Social media campaigns can be likened to New Year’s resolutions: though fueled with good intentions, they will fail without effort being exerted to design an effective, structured plan, and then… commitment.

When you feel yourself starting to slide into distracted boredom with Tweeting, for example, you can return to your social media blueprint to get back on track. Your social media plan should include daily maintenance, milestone projects and recurring tasks.

Scheduling reminders (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally) will keep you moving forward, post by post, Tweet by Tweet. It is wiser to pace yourself for a more long-haul approach because establishing a healthy, stable social media presence can take as much as a year to set up.

Engaging with your audience using routines and expectations is not just common practice but an irrefutably successful social media strategy. Other ideas are to utilize already established routines such as Twitter Tuesdays and Facebook Fridays. You could also hold a weekly Q&A on Twitter which your customers will come to expect, excitedly anticipate — and share with their friends!

Remember to also schedule promotions and competitions every few months to keep followers keen and coming back! They’re also a brilliant way to get your brand/business in front of an ever wider audience.

In terms of deciding which social media platforms to base yourself from, it is critical that you analyse where conversations are already happening around your brand, and where you are already visible. Different audiences/clients frequent different watering holes, so do your homework before squandering social time on irrelevant platforms.

Content-creation is the meat of social media, and realizing your audience can spot the difference between conversation and a commercial is key. Give them something to chew on — something tasty; like trendsetting thought leadership and juicy industry news instead of reams and reams of sales numbers. Remember to also post consistently and frequently to keep your audience engaged.

Coordinate your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest activity

There are a number of online tools out there that can help you aggregate your social media channels, saving you time and from the frustrating repetition that working across a variety of social media platforms brings. Tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, for example, aggregate your Twitter and Facebook feeds into one place so you don’t need to constantly log in and out of your various accounts.

Tie-in to seasonal trends in advance

There are two forms of seasonal content: event-based (Mothers Day, Easter, Christmas, New Years) and time-based (Spring, Summer, Winter, weekly, monthly etc.) Getting stuck into some trend research will help you to spot what content you need to create and when you need to post it, designing your content in multiple, coordinated pulses.

Carefully examine the relevant keywords for each specific trend to see how you could create an exciting, innovative slant on each one. Keywords will help you to continually, creatively build engaging, valuable content. Staying abreast of local and international news is another brilliant strategy for discovering keywords and spotting trends.

So many social media campaigns fail for lack of secure, creative planning. Another factor is just how much time social media can sap from your workday in order for it to be a consistently dynamic campaign that can stand the test of time.

Many small companies and large corporates outsource their social media work to specialists and virtual assistants. Having one individual or a small core team to maintain control of how the social media strategy is implemented is incredibly important and the key to making your social media plan pertinent, profitable and sustainable.