content, following and interacting with others in your industry, etc.), you will foster valuable relationships and gain followers who will be interested in clicking your links and reading your blog content.
Followers you get via automation software are usually bots, spam accounts, people who rarely use Twitter, or people who will unfollow you soon since you’re not really relevant to their interests after all.
So which would you rather have: 1,000 followers who don’t pay attention to you, or 100 followers who read your tweets, reply to you, and click on your links?
5. Have fun with it!
Social media should be fun! It shouldn’t seem like a massive chore. That’s another reason not to overwhelm yourself in the beginning: it WILL seem like a chore. By setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself, you can take the time to learn the best practices of each element, get comfortable using each platform, and enjoy writing content and making connections with other people.
What are your social media new years resolutions? Share yours in the comments below!