I'm a bit of a forward-looker - all too easy to do at this time of year. With those resolutions prepared, and a fresh outlook on what's planned for the year to come, it's easy to forget the achievements of the past year, and just where you were at this point 12 months ago.

*Pause to reflect*


On a professional, and business-focused tip, there's great merit in capturing the successes of 2012, if only to set a benchmark against which your 2013 plans can be measured. Measuring your business achievements begins with knowing where you've been, and where you are. The good news is that data surrounds all aspects of our daily lives now, and it's never been easier to create a retrospective of your business milestones, be they financial based or related to social media.

On that note, and in line with our own initiative to get more small businesses to #stopplaying with social media in the coming year, the coming days will be a perfect time to take a look at a few metrics which will have shaped your social footprint, and foundations for future success (I'll forgive you for having the next 48 hours off)! Here are a few questions to ask of your online activities in the year passed:

How did your network grow?

This is as much a qualitative as a quantitative question. Who have you welcomed into your groups, lists, circles, over the past year. Who are your most vocal advocates, and how have you encouraged them to do the legwork of fuelling word-of-mouth about your brand? How do your followers differ, from one platform to the next, and how does your content reflect those differences?

Were you consistent?

How often did you produce and share content for your contacts? Did you do the all-too-tempting thing of throwing lots of effort into your blogs and profiles, only to then down tools for weeks on end? If your followers can't rely on consistency in content, what does that say for your delivery in business? Start 2013 by considering a realistic and sustainable content schedule, which plays to your capabilities and time demands.

Were you explicit?

Have you been explicit in telling your fans and followers what you want from them? Notwithstanding the sage advice not to use social media to directly sell, it's still good practice to tell those who receive your good word exactly what action you want them to take next - be it reading your latest blog, downloading your latest eBook, or requesting a free consultation. Consider the "social funnel" ... your customer journey towards doing business with you, after ticking all the boxes your prospects need, along the way.

2012 has definitely been a benchmark year for us, and 2013 is shaping up to be a blast. A very Happy New Year to all our F&F;'s, from all at Influence Agents, and thank you for all your support, as we enter 2013!