Do you know what today is? Of course, we all know it’s Monday, February 13th, and the day before Valentine’s Day, but what else? Today is the first day of Social Media Week, which is defined as “a week-long festival featuring independently curated (and mostly free) speakers, panels, workshops, events, and parties” that takes place in 12 of the world’s major cities. Even for those of us who do not live close to any of the 12 participating cities and cannot attend the events, we can still participate. How, you ask? In my opinion, the best way to participate is to reflect on how social media is performing as a part of your company’s marketing plan. This will allow you to see how you’ve used social media thus far, how it has helped you to achieve your goals, and you wish to use it in the future.

Here are some ideas for how you can reflect on social media:

1. Make a List of Components of Your Current Social Media Situation
Start by writing out how many followers you have, how many people you follow, how many likes you have, how many pages you like, how many re-tweets you have, how many shares you have, how many mentions you have, etc. This will help you to see how you measure up. Do you have as many followers, like, shares, etc. as you’d like to have? On a day to day basis, one can get wrapped up in the daily grind, and lose focus. This time of reflection is a good time to realize how social media is working for you.

2. Make a List of Social Media Successes
Let’s be honest, we all like to think about our successes. Be sure to make a note of your social media accomplishments. Did you get a re-tweet or mention from someone significant in your industry? Did you get a certain amount of followers or likes? Think carefully about what you’ve been doing, find your best practices, and stick to them.

3. Make a List of What You’d Like to do with Social Media
You’ve already looked at your situation and successes. Now it’s time to look at where you want to go with your social media. Do you want to gain followers, get more re-tweets and comments, and get more shares? Think about where you want your social media to go, and then think of ideas on how you can make it happen. For example, if your goal is to increase followers, you can start to add a Twitter icon and your Twitter handle to all of your printed marketing materials.

4. Write Several Measurable and Attainable Objectives
If I learned one thing as an Advertising/Marketing program graduate, it’s that all marketing and advertising plans must have measurable objectives. Since social media plans are part of marketing plans, they too need measurable objectives. Measurable objectives allow you to track your progress, and create accountability. When I say measurable, I mean you must use numbers or percentages to define what you would like to achieve by a certain date. An example of a measurable objective is: “To increase the number of Twitter followers by 200 by the December 2012.” Likewise, and example of an objective using a percentage would be, “To increase the number of Twitter followers by 20% by December 2012.”

I have already written several of my own reflections on how social media has been a large component of my career in marketing. I wrote about social media tips I learned at the 2011 PRSA Chesapeake Conference, and about how social media can assist with event marketing. Be sure to check out these posts for additional social media ideas!

Happy Social Media Week!

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