As 2017 comes to a close, consumers are making lists of resolutions to tackle as the New Year begins. Brands should do this as well – and here are 8 suggested resolutions if you’re coming up empty.

1. Take stock and make plans

You can’t know where you’re going without taking a look at where you’ve been. If you haven’t performed a social media audit lately, the start of a new year (and quarter) is a great time to do so. Once you assess how last year’s tactics succeeded or failed you can set new goals for 2018. Another area to touch on: how your brand values align with your marketing and other strategies. And if you haven’t nailed down what your brand stands for, now’s the time.

2. Follow trends in real-time

Now that we’ve established the importance of occasionally looking back, remember most insights are needed in real-time. Any delay in information is an opportunity for competitors to beat you to the punch, so don’t give them an opening. Be sure your social monitoring tools deliver data as it’s happening. That way you can act quickly when a perfect moment presents – or when there’s trouble on the horizon.

3. Find and share the love

If you’re still focused on counting likes and mentions, it’s beyond time to stop. A true measurement of brand popularity requires analyzing sentiment – i.e., how consumers feel about your brand, your category, and everything else. For this you need smart tools that speak all human languages. This means English, Spanish, French, etc, but also includes slang, pop culture references, sarcasm, and emojis. Anything less won’t deliver the accuracy your brand counts on for reliable decision-making.

And when you engage with consumers, you need to understand their emotions as well. Talking to them about topics they love (or hate) builds trust, while providing you with context and direction. Sentiment analysis keeps you from wasting money making a new product they don’t want or need. It also allows for the opportunity to wow them with an improved version of a competitor’s product. And much more.

4. Perfect social customer care

Customer care on social is still a ground-floor opportunity – because so many brands still get it wrong. What do your customers want when they have a problem? Use your social listening tools to find out – and then deliver! A lot of it comes down to timeliness – so be sure you have alerts set to keep you informed of problems when they’re first posted. Beyond that, having a team empowered to handle consumer complaints is vital. So is competitor analysis – so you know where you stand in your category. Obviously, you want to be at the top. Prioritize social customer service, and you’ll be that much closer.

5. Incorporate image recognition

Social media analytics have grown more complex year by year – bringing Natural Language Processing (NLP), sentiment, and emojis into the mix. Now image recognition is taking things to yet another level – and it’s not optional. Brand health depends on understanding all that’s happening in the social realm, and sometimes text isn’t part of the equation. Be sure your tools can spot your logo wherever it’s used, so you can respond accordingly.

6. Share social insights beyond Marketing

Social insights are not just for marketers anymore – so don’t be afraid to share the data you find. If your brand isn’t already using social data to drive all brand initiatives, show them this, and encourage a new line of thinking. Everything from product innovation, to sales, to customer care, to tracking marketing campaigns benefits from social data – so don’t limit your insights!

7. Track emerging tech like AR, VR and AI

Part of real-time social listening is following broader trends to see where the overall consumer landscape is headed – and how it might impact your brand. Do you need to be at the forefront of Augmented Reality development, or should you track competitors and learn from their mistakes? Your audience will tell you if you simply listen. Be sure you do so you’re not late to the party – or wasting effort on something no one is ready for.

8. Be flexible

The next year is bound to be full of twists and turns – as all years are. Remember that social insights are not a stationary guide. Don’t become attached to any one idea or goal – because things can change quickly. Set your roadmap, then let social data be your compass, leading you through the landscape as it evolves. And enjoy the ride!

Have you seen how our social analytics tools work with all areas of brand operations? Reach out and we’ll show you!

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