"If there is no struggle there is no progress" — Frederick Douglass

Despite spending years optimizing their social marketing efforts, advanced marketers share a common hurdle: How do they make sense of all the data that their social marketing programs generate? It seems that this isn’t an easy endeavor — all 12 marketers I recently interviewed agree that their data capabilities leave much to be desired. They cited numerous reasons: They don’t have the skilled resources to properly analyze the data, their listening platforms are ill equipped to inform their marketing strategies, and their attempts to bridge data across siloed sources (e.g. social networks, agencies, and technolgy vendors) fail. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social data challenges.

 If you feel inadequate when it comes to your data prowess, don’t despair — consider this an opportunity to strengthen your team’s capabilities. Many marketers struggle with data, but only the optimal combination of art and science will allow you to unlock social’s full potential.  Brands that leverage social intelligence to shape both their social and non-social business strategies are well positioned to reach best-in-class status.

In our report “Use Social Data To Improve Your Social Marketing Maturity,” Allison Smith, Nate Elliott, and I provide the following five social data resolutions you can tackle now as you kick off your 2015 social marketing programs:

1. Monitor trends to inform the content of your social marketing programs. Nissan did this with its Royal Baby tweet.

2. Tap conversations at their source and refine creative. For example, create new banner ads that reflect the conversations your customers are having on social channels.

3. Use sentiment data to inform your media buys. A CPG brand did this by allocating more advertising dollars to an online retailer with positive sentiment scores.

4. Analyze connections to identify influencers. Agency WGC did this with a new “Harry Potter” DVD release.

5. Identify social trends to react to real-time opportunities and threats. Lenovo did this to address product quality issues months before its customers called support.

What are some things you are planning to do in 2015 to improve your social data intelligence?