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2011 is here, and for social media, it looks to be a good year.
After all, 2010 was a banner year. Spurred by the growing popularity of popular social media hubs like Facebook and Twitter, many marketers upped their investments in social media last year. And this year, a good number are expected to up their investments again.
But as social media matures, marketers looking to succeed will need to do more than simply increase their monetary investment. They'll need to be smarter with their investments.
Here are five New Year's resolutions marketers involved with social media might consider making and sticking to.
Ditch a community (or two)
If your social media presence is more than a year or two old, chances are you've seen traction with some online communities, and a lack of traction with others. 2011 is the year to focus in on the communities that are growing and making a meaningful impact, and to stop making investments in the ones that aren't.
For instance, if you have 50,000 fans and a lot of activity on Facebook, but have struggled to build up an engaged following on Twitter, it's time to reconsider your investment in Twitter.
Answer the ROI question
For years, many marketers have told themselves that social media is so new that questions about ROI were premature. But the answer to "How much is social media contributing to the top line and bottom line?" can't be "We don't know" forever. This year, make a real effort to find the answer.
Social media, like most channels, works best when it's integrated with marketing activities in other channels. If you're still treating social media like a silo, 2011 is the year to change that.
Just having a presence on popular social media hubs such as Facebook and Twitter won't cut it anymore. To stand out, marketers will need to do more. That means thinking creatively about how you can take advantage of social media and the social media assets you've invested in.
Ask what your audience can do for you
For many marketers, social media has served as little more than a channel for 'rewarding' customers and potential customers.
Social media has become a major distribution channel for coupons and discounts, for instance. There is a place for those things, of course, but this year, make sure social media isn't simply CouponVille. Instead, think about the ways you can get your audience to do the things you want it to do for you -- without cutting prices.