Every December we take the time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, what we loved, what we hated, what we could have done better, and what we effing rocked!  The next step is to determine goals for the upcoming year.  In determining what these goals are it is imperative to success that you also define the tools and resources you need for execution.  I’ve put together a list of things that should be on every social media professional’s Christmas list.

Have you been naughty or nice?

Have you been naughty or nice?

  1. Analytics:  Take a look at the BI already in place at your company.  Can you utilize existing systems to your advantage?  Work with your SEO or online marketing team to determine tracking codes for your url’s and use them every time.  Track where you’re driving traffic and then what they are doing once they get there.  What kind of conversion rate do you have for the traffic you are sending? These analytics will help you identify where your successes are as well as what opportunities for improvement lay right under your nose.
  2. Data Visualization: So you have a fancy analytics tool set.  Now what?  Look into a data visualization suite to help you make sense and derive actionable meaning from the numbers you are tediously collecting.  Tools like Tableau Visualization Software.  Something like this offers deep levels of customization in an easy to use and understand dashboard.  This allows a robust understanding of your demo and target market as well as the ability to report on value delivered from your utilized channels.
  3. Good Headphones: No seriously.  Not kidding on this one.  The social world can be a ridiculous place at times.  Content flying at you all day.  Tweets pop up.  Google alerts landing in your inbox.  Working in social media can be hectic if you are not skilled at the art of focus and organization.  For me, a critical piece of this is having awesome headphones. Keeping the noise of the world out helps me stay focused on the task at hand.  Also – turn off the pings and dings from your tools when reading and writing.  That’s a bonus tip from me to you.  The constant distraction can hurt your work flow by bringing you in and out of attention on the task at hand.
  4. Dedicated Dev and Design Resources: In a perfect world you would have dedicated dev resources. Ensuring you have your graphics and visual elements in check and used consistently will help to improve your brand recognition.  Having a visually pleasing site can help to improve bounce rate and engagement as well.  In the real world, you probably have a team with 60,000 other things to do but we’re building a WISH list here people so don’t judge me! This is the team that can help you build out that viral content/widget/app.  This is the team that can help you turn your brainstorms into tangible awesomeness.
  5. Monitoring Tools: Knowing what is being said about your brand is CRITICAL.  Google Alerts are a good place to start.  But that is not enough.  Consider investing in tools such as Raven and/or Trackur for tracking and measuring brand and keyword mentions. This allows you to help track sentiment as well as respond to issues as they arise.
  6. Blog: For many of us this goes without saying.  You. Need. A. Blog. If you don’t have one, make this a priority.  There are innumerable benefits ranging from increasing authority, traffic, and inbound links to helping to build and engage a community, if done correctly, around your site.
  7. Twitter Tools: Running a contest and need to select a winner at random from Twitter?  Need to report up to management the growth in followers?  Well there’s an app for that.  No really.  Check out Pistachio’s latest project over at OneForty.com It is an app store for Twitter related tools.  Browse through the store by searching keywords or categories from analytics to networking tools.  I guarantee you will find at least one time saving resource in there.
  8. Time/Project Management: There are lots of tools and apps for managing projects and timelines. Find one, or develop your own.  Whatever route you take, this MUST be on your list.  It is easy to get fragmented in your efforts.  Having a solid organizational system helps to keep you and your projects on track.
  9. Brainstorming Time: It’s hard to be creative and inspire genius while crunching numbers and evaluating  analytics. Set time aside either daily or weekly for brainstorming time.  Maybe it’s a 15 min. coffee run in the afternoon.  Maybe it’s the yoga lunch class.  Whatever it is.  Put it on your calendar. Block that time off as busy.  Dedicate time to your brain and let it do what it does best.
  10. Professional Development: That’s a fancy term for books and coffee.  The consumption of knowledge and caffeine are directly related to success.  Directly.  Not every book will be revolutionary for you.  Not every latte will have the perfect foam.  But it is critical to keep consuming.  You can learn just as much from what sucks, as what does not, if you’re thinking critically and constantly evaluating.

Like most of us your resources are probably strained.  Unless you live a charmed life you probably aren’t going to get everything on your Christmas list. But in my Winter Wonderland we get to have our candy canes and eat them too.  Pick and choose from your list what will have the greatest impact on your success in the upcoming year and fight like Rudolph to make it happen!