As we near the end of the year we find ourselves reflecting on social media marketing in 2014. Needless to say, social has evolved and consumers’ perceptions of it have changed as well. Social media has grown increasingly popular with consumers. But with increased awareness comes increased competition too. With technology and consumer interest rapidly evolving on a daily basis, how can you ensure your campaign and content stand above the rest?

Form a Strategic Social Media Team

Great marketing starts from the competent people on your team. Naturally, your social media team should be a collection of smart, talented, and varied individuals. It is helpful to include individuals with experience in customer service, sales, marketing, and public relations to keep your social media marketing grounded in reality. After all, these employees will act as the frontline for your brand and business.

Listen on Social Networks

One of the most important aspects of an effective social media marketing campaign is listening to your customers. Consequentially, it’s also one of the best uses of social media for your business. On social media you can connect directly with your customers, hear what they have to say about you, listen to what their wants and needs are and discover how they use these networks. Furthermore, software platforms like HootSuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social can help you monitor this activity as well as measure your success.

Regularly Develop Original, Quality Content

Quality content matters for SEO purposes. Beyond that, your original content will breed fresh interest in your business. To help supply your social networks with original content, consider starting a company blog or creating images to supplement your written content. Both of these options will effectively drive leads and increase engagement on social media.

Simple is Big

Attention spans are short nowadays. Make sure you engage quickly and efficiently and interact with your followers on a regular basis. Your content should also be clear and concise, but creative at the same time. Just be sure to always ask yourself “can this be expressed in simpler terms?”.

Engage in Social Customer Service

It is becoming more common for customers to communicate with brands through social channels. Businesses should take a cue from that behavior and follow suit. That means you should respond to customer comments and questions in a timely manner. We’re talking within a matter of hours at the least but within an hour for maximum impact. This behavior develops brand loyalty and an engaged fan base.

Promote Social Channels

Your social media marketing won’t work in a vacuum. So, let people know your company has social media accounts by promoting them through your various other marketing channels. Include a link to your social channels on your website as well as any advertising materials. To grow an organic audience focus your promotion on a couple of social channels initially and slowly expand after the initial channels find success.

Monitor and Measure your Progress

You need to measure your social media ROI to ensure your marketing efforts are paying off. A weekly analytics check for your social networks will help you to determine what’s working, what isn’t, and where you can expand and grow with your audience.