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Whether you’ve got the perfect campaign idea ready to go, or need ideas for putting your brand out there, social analytics can help. Here are five ways to use social insights to get campaigns in gear.

First, Some General Guidelines

Whatever specific tack you take, social listening and sentiment analysis have to be part of your process.

Social listening is how you learn what consumers are talking about – which is the inspiration you’re looking for. Sentiment analysis is how you separate the wheat from the chaff. Whatever your audience is most excited and most passionate about is what you want to use as a foundation.

Do your due diligence here. Finding a trendy topic is only step one. Research thoroughly to be sure you understand all the whys behind the what.

We’ve seen what happens when brands assume they know “enough” (Pepsi, we’re talking to you), and succeed only in being tone deaf.

With social listening and sentiment analysis as your barometers, you have several angles to explore for creating a campaign that stands out.

1. Reach Out to A New Audience Segment

One of social analytics’ best surprises is discovery of a new audience segment. These spring out of common interests that cross over between your brand and consumers’ lives. This type of revelation is what led Arby’s to their venison sandwich, aimed at a new-found hunting segment in their audience.

2. Put Your Audience to Work

There are a few ways to bring your followers into your campaign. The most obvious is to find the most influential members and offer them something in return for being your brand’s voice. But that isn’t the only way.

Creating a contest around fan submissions can also work wonders – especially if engagement is your goal. Asking for things like personal videos or fan art shows the rest of your audience how dedicated your following is, and how far they’re willing to go on your behalf. And it’s fun.

Comedian Mike Birbiglia brought attention to his Broadway show by asking for understudy audition videos, which was announced on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Having consumers compete against each other is also a great way to give a social campaign legs. For example, iHeartMedia uses this technique with their fan armies during events like the iHeartRadio Awards. And Lay’s has had success with their fans voting on what their next potato chip flavors should be.

3. Capitalize on Content Trends

If you’re quick – and clever – enough you can take advantage of content trends by putting your own spin on popular memes, videos, or images. Or being aware when others do it for you.

200K people clearly remember those Febreze commercials – Febreze, where are YOU in this thread?

Monitoring social in real-time is crucial to identifying this type of content – but it only works if the trend is something your audience is into. It’s okay to pass if they’re not. In fact, it’s better for your brand.

4. Solve a Problem

Consumers want to be heard, so if your social listening reveals some problem areas for your brand, consider letting that inform your next campaign, as Post Office, Ltd does. Or take things to the next level by committing to solve a problem in the world at large.

Verizon’s partnership with Hawaiian Electric is one example of this. Just remember to make sure you understand all aspects of the problem you’re attempting to solve. Failing to do so has put Gillette into a bit of hot water recently. Be sure you know what you’re getting into.

Competitor analysis is key here – not just to avoid making similar mistakes – but to see if there’s an opportunity to answer a consumer need not being met by competitors. Success in these situations is twice as nice.

5. Join Forces with Another Brand

Social is all about connections – so why not connect with another brand for your next campaign? Let social audiences lead you to the perfect pairing – like Sour Patch Kids and 7-Eleven’s Watermelon Sour Patch Slurpee, or Dunkin’ Donuts and Girl Scout cookies – then enjoy your new audience.

Monitor Your Results

Any of these approaches – or others – could go viral, or fizzle, depending on any number of factors. This is why social listening is crucial before you get started – to ensure you aren’t throwing out brand values or audience preferences in your quest to get social attention.

Similarly, social monitoring is critical as you continue. If anything starts to go off track, make the necessary adjustments to minimize the negative impact to your brand.

As always, measure and report on results, and then gear up for the next campaign!

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