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One essential use of social listening software is to spot emerging industry and consumer trends so your brand is always up to date. But being current with how you apply the software itself is just as paramount.

Our new ebook 5 Hottest Trends in Social Analytics outlines the newest ways to get the most from your social monitoring tools, and why you need to. Here’s a taste:

Get a more precise and complete big picture

Social insights are meant to drive actions, but making decisions is difficult if those insights are incomplete or inaccurate. Every channel must be included in social data, or it’s not worth much – but this hasn’t become a marketing standard yet. Keeping owned, earned, partnered and paid media siloed makes assessing the impact of each on your brand very challenging. Converged media is the new way forward.

Speaking of complete pictures, if your software isn’t analyzing Facebook Topic Data, it’s like “analyzing soft drinks and leaving out Coca-Cola” according to digital consultant Jason Falls. And that’s a pretty big miss.

Here’s why else Facebook Topic Data is worth analyzing:

  • Over 1.6 billion active members on Facebook make it the most used social network in America (and many other countries)
  • Demographic information of users is self-declared, i.e., it’s how they see themselves, versus how brands might mistakenly categorize them
  • 70 percent of customers complain on Facebook while just 17 percent complain on Twitter

That last point is super important – because attending to consumer social complaints is not only key to customer retention, it can prevent reputational threats of ignored complaints going viral. Final answer: You need access to the network where the largest number of complaints is happening.

Expand your reach via new approaches to analyzing data

You also need to look at data differently. What used to be about likes, retweets and keywords is now about more specific details – but where those details are found has changed. Text and hashtags still matter, but there are other considerations to embrace – like emojis and images. To recognize your logo in an image shared on social media, you need visual listening capabilities.

But that’s not the only way to take your insights deeper. Looking at your audience as customized, individual segments – instead of one whole – gives you much better options for connecting. This is especially true when you look beyond posts that include your brand name, to get to the humans at the core of social data.

The best part of all, however, may be the way you can apply these more precise insights across your business. Marketing needn’t be the sole application of social data.

Consumer social intelligence can be applied to assessing the viability of all brand initiatives and innovations, as well as overall industry advances. If you want to be ahead of the curve, find out where consumers want you to go and go there.

Sit out the dance at your peril

While there is something to the idea that you can’t embrace every fad that comes your way, these trends are hardly flashes in the pan. The data available – and the way that data is analyzed and applied – is shifting. Marketers need to shift too, or risk falling out of the race.

Brands must innovate and evolve for optimal brand health, and that process must include consumer input. The best way to gather that input is by putting these trends to work.

For more on how to do just that, download the ebook 5 Hottest Trends in Social Analytics, or reach out for a customized demo of how NetBase hits these marks for your brand.

Image from The Coalie Fiend