The kids are just back to school, and in parts of the country where such things happen, the leaves have barely started turning – but that doesn’t mean it’s too early for brands to turn their attention to the upcoming holiday season. In fact, now is the ideal time to look at social data from previous years to predict trends emerging for this season.

Why? The recent back-to-school shopping period offers brands a perfect data sample of what consumers desire right now – and it’s the most current model they’ll have for the upcoming holiday boom.

Spotting trends in real-time

Of course brands should be looking at data and trends from holidays past, and comparing changes year to year, but real-time social data is also important. After all, social media is a living, breathing animal. And however consumers felt last year may not be how they feel this year.

Brands may look at last year’s analytics thinking they’ve got a blueprint for the coming season, but all they’ve got is a starting point. They next need to look at recent back-to-school data to see where consumers are right now – or “rn” as the Millennials like to say.

And they shouldn’t settle for surface info. Brands have to dig deeply to understand and connect with consumers on social, and answer questions like:

  • What are consumers saying about my brand?
  • What are consumers saying about my competition?
  • How do consumers FEEL about my brand and my competition?
  • What other interests do my customers and prospects have beyond my brand?

This is the information that will allow brands to offer consumers exactly what they want – not just what brands think or hope they want.

Here are two ways brands can answer these questions using deep social listening:

Any Mentions Alerts – Our newest service gives brands the ability to set up alerts on any mention or keyword they want to know about. Wouldn’t it be great to know what people are saying about the competition on social – especially when they’re having a problem? Now brands can. Not to mention being able to nip their own social customer service issues in the bud.

Consumer Sentiment Analysis – At the heart of all social interaction is one common thread, no matter the demographic: emotion. Whether it’s a rave or complaint, consumers on social are sharing their FEELINGS and brands need to take that into account.

NetBase calculates Net Sentiment (the emotions) along with Brand Passion (the intensity of the emotions) to provide brands with the edge they need to understand social conversations. And we use human language processing technology that understands sarcasm, net-speak, slang and more to provide context that would otherwise be missed.

And this is the info that will clue brands in to emerging trends – like THE must-have toys, fashions, and decorations for the holidays.

It’s not enough for brands to look just for mentions of their brand, or keywords about their products. They must dig deeper to get to know consumers as people, and engage with them as such.

Once they can do that, brands have all the power they need to combine social insights with social media best practices and win consumers over. And not just for the holidays – but always.

Is your brand ready for the holiday season? Reach out for more information about connecting with consumers emotionally for your best season ever.

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