Like many organizations, you may have set up a FaceBook or Twitter account and you may have even created a blog. However, if you’re not using social media management services, you may be asking: “Now what?”

I hear time and again that professionals are using many of these tools for personal use but not to build their business. By spending a little time on your social media now, you really can position your company as a market leader and generate sales. If your team has recently experienced unfortunate layoffs and/or if your employees are already too stretched to take on more responsibilities, rely on social media management services. Social media specialists allow you to focus on your core competencies while still measuring the success of your investment in social media. (For instance, Tell Your Tale helps several companies with social media management services.)

December is a great month to develop a plan for your social media efforts in the next year. Think of the topics that customers may be searching online that would likely lead to sales. Then, plan out sub-topics related to those sales-oriented subjects.  Next, schedule when you will write a blog post and/or promote the subjects on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Admittedly, this critical step is where professionals often feel overwhelmed.

If you want to try social media in-house first, here are 3 tips to develop a social media marketing plan and tackle social media:

1. Divide topics into the next 6 months. For Tell Your Tale, in January, we plan to write more about helping customers develop tradeshow materials and create a strategy for maximizing their presence at conferences throughout the year. Since a lot of tradeshows and conferences happen in the spring and again in October, putting together a plan at the beginning of each year helps plan ahead. It also gives companies the needed time to develop any needed materials and order equipment. Which of your products/services are seasonal? Which topics should be covered with prospects at the beginning of the year versus the middle of the year?

In June, the Tell Your Tale team will re-group to determine the topics that our social media should focus on for the latter 6 months of the year. This helps us to adjust midway through the year to take into account any innovations or new releases (like Google releasing a change to its search engine algorithm.) Of course, be flexible and change topics along the way if needed.

2. Assign various writers to cover your social media management. Now I mention “writers” specifically here because good writing reflects well on your business. Most professionals know their industry in depth but when it comes to engaging writing, they miss the point. I also suggest a rotation of  responsibilities among writers. Perhaps one person focuses on FaceBook, Twitter & LinkedIn this month, while another handles blog updates. Next month, the responsibilities switch. This helps to level out the responsibilities while also getting more than one person skilled at different types of social media.

3. Stick to a schedule. Commitment matters. In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), it’s a popularity contest. The more prospective customers see your name and product, the more likely your business is to become the most popular, the higher ranked and the one receiving more inquiries. Try to post a blog post 2-3 times per week. 350-700 words is all it takes. FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be more frequently but also are less time-consuming due to their character constraints. Again, stick to the schedule.

So if your office experiences a bit of a lull during the holidays, take advantage of this time to develop your social media marketing plan or contact a firm that specializes in social media management. This time next year, you’ll be glad that your discipline paid off.