by Jennifer Lumba   | January 19, 2015

Another year has come and gone, which means it's time to not only reflect but also look ahead

How did your social media strategy work in 2014? What needs to change in 2015? These are key questions for marketers and incentive managers. According to recent data from BI Intelligence, social media is the top online activity with the average American spending 37 minutes per day logging in. No other digital medium is as important when it comes to engaging with prospects, partners, and most of all, customers.

Consider these 10 tips as you take time to think about the best ways to reach them on social media:

1. Check your following. Do you know who follows you? Are they the same sort of people you'd want to meet in person? If not, your social media strategy may be attracting the wrong crowd. Use these early days of the New Year to reflect on how you might gain a more targeted following.

2. Check whom you follow. Similarly, are you connecting with the right people in your social media feeds? A quick scan of the feeds will tell you a lot. If the news and posts you're seeing aren't interesting or helpful, you may need to do some pruning. This goes as much for internal networks as it does external ones.

3. Check your priorities. If you're like most people, you have limited time to be immersed in social media. Take note of your priorities when it comes to your various networks. What do you want to learn about? Who do you need to check in with? Write down the answers and keep them visible as a reminder to stay on track.

4. Evaluate your schedule. Social media can be a drain if it isn't scheduled. So, make time. Develop a regular check-in time and keep the appointment as you would a meeting with your boss. Setting these sorts of limits on your social browsing will focus your efforts by forcing you to address priorities.

5. Review your results. What did you want to achieve online in 2014? How much of it did you actually accomplish? Take stock of what you did well and didn't do well, but don't beat yourself up. Instead, look at your strategy and adjust where you aren't getting traction.

6. Align your social media strategy with company goals. Also, don't operate in a vacuum. Find out what your company wants to achieve on social media. Can you help advance those goals? If so, what would have to change in your current strategy? What sacrifices might you have to make? Weigh the pros and cons carefully and use your best judgment.

7. Talk with your star performers. Every company has social media stars. Who are yours? Study what they do well and then ask questions about their strategy. What practical tips do they have for fine-tuning your own approach? Take what sounds reasonable and make adjustments as befits your audience and schedule.

8. Review your tools. Process is only half the equation. Tools are also important when it comes to developing a workable social media strategy. How are yours working? Do end up doing a lot of extra work to get through to a particular network or audience? The beginning of the year is a great time to take a closer look at options for upgrading.

9. Set a theme and goals. Treat social media like you would a blog. Develop a 2015 theme that will guide your posting. Set volume goals and performance goals and then create incentives for meeting or beating your intended targets. Extend this same courtesy to everyone on your team.

10. Recognize last year's best, and then seek to top it. Again, don't work in a vacuum. When setting goals, look to what you and your team have already achieved. Are you consistently topping yourself year-to-year? If so, it's time be even more ambitious - both with your goals and the recognition and rewards you'll claim for achieving them.

And whatever you do, be deliberate. Social media can feel like an art, but mastering it usually takes a bit of science.

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 [email protected]