It’s interesting how making New Year’s Resolutions never seems passé even though only 8 percent of people actually reach their resolution goals. However, here are 10 social media resolutions that would be worth striving for in 2014.
1. Resolve to learn what each social media tool does best
Too many people and organizations still do not fully understanding the difference between social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. For instance, Facebook is great for community building and brand promotion. Twitter is great for rapid-fire conversations, plugging content on your website or Facebook page, and to pass along useful information posted by others. Each social media tool accomplishes something different. Learn the difference and use them effectively.
2. Resolve to reduce social media message redundancy
This goes with No. 1. Don’t create content in Twitter or Instagram and just copy it across all of your social media platforms. Occasionally is fine, but being a chronic offender is, well, offensive. Your Facebook audience learns you’re a Facebook fraud because you don’t actually interact there. You’ll never build an engaged community through social media redundancy.
3. Resolve to create content that contributes to the betterment of others
Don’t contribute to the glut of crass, crude and sophomoric content already prevalent on social media, especially if you use social media to promote yourself, your organization or your company. The conversation doesn’t alway have to be about your brand – in fact it shouldn’t be – so add something to your social media channels that informs or tastefully entertains others. Adding to others reaps a benefit.
4. Resolve to content check before posting
Once upon a time, not every thought was publicly expressed. Unfortunately, people now feel social media are the channels to share not-so-nice thoughts about employers, competitors, peers, friends, lovers, enemies, etc. If that’s you…just stop it. Check your content before you post to see if you are one “send” away from damaging your reputation or brand, alienating everyone around you including your mother, and strategically positioning yourself for the unemployment line.
5. Resolve to spell check before posting
Okay, I fess up…I’m guilty of this one. Curses to autofill on my iPhone! I’ll quickly rip off a Tweet, Facebook post or an Instagram tag line, post, then look back and wonder how in the plethora of words in the English lexicon autofill decided on THAT. Take two seconds and scan what you wrote to make sure you don’t look like a moron.
6. Resolve to use real language
Yes, I know texting shorthand is all the rage, but it isn’t appropriate if you are trying to coherently communicate through Twitter and Facebook – especially if you are trying to advance the objectives of your organization. Too many people don’t know all the shorthand expressions and risk people missing your point. Speak (and write) to be understood.
7. Resolve not to be a hashtag abuser
If you haven’t seen “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, you’ve missed a classic. They mock the absurdity of “hyper-hashtagging.” Hashtags have gotten out of control. One – maybe two – hashtags at the most are sufficient. Hashtags are helpful when you’re at an event and you want to see what others are saying or to see who is present. Hashtags are also helpful when you want to aggregate certain comments that may relate to your organization. But rule of thumb: practice hashtag restraint.
8. Resolve not to be a hashtag abuser (Part 2)
The other absurdity Fallon and Timberlake feature is the nonsensical use of hashtags. A humorous hashtag here and there that accentuates a Tweet or Facebook post is appropriate, but consistently attaching hashtags that don’t connect to a larger conversation does nothing to advance personal or organizational objectives. People look for content under tags like #leadership or #writing. They don’t often search for #Imtheoriginalcookiemonster (watch the video).
9. Resolve to fall out of love with yourself (at least in selfies)
I recently read an article that social media is creating a narcissistic culture through the obsession of self portraits, called “selfies.” That’s debatable, but just stop it anyway. Nobody wants to see a catalogue of “Me” pictures in front of the mirror with today’s fashion selection. A selfie at an interesting venue or event – such as the Grand Canyon or a charity 5K – is fine, but think of selfies also like salt. A little goes a long way.
10. Resolve to engage the conversation
So many people – including those behind the organizational social media effort – push content out like it’s coming from a fire hose, yet there is never any response to people’s comments or engagement with posts/Tweets made by others. Social media is not a monologue. Here’s a hint…it’s “SOCIAL” media, meaning interaction between two or more people. If you want your social media effort to reap a benefit, then you need to engage others in the dialogue.
These resolutions aren’t as difficult as trying to lose 30 pounds or preparing for a marathon, but a commitment to improving your use of social media in 2014 will go a long way to helping you more effectively use social media to reach your personal and organizational objectives.