If you’ve been following this blog over the last several years, you know that there is a lot you can accomplish with social media. You’ve also heard about multiple platforms, from Twitter to LinkedIn, and many ways to participate, from networking to live chats.
What can you do to improve your social media experience in the New Year? The first step is to take an inventory of what you are using and how you are using it. Then it is important to set goals for the future. Use the following checklist to both review your social use in 2019 and develop a plan for action in 2020.
Audit Past Participation
As you reflect on how and when you’ve used social media over the past year, what comes to mind? Which experiences were the most valuable to you in your career services context? Consider the following activities, and add others you’ve been involved with to the list:
- Sharing information: You can benefit as both the sender and receiver of resources that are exchanged regularly through social networks.
- Building and joining communities: If you’ve been active in the past year it’s likely that your accounts have more followers, and that you are following more accounts.
- Networking with peers: We all stand to benefit from connecting with others who do what we do, and who work with clients and students in our target populations.
- Participating in events: Social media makes it possible to learn from on-site conference and workshop sessions, even at a distance, by following the event hashtag (#) on social platforms.
Do you want to do more of these things or are there ideas here you have not yet tried? Start thinking about goals (more on that coming up)!
Conduct Profile Maintenance
Your social profiles may be overdue for some housekeeping. It’s not unusual to open a new account with good intentions, only to find it gets left behind when competing priorities overtake your calendar. Start your maintenance with the following steps:
- List all of the accounts for which you are currently registered.
- Categorize these according to use: 1) use often, 2) use rarely or never, but want use this year, and 3) use rarely or never, and probably won’t use in the future.
- Delete those accounts in category 3, and then update the rest.
For the social profiles you use often, or plan to make better use of in the coming year, block some time on your calendar to review and refresh the details of each one. Here are just a few of the items you should include on an annual (or more frequent) maintenance schedule:
- Update your profile picture. Have you ever met someone at a conference and realized that his/her picture must have been taken many years ago? Make yourself more recognizable by posting something current. 
- Revise your bio or headline. Is your current profile information still relevant? Have you completed a degree or earned a credential that should be included? These bios introduce you to the world, so ensure that all of the pertinent details are in place.
- Test links. If you profile includes links to a personal or professional website, online portfolio, or other resource, make sure that they are still working.
- Provide contact information. If you are open to having other users contact you based on your social profiles, include some alternatives (e.g., email, online contact form, phone) and make them available
Review and (Re)set Goals
Are you using your social accounts and networks the way you thought you would when you set them up? Maybe you’ve tried several strategies that aren’t getting the results you planned for. It could be time for a change. What do you want to get out of the experience this year? Your goals might include items such as :
- Establish a brand for your center or practice
- Publish updates on a regular basis (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly)
- Share new types of resources, such as images and video
- Engage in discussions through live events and/or online forums
- Promote special events
Create a Task List for 2020
Taking some time to think about what’s working and what’s not, and setting realistic and relevant goals, will help you make the most of your limited social media time. Plan to accomplish several specific tasks in the coming months. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Make a list of the items you routinely share, such as event calendars, marketing materials, pictures, and links, and schedule these items for the coming year, and add something new to the list.
- Create a roster of people you want to connect with in the New Year and begin making contact with each one through social accounts and communities.
Whether you are using social media as an individual professional or as part of a school career center or other career office, you can enhance your efforts with a little reflection, revision, and action.
 The Research and Science Behind Finding Your Best Profile Picture from BufferSocial – http://bit.ly/1ODrmVo
 Social Media Inventory Checklist: Are Your Social Marketing Efforts Outdated? From Business2Community.com – http://bit.ly/1Ps8OL2