You’ve made a New Year’s resolution. “I am going to get serious about social media in the New Year. Or you’re asking, “How do I up my social media game? A vague New Year’s resolution to get serious is going to fade a few weeks in. Upping your game requires a new approach.

Yet, both come down to one thing. The most important resolution to make is this. “I will get to know the people I want to connect with. Every other aspect of social media hangs upon this and “knowing yourself.

Know Who You Are.

If you don’t have a strong sense of your brand, you won’t know who your people need to be, or where you’ll find them. Duck Dynasty may have been controversial, however there’s no doubt the brand earned millions.

You don’t have to be controversial to be successful. What you do need is a clear concept of who your ideal customer is. If it’s the person who resonates with controversial, then don’t be afraid to go for it. Being unique in your space is vital. Coke and Pepsi may both be colas. Their branding is vastly different.

Discover Your Audience

“Audience discovery has a lot to do with self-discovery. It’s all about finding your way by putting yourself out there: taking risks, reaching out, making yourself known. It’s about asserting who you are and finding the people who respond to that, says Alex Manthei.[1] He recommends Mention’ to help you discover who’s interested in the topics you are.

Manthei also suggests you explore places where your community hangs out. Visit forums, Twitter chats, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook groups and Google+ communities. When one fits, you’ve found a place where you can develop relationships.

The Power of Connecting

iphone With Social Icons Popping OutWhen you know your audience, it makes doing’ social media something you look forward to. Who doesn’t like to hang out with friends?

Sure social media’s environment is virtual. However, it still runs on the same energy you find wherever people meet—the workplace, social gatherings, etc. It’s dependent upon common values and shared interests. You can try to please everyone—have success with that—or you can focus on relationships that work because you are yourself.

So many businesses flop at social media because they’re uncertain about their peeps. They’re trying to please everyone, so the information they post isn’t relevant.

Or they try to use the same strategies across multiple social media platforms. Different audiences find Facebook works for them, while others prefer Twitter or Pinterest or LinkedIn. Knowing your customer’ must inform the approach you use on each platform.

Find Relevant Content.

Kimberly Grimms of Smart Insights tells us, “It’s no secret that marketers monitor each other’s websites to find what’s hot with the audience. It’s simple logic then that if a particular topic became popular with the competitor’s audience, it will also become popular with yours, too.[2]

The hunt for relevancy doesn’t have to be difficult. Use tools such as Social Crawlytics or SEMRush. Social Crawlytics will analyze the reach of content across popular social networks. SEMRush will uncover the keywords driving traffic to your competitor’s site.[2]

With this information, you’re poised to create content that’s relevant for your audience.

One strategy that works very well is a mix of curation and commentary. Find content worth talking about. Use a mixture of quotes from the content and discussion to present ideas with your own unique twist. In this way, you add value to content your peeps may have seen already.

Give and You Will Receive.

Another benefit of getting to know people is the ability it gives you to choose the perfect gifts for them. Everyone loves a gift that’s obviously been hand-selected. Your kids might give you a tie or socks for your birthday, but your significant other? No, you hope this person who’s supposed to be closest to you will give you something meaningful.

Treat your social media followers with that same care. Get to know them so you know exactly what they’ll love as a giveaway from you. Do your research so you know your potential customer’s problems. Turn this knowledge into relevant “blog posts, podcasts, webinar, articles, reports, and infographics.[2]

As you focus on meeting the needs of your community, you’ll establish your authority. This generates the type of trust that compels people to share YOUR content.

So make it your social media New Year’s resolution, “I will get to know the people I want to connect with. Then you can say, “And I will start sharing content they will appreciate.

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