A new year is a time for clean starts and reworking areas that aren’t quite on-target in our work and our lives. Some of us are focusing on personal goals such as weight loss or finding greater balance with work and home. Others are focusing on professional goals such as finding more customers or enhancing the bottom line. As it can impact both of these goals, what better time to take a good look at your business’ social media marketing strategy? 

At this point, it’s safe to assume that your business is probably doing something with social media — and if you aren’t, what better time to start? It could be that you already have a strategy in place. However, even if you do, it’s still a smart idea to get it out and go through it as the new year is also a good time for course corrections if needed.

In planning your organization’s social media marketing program, you need to look at several critical factors that can provide a solid foundation. Many of these items can be asked as simple questions.

Why Are You Doing This?

Simply put, what’s your business objective? Too often, organizations simply want to “do social media” and plant the figurative flag like Neil Armstrong on a platform like Facebook and call it done. Without having a solid business goal like branding or customer service in place, your team won’t know what they need to do or how to measure success.

Who Are You Doing This for?

It’s amazing how often this is overlooked. Frequently our online activities focus on the general users any website can find rather than those unique potential customers needed to accomplish your objective.

What Are You Doing and on Which Social Networks?

As noted, without a business objective you have little hope of arriving at what you need to say or do and on which of the many social channels. Are you working at building a more human side to your brand? Then maybe an intimate network like Instagram makes sense. Are you wanting to respond to customer support issues in real time? Try Twitter.

How Are You Accomplishing This?

Once you know why you’re engaging on social media — which feeds what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for — you then need to ask yourself how you’re staffing this internally? How are you integrating with other departments? And, above all, how will you measure your ROI?

When Does This Happen?

What’s the timeline look like? After measuring success, how do you continue to iterate and ensure that you have a healthy social media program?

Need Help Setting Your Social Media Strategy?

On January 24th I’m hosting the first-ever Social Strategy Boot Camp at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. This day-long, interactive super workshop is designed to provide structure, stability, and accountability to your social media program while aligning your activities to the outcomes that really matter for your business. The best part? You leave the event with an actual plan you can share with your team.

To sweeten the deal even further, I’ll give the next three to register a FREE copy of the book Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. To recap, you get a day of facilitated strategic development, a plan to share with your team when you leave, and – if you are one of the next three to register – a free copy of the definitive guide to creating engaging content all for just $95. Be sure to plan ahead for 2013, as the price goes up to $115 on January 1st.

Learn more and register now at SocialStrategyBootCamp.com.

Best of luck in planning your organization’s social media marketing efforts in 2013!

Photo via Flickr user stefan.erschwendner