Marketer’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2013
As 2013 closes in, many of us will inevitably muster up a batch of resolutions in order to look at the New Year through a more focused lens. Like each year, we approach them with the thought that “this time” we are a little wiser and maybe know more than we knew last year (some maybe less, ha!). The problem with resolutions is they rarely get accomplished. We set our goals, get excited and then forget about them as soon as Superbowl spots run in February (ahem… there’s a reason why gym memberships skyrocket after the holidays only to yield empty treadmills come Valentines Day…). Why don’t these resolutions work? Accountability. When there’s a party of one to ensure you do what you say you want to do, there’s little chance you’ll be a tough boss.
So this year, let’s do something different. Let’s be accountable, together. I’m asking you to dig deeper here and work at doing something different. Let’s start with defining a personal “theme” for the year, so that the goals we set can be driven by the theme in a more focused fashion. Seems more doable, yes? For 2013, I am calling my theme the “Year of Authenticity”. What will the theme for your year be? Don’t go for the obvious answer. We are creatures of habit, so I challenge you to step outside of your “crazy eight” and take a risk on some new thinking.
I believe that when you have a big shift ahead of you, it simply takes 1-degree shifts along the way to make a massive difference. So let’s look at seven small shifts you can make in your personal and professional life that will help you really achieve your goals in the upcoming year:
1) Give to give. A lot of people (and marketing plans) operate on the premise of giving to get something out of it. That’s OK when there is the expectation of fair exchange of value, like say, asking for a few fields of information from a prospective downloader of a 25 page e-book that took you a long time to develop and you are giving it away for free. Maybe you can’t do this with everything, but I dare you to try asking for nothing in return – even using the same piece of content. There is a lot you can do it with outside of a free download – leverage it in your blog, pull tips to Tweet, create infographics and reference it in customer suggestions, communities, groups and conversations. When you can focus on social education alongside your lead gen efforts, the return is usually higher than anything else you could ever ‘not’ ask for.
2) Build rapport. Too often, people’s engagement with someone ends with the exchange of business cards or a “Thanks for the follow” well before any real dynamic has been created. Rapport is defined as finding one or more thing in common with someone, and what holds most people back from building rapport is the patience and desire to truly connect. If you are looking to influence, look to building and maintaining your social relationships. They go a lot farther in mind, spirit and business than any amount of Twitter followers.
3) Be an engager. Spending time looking and reading but not giving feedback is ok (and is the majority of the social web, btw). But if you want your year to be more gratifying, try delivering some engagement on someone else’s wall – leave a note, write a well thought-out blog response, or send a private message of gratitude. It’s so easy to be a listener, lurker or voyeur. I challenge you to not leave the party without saying ‘goodbye’ and thank them for having you. It’ll go miles.
4) Show, don’t tell. Social media is a very public and crowded place. The Internet is full of white papers, statistics, research, and over 500 million blogs, and content grows exponentially each second. Don’t get me wrong. I love stats and can’t get enough of them. But pay attention to your digital body language and get out there – setup that new blog, or deliver an authentic marketing program that shows you understand how people (not just your customers) use the web to consume. Whatever you do, walk the walk – people are watching.
5) Try something insanely new. Being in this business a long time now, I’ve heard marketers time and again utter the career-suicidal words, “We’ve tried it all.” There will always be someone out-innovating, out-performing and thinking up out-landish ways to get the attention of their audience (and when you meet them, make friends with them – trust me, it’s in your best interest). Sure, there are programs that work, best practices and proven methodologies. But just think how much more fulfilling, not to mention fun, your job would be if you just tried one thing that is new and different to you. If you have never blogged, ask to guest post. If (God forbid) you’re not on Twitter, join and tweet. There are so many things you could do, but the important part is that you actually DO IT, in order to move the needle.
6) Tidy up. If you’re like me, when you first started your Twitter account it was an extravaganza of follows, with little regard to the quality of people in your feed. I learned the hard way and spent countless hours going back to tidy up my followers so my experience, and the experience of those who follow me, was a high quality conversation. Maybe it’s time to setup your Twitter lists so you can follow all those great engagers out there and easily filter by what you care about the most. Maybe it’s time to revisit all your social profiles and update them for a better consistent and seamless presentation. On Facebook and LinkedIn? Subscribe and connect to only those you want to know or care about most. Just like housekeeping, keeping things tidy is much easier when things are put where they belong in the first place.
7) Be authentic. I can’t end without touching upon the most important goal for me, and I hope for you. In social, as in life, there’s no bigger turn-off than to watch a poser go on a rant without meaning, attract fake followers or read bogus reviews or feedback. For those of you out there – Stop it. We know you’re not real, you’re annoying and just taking up space. It’s simple – be you. Be the best you across the entire social network, so your unique point of view – the real you, in your posts, responses, and comments – is easy to identify with, engage with and fall in “Like” with. Don’t ever be afraid to be you online. Your followers will engage more, share more and you may even inspire them to do the same.
Key Takeaway: Let’s resolve to make 2013 a year where social empowers us to be accountable and authentic, yielding lifelong friends who appreciate conversation and an organized network. I promise – I’ll hold you to it.
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