With the new year right around the corner, there's no doubt you are in the process of planning your marketing strategy for 2013.
While much of it may be similar to last year's strategy, I strongly encourage you to revisit your social media game plan. A lot has changed over the last 12 months, and without a refresher you may not be in the best position to succeed.
If you need some guidance, I have you covered. I asked 12 of the top thought leaders in social media to provide you with the support you need to develop a social media strategy that will help make 2013 a breakout year for you and your organization.
Before you lock in your plans for 2013, reflect on the tips below and incorporate them into your game plan:
1. "My #1 tip: Read. A lot. Spend the majority of your time reading. Everything. Books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, everything. Read content out of your sphere of interest and read content that drills down into areas you are very passionate about. Reading inspires creativity and helps me create content." — Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image
2. "Think of social inside the job of every functional leader. Explore ways to involve the audience into the contact points you make with prospects and customers. By doing so you are on a path for the future where 'social' will just be the way everyone does their job." — Sam Decker, CEO of Mass Relevance
3. "Get to know your customers and make it all and always about them. Whether you use social media to deliver service, enlist help, or share something spectacular, make what you share about how it benefits the people you want to move to action." — Liz Strauss, founder of Inside Out Thinking
4. "My tip for social media marketers, and for marketers in general, is simply this: focus on serving your customers and prospects. When you do that you're relevant. And add value. Everything else flows from that." — Shelly Kramer, CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing
5. "Integrate. We've got to stop looking at social media in a silo. Leverage your other communications channels to drive your customers to more deep connection points (social media) and leverage your social communications to support the other channels (point to deals, advertisements, promotions, etc.). A healthy mix of the two—engagement and calls-to-action—and integrating social as the close-to-the-bone connection point will help us be more integrated in our approach to social." — Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer
6. "My number one tip would be to begin focusing on developments with big data and analytics. We need to begin to turn our attention toward distilling wisdom and marketing insight from the vast amounts of information coming at us from our social media activities. Those who master this and can react quickly will create competitive advantage." — Mark Schaefer, author of "Return On Influence"
7. "Define your goals (or your client's) for social media and make sure that you are measuring your results to ensure that you are meeting those goals. When set up properly, Google Analytics can track goal completions (such as purchases, mailing list sign ups, etc.) and associate them to their referral traffic sources, including social media networks. There are also lots of tools to track follower/fan growth, engagement, and much more on the top networks. Do some research, find the right tools, and ensure that you're spending your time and money wisely." — Kristi Hines, blogger at Social Media Examiner
8. "#1 - Get better at email marketing. I know that may sound funny for a social media tip, but integrating content, email, social, SEO and PPC is my number one tip for getting more from social media in 2013." — John Jantsch, author of "Duct Tape Marketing"
9. "My number one tip for social media marketers is to pay attention to blogging, and make it your primary focus. Content marketing is not only the new buzzword, it's the new focus of everything. People are consuming content at a crazy rate, and content curation seems to be all the rage, with everyone pinning, reblogging, and Tumbling.
"But who's creating all that content? When you look at the entire scope of Internet users, there aren't that many people who are creating consistent, high-quality, well-written, interesting content. There are people who slap things together once in a while, and there are people who write good stuff, but only rarely.
"The social media marketer who focuses on creating a lot of intelligent content that people can easily consume on mobile phones and tablets are going to ultimately win the social media marketing game." — Erik Deckers, co-author of "No Bullsh*t Social Media"
10. "Nobody cares about your products and services. They care about themselves and solving problems. Your online content needs to be less egotistical and more helpful." — David Meerman Scott, author of "The New Rules of Marketing & PR"
11. "The #1 tip? Stop thinking about social media marketing. Marketing is an integrated, holistic set of solutions, of which social media is one important ingredient. Work closely with all of the other branches of marketing to maximize synergy and success." — Christopher S. Penn, co-founder of PodCamp
12. "Follow how the media is using social media. No one has innovated and iterated more than the press and it has helped their core business immensely. They have a wealth of knowledge we can benefit from." — Steve Rubel, EVP/global strategy and insights at Edelman
Based on your industry, customers, resources and business goals, there are a plethora of ways to craft and execute your social media strategy for 2013. As with any strategy, success comes down to planning, executing, reviewing and iterating. Get started by harnessing the tips above.
William Griggs is a marketing manager at Mass Relevance, the leader in social media curation and integration . You can learn more about Mass Relevance at MassRelevance.com, or follow them on Twitter @massrelevance. A version of this article originally appeared on Mass Relevance's blog.