In the interest of year-end list-making, let’s talk social for a second. It’s not going anywhere. Whether or not you’re avidly updating and tweeting in your off-time, social media is an established tool in the marketing and communications field. So how is your company using it? Consider these options and best practices as you embrace social media in 2014.

Pick your Media

There isn’t a rule that says you have to have a presence on every social media platform that exists. Consider the pros and cons of each, the type of content you’ll be posting, the level of interaction you expect from your audience and plan accordingly.

social media in 2014

Keep it Interesting

People follow because they’re interested in your brand. Maybe they’re devoted followers, maybe they’re new. Maybe they signed up because they were hoping to win a contest. Keep their interest by continuing to provide information and access that makes it worth their while. Giving insight into the new happenings, special deals or sneak previews of new products gives your followers the satisfaction of knowing something before everyone else and rewards them for being fans.

Make it Pretty

If you’re sharing photos and video on Instagram or Vine, make sure that it’s worth sharing. A blurry shot or a haphazardly edited video will quickly result in an unfollow at best, a total write-off of your company at worst. Your content shares a feed that’s filled with creative shots. Make yours stand out.

social media in 2014

Create a Dialogue

Social media in 2014 will be about providing a direct connection with your followers. How this looks is up to you, but the most successful accounts are the ones that inspire engagement. Ask questions, use polls, post images that inspire a reaction and get ready to follow up. Responding to the comments of your followers lets them know that they’re heard.

Take the Good with the Bad

It happened. A disappointed customer went to your page with a negative comment. While it’s not ideal, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Address the comment quickly either on the feed or in a private message. Let the commenter know that they’ve been heard. Provide an explanation or a solution. What started as a negative situation can quickly be turned into a positive customer experience.

Set the Rules

Before setting out on your social campaign, make sure you have some guidelines for your brand voice, topics that are on-brand, and what to do in the face of a snafu. Check for spelling and grammar errors. Discuss the style and voice of your comments. While it’s great to have multiple people contributing, the style should be seamless.