5 New Year’s resolutions for the social media professional – or at least for me

New Year's Resolutions
Credit: Mark Teasdale

I took some time to reflect on what I’d like to accomplish in social media in the coming year, and came up with this top-5 list of things I think I can do better. Have you mastered any of my resolutions? What are you hoping to improve upon this next year? Share your insights in the comments below!

1. Listen more

Pretty much every social media guide ever written will tell you that before you enter the conversation, you need to listen to it. This is all fine and great until you hit the ground running with your social media strategy – and suddenly you’re more concerned with getting your daily tweets out the door than you are with what your peers and mentors are doing themselves.

When you have a lot to do, it can feel counter-productive to take precious time out of your day just to catch up on the news and see what everyone else is talking about. But with the industry changing a mile a minute, it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest trends on a daily basis.

To accomplish this, I’ve created 4 Twitter lists – one with world news, one with social media news, one with CARE’s global development NGO peers and one with organizations CARE frequently interacts with. I keep Hootsuite open, streaming these lists, all day, so when I have a free minute or two I can glance over to make sure I don’t miss any major headlines.

You can follow my lists, which are dynamic – I add accounts to each almost every day. Tell me if I’ve missed anyone in the comments below!

2. Finally figure out Vine

According to Mashable, mastering the 6-second Vine will be as crucial as the 140-character tweet in the New Year.

And, with Vine promising profiles in the near future, and offering the opportunity to reserve a URL now, we can expect an explosion among brands in the new year.

The challenge for CARE is that we only work in developing countries, and we rarely have people in the field with the access, time or expertise to make a video (when you’re saving people’s lives, taking a 6-second video does not feel like a priority).

Really, this will be the same challenge for any NGO marketer who is not consistently interacting with work on the ground. Below is a great example of an innovative, non-field Vine from Dogs Trust. Other examples of how nonprofits are using Vine, both on the ground and not, in this post from Beth Kanter.

3. Use Instagram more

As my timing is less than impeccable, I rarely use Instagram in my personal life – I can never get the app open in time for a photo opp. And, for the same reasons as mentioned in #2, we rarely get Instagrams from the field.

However, as a global organization, we are getting photos from our programs often several times a week. With a tool like Gamblr, you can upload photos from your computer to your Instagram account. This will give you the intimate appeal of Instagram without the inconvenience of having to shoot all the photos yourself.

See how CARE used Instagram to promote our aid work in the Philippines and our year-end fundraising. 

4. Tap into the talent one cube over

One of the perks of being at a large organization is I work with dozens of talented people on a daily basis – and there are still dozens of talented co-workers I rarely interact with. In general, I’ve found people who work at nonprofits are smart, passionate and hard-working – the makings of a great social media strategy.

Even if you’re at a small nonprofit – I’d be willing to bet you have a network of people you consistently interact with who would do just about anything to get the word out about the work you’re organization is doing.

Adding these voices to your social media strategy will only make it stronger. My resolution is to make more time to get up from my desk, meet more people in my organization, tap into their content resources and offer them opportunities to share their stories on our social media accounts.

One way we’ve already started to collaborate has been with our “Ask the Expert” video series, where we solicit questions from our social media network. Then one of our field experts answers a handful, addressing each inquirer by their name and the network where they posted.

5. Play more

A day in the life of a social media professional moves fast, and we often spend much of our day moving from one task to the next, checking items off our very, very long to-do list. It is way too easy to get lost in the grind, to post the same content types on social media every day, stick to a stringent schedule and strategy, and never push the envelope.

I would argue that creativity is the number 1 most important aspect of this job. It’s important never to lose your natural curiosity, your propensity to say, “What would happen if…?”

Take some time out of every week, or even every day if possible (even if it’s off the clock) to play around. Figure out a new tool (I spent an hour shooting Vine’s of my husband teaching my dog to roll over last night), post an article with a little bit of controversy and ask your audience what they think, or just brainstorm new ways to present content.

For example, ONE Campaign released Resolution Roulette – a fun, viral campaign where you can generate your own goofy New Year’s resolutions – but it ties back nicely into their mission as an organization.


Post by ONE.

The bottom line is you’ll never grow in a critically dynamic industry if you don’t allow yourself some time to play, learn, and run with your creative self.

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