Resolutions? Resolve to Try Something New

Happy New Year!

It is that time of year; New Year. A time when you are full of whatever you overindulged in at Christmas and the impetus to do something new.

I’ve not made traditional New Year’s resolutions for many years. Instead of resolving to try and be something I’m not I’ve tried to make resolutions that can help me out in getting things done. One year in my early twenties I made a resolution to ‘be a grown up’ by which I meant that I needed to just get on with things that weren’t very exciting but needed to be done. Need new bedsheets? Be a grown up and buy them! Why don’t I get my haircut regularly? Be a grown up and do it! I still use this as a way to get myself to just sort out daily tasks I’m putting off, just be a grown up and do it!

Another angle to the idea of New Year’s resolutions is to use them to encourage yourself to try something new. I’ve tried to reflect on what I’ve done over the year that I’ve just had and think about how trying new things could help me continue to grow next year. What has inspired me? What has worked to really change how I do things during the year? How can I do new things the next year to keep growing, learning and moving forward?

So this New Year I would urge you to do just that. Resolve to try new things in 2016. And with that in mind I came up with a list of new things to try to take your work and social to new heights this year.

Automate your way to more time each day

If you are just starting out on social then it can seem like it takes forever to get everything done. You are looking for content, writing and posting updates, engaging with your audience, crafting killer new content; there’s a lot to do. Even once you are up and running it can start to feel like you have a lot of repeat tasks on your hands.

As you begin to get into a routine with anything have a look around and see if there are ways you can automate any of these tasks. I use a range of apps and software to help me with my own social as well as that of my clients. If you are always saving articles to read later, try Pocket and install their Chrome extension to save pages and articles as your browse. This means you can save articles as you go and then read through them in bulk to decide what to share. Get all your social scheduled in one go using something like buffer. This is a great way to save time, I put aside time each week to go through all the feeds and lists that I’ve created to schedule content for the week ahead. You’ll often want to add other content and updates alongside this but scheduling gets you off to a great start.

Find killer content that is sent straight to your buffer queue for sharing using Quuu. This is the only service I’ve found that I would allow to tweet for me without reviewing first. Their content is great and the updates they write for you are as close to what you would write yourself as I’ve found.

If you are doing the same thing over and over the chances are that someone else, with more coding experience than you, has also done the same thing enough times to build an app or script to do it for them. A quick search on Product Hunt could find you just the help you need.

It can be daunting to think about each of these repeat processes as something that can be automated or refined to save more and more time. Have a look at IFTTT and browse their recipes. IFTTT stands for ‘if this then that’ and their ‘recipes’ are little shortcuts that can save a lot of time. For example you can set up a recipe that saves the link in any tweet you like to your Pocket account. The best way to find these is browse their recipe collections and search for those available for apps you use all the time. It is a great source of time-saving inspiration.

Make Every Minute Count with Single Tasking

I’ve already written about my own experience with the Pomodoro technique. If you haven’t already tried it then make it top of your list to try as something new this year. The basic idea is that you focus on a single task for 25 minutes — a Pomodoro — and then stack up these intense bursts to get through work with more efficiently.

It has completely changed the way that I work and sharpened my focus to make sure that when I am working I’m productive and efficient. I’ve also used the technique to make time for my own writing, redone my website, found time to sort out my own social, tried new social channels and read more for work than I ever have before.

I think the key elements that work here are the single-task focus matched with regular short breaks to keep you at the peak of productivity. Single tasking has also given me a much better way of sorting out what is and isn’t important. Where I might have been distracted by my email or a detour down the rabbit hole of whatever is trending on Twitter, I’m now focused on the task in hand. There are a range of apps available that will shut out notifications to let you focus better on what you are doing. For me, I just set the timer and tell myself I won’t check anything else until it goes off, no matter what noise it is making to grab my attention!

Go Multimedia

It is easy to think of producing content as being the process and discipline of writing a blog. After all it is the quickest and easiest way to get started with sharing your content. They are easy to publish and give you quality owned content that you can push out across your social channels.

For 2016 why not try video or podcasts? With the rise of Periscope, Snapchat and Blab consumers are used to and have come to expect the opportunity of being able to see behind the scenes at almost any business. They aren’t looking for polished content, they are looking to see what is behind the brand that you’ve built. Whether you have a personal blog or a SaaS business trying something new like this can really boost your engagement.

It can seem daunting to take on something like this but the best advice is to have a plan and keep it simple. These days you don’t need specialist equipment to record a podcast or video, you can always use your iPhone or laptop. You can commission someone to make a basic jingle for you using a freelancer site or edit it using your MacBook. The Wistia library has some great articles with tips for recording video and audio for use on the web including this video for how to record great videos on your iPhone.

A podcast can start as a short series — maybe 6 episodes — with a focus on a small part of your business. It could link to key messaging from a new campaign. You could ask close contacts and clients to appear as guests to interview and give insight into how what they do links to your business goals. It doesn’t need to be too long, around 20 minutes is enough time to cover a topic in depth, makes for a quick download and can be listened to on a short commute.

Try a New Social Channel

2015 for me was the year that I tried new channels, notably Snapchat. I had tried to get to grips with it before but just ended up feeling my great age rather than learning something new. I shouldn’t admit this as I work in social media but I could barely register myself on the app, let alone post something or interact with anyone! I was taken in by the idea that many people who don’t use it have; it’s for teenagers/university students/young people and/or for sending photos and videos that you shouldn’t really be sending in the first place.

This year, with the support and help of the Buffer slack community, I had another go and this time I’m off go a flying start. Now I totally get it and no, not because I’m using it to send messages I shouldn’t! Here again the influence of Periscope, Blab, Meerkat and other live streaming apps can be felt. Although Snapchat isn’t a live format it gives you quick and raw insight into what others are doing at any given time.

I’m not suggesting that Snapchat is the channel you need to try but, in 2016, be open to what new channels can offer you and give them a try. If you hear about someone using something new it’s a great way to explore it with them or chat to them about how they think this channel is giving them something new. A lot of my clients talk about how they started out using Instagram personally before they set up an account for their business. You don’t need to be on every channel but it is great to know how they could be useful to your as your business grows.

So, over to you. What do you want to try? Where do you see your business going in 2016? Whatever you want to achieve why not start by trying something new? Let me know how it works out for you, maybe via Snapchat?

If you liked this article then please click to recommend or share it. It first appeared on my blog which you can find here. I create content and work on social media management and strategy. You can follow me on Medium or Twitter. Thank you for reading.