I see more and more signs of a brighter economy as more companies and individuals move from survival into growth mode. Effective communication will be critical in this transition, and if you use the approach you used even a year ago, it’s not going to work.

To figure it out, start with some 2011 resolutions. Taking some time to keep these five resolutions, will put you on the right track.

Resolve to THINK LIKE a CUSTOMER – Wear your customer hat anytime you send communication, offer something new or change their “experience.” Does what you say make sense and will they see the product or offer as a benefit or are you really just making things easier for you?

Resolve to GO WHERE YOUR CUTOMERS ARE – Newspapers, magazines and major television outlets are in decline, and they have been replaced by a very different mix of channels. You need to use the channels they use such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and your company website. The challenge is getting the right mix. If you start out with a clear plan and understand your customers, these tactic will help you develop a deeper relationship with customers and keep them coming back.

Resolve to GET FASTER – Opportunities and challenges come up quickly in the online/social media world and you must react quickly to take advantage and avoid the damage when your company or brand is immersed in an online crisis. By developing a crisis management plan, empowering employees and simplifying your decision-making process you will be able to react at the speed that is necessary.

Resolve to CREATE MEANINGFUL CONTENT – New opportunities pop up daily to engage your customers, find out what they are thinking and tell your story. To take advantage companies need to generate more interesting, usable content and take it directly to the audience.

That means generating fresh information for your website and social media channels, in both print and video on a frequent basis. While a communications staff can help maintain quality and consistency, they can’t do it all. You have a whole cadre of employees who can help, if you show them how.

Resolve to ENGAGE, MONITOR, and ADJUST – Transparently engaging your audiences, appealing to their interests, listening and reaching them in a variety of places takes time. Be patient and don’t expect these efforts to replace your traditional marketing programs right away. And it won’t be “free,” although many still use that term when referring to social media. By starting with a plan, listening and learning, focusing on content, monitoring results, and adjusting when necessary, you will be on your way to making 2011 a very successful year for communication and your bottom line.