Share this news. Re-tweet this great testimonial. Pin our new infographic. Instagram our brilliant creative. Promote our contest. Get them to like us – really, really like us.

It’s good to be popular. Once the forgotten bunch, social media managers are becoming increasingly popular as their brand and marketing colleagues clamor to get their baby some social media love.

Before you post, keep in mind we’re publishers now. And, with that comes great responsibility. It’s not just about keeping our internal clients happy, but our followers as well. It requires a careful balancing act.

Sure, there are conversation opportunities that are serendipitous and often random that can’t be planned in advance – after all, you want content in the mix that is disruptive and fun. But, that needs to be supplemented with an organizational framework that ensures that social engagement efforts are tightly integrated with an organization’s marketing, PR and communications plans. To do this effectively, you need to create, consult and maintain a content calendar (weekly, monthly) that serves as a roadmap for all social media efforts. What’s more, you need to share the calendar across the organization to get everyone onboard and to improve and extend your social reach and results.

With the New Year just around the corner, here are seven resolutions to make before you publish:

· Target accordingly. For each social channel and shared content, ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish? Who are we talking to? What brand messages do we want to convey? Then, align and craft posts accordingly to ensure they are relevant and engaging to your various audiences.

· Take inventory. Audit the timely and compelling content that you have currently or that’s in the works. Create a worksheet to organize them into content buckets (topics) and types (news links, blog posts, poll questions, videos, infographics, e-books, events, etc.).

· Create themes. Pick topics or themes in broad categories that can be broken down into sub-categories. Align your theme accordingly based on the demographics/interests of each social network. The key to success is to decide upon a manageable number of categories, product areas or marketing promotions to focus on each month. Consider developing standing, recurring features (e.g. “Fun Fridays”). And, don’t forget the freebies: holidays, national observances, events and cultural happenings all provide opportunities to make connections and spark conversations. Authenticity is key: don’t make brand connections that feel forced. This approach provides a powerful framework to guide your efforts, spark ideas for compelling messages and identify potential content gaps.

· Sell softly. Shake things up, it shouldn’t be all about you. Social expert Paul Chaney recommends the 70/20/10 rule. 70 percent of content should focus on your customers’ interest and needs, 20 percent should be other people’s content and 10 percent should be promotional.

· Think visually. Countless studies demonstrate that visually compelling posts win – they are more engaging than links and typically get more conversations and shares than other types of content. What’s the picture that conveys the story you want to tell?

· Give them a reason to follow or like you. Compelling content remains king and can be enhanced by providing exclusive content, products, events and offers. Don’t forget to ask for feedback and recognize your followers.

· Continuously measure. Track and record results within the calendar to determine what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Keeping these approaches in mind will make the social content and engagement planning process less daunting, more efficient and effective. What resolutions would you add to our list?

Peter Duckler

Peter Duckler