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by Jennifer Lumba | January 12, 2016
The New Year brings resolutions that we tend to keep for a few days -- or perhaps even a few weeks -- and then drop. Why? Resolutions come off as unrealistic and unattainable. This year, rather than resolving to do the impossible, accept a challenge you can overcome. Any of these ten could help improve your social media marketing in small ways.

1. Engage in a conversation involving your company. Customers of all sized businesses will occasionally take their rants and raves to social media. In 2016, jump into one of the conversations. Identify who you are and ask how you can be of service. Provide as much follow-up contact information as you're comfortable with sharing. Your efforts may win a customer for life.

2. Repurpose a blog post for other networks.
 For socially-dependent networks such as LinkedIn and Medium, original and repurposed content is a welcome addition. Use this to your advantage in 2016 in order to drive new traffic to your company blog.

3. Offer a kind word to a competitor.
 Kind words cost nothing, but on the Internet and social media they can be rare. In 2016, buck the trend by publicly posting something nice about one of your fiercest competitors. You don't have to endorse products or strategy; sharing an interesting blog post about a value you share is more than enough.

4. Reach out to influencers you've never met.
 Like all industries, yours is defined by some subset of influencers who hold uncommon sway on social media. Introduce yourself. Pose some questions that you'll hashtag so others can find the thread and join in if interested. In raising the level of dialogue about your industry you may find yourself joining the ranks of the influencers you're trying to reach.

5. Set up custom searches.
 Social media is awash with information. Finding the wheat among the chaff is easier when you have custom searchers that routinely scour the major networks for the keywords that matter to you and your company. In 2016, set up at least one and refine it until you consistently get the content you need.

6. Host a live Q&A.
 Your customers are on social media. In 2016, engage with them by scheduling a live Q&A wherein you'll commit to addressing the issues that matter to your industry. Don't make this ad-hoc; schedule ahead and advertise the meetup in multiple places so that customers and competitors will notice if you back out.

7. Start or join a new community.
 Your customers aren't just on the social web. They are exploring certain areas and engaging with like-minded friends in communities. Join or create one that's relevant to your industry and your business and participate organically for a month. Don't over-promote; take questions and offer advice. Win influence by serving and then measure the business impact of your engagement efforts.

8. Set up a posting schedule.
 Predictability breeds influence. In 2016, develop a schedule for posting to the social web and then stick to it all year long if you can. If you can't, refine to the lowest frequency you can manage and then stick to that schedule.

9. Offer daily gratitude.
 Your network is like your customer base; the more you engage, the more engagement you'll get. In 2016, make it a point to comment on posts you find inspiring or worth sharing.

10. Accept all new connections.
 Sound crazy? It may be. For at least one quarter, accept every new connection -- even from those you don't know -- and find one reason to engage with them. When the experiment is done, go back to your normal filtering and disconnect with spammers and those who aren't adding value to you or your network.

Unlike resolutions, challenges are well-defined and have an expiration date. Meet enough of them and you may end up building a good habit that actually lasts.

Jennifer Lumba is the chief marketing officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions. Built on state-of-the-art technology, Rideau's employee recognition and customer loyalty programs change the way companies recognize employee service and achievement, reward individual and team performance, strengthen customer relationships, and create brand loyalty. Lumba can be reached at jenniferlumba@rideau.com.