Since my last post on Social Media Monitoring tools, I have come across tools and service offerings from a wide variety of companies. Chris Koch in his B2B blog has written an article called Eight Reasons to Monitor Social Media and a list of tools for doing it that I felt was worthy of quoting.
In the B2B world, social media is starting to take hold, driven by the recession and the need to cut costs and the ability to reach out to customers in a new way, to form communities where customers influence other customers. As Seth Godin wrote in his book Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync? ‘…an idea that spreads with a passion through a community and leads to change — is far more powerful than any advertisement ever could be.’
In customer satisfaction terms, customers who promote your ideas or products and services are called a reference account or a testimonial. But now their stories can be online and they are often online. User Groups are global now with social media and so is the good, the bad and the ugly story each person tells. One customer can influence another. If your product or service is good, your customers can interact with other prospects on sites you provide such as your blog or your facebook fan page or other social media sites. But these conversations will take place, with or without you creating a site! Hence the need for social media monitoring.
What I found most interesting in Chris Koch’s article is the ways social monitoring could provide insight into online conversations:
- Determine tone and sentiment. Some developers are using algorithms and analysis to determine whether conversations are positive or negative and whether the individuals within the conversation are supporters or detractors. But the developers acknowledge that using computers to determine the tone of human conversation is still a work in progress at this point.
- Assign a response. Some of the tools let you define the types of comments or conversations that deserve a response, flag them, and route them to a designated person for action.
- See the distribution of conversation. Most of the tools let you segment the different types of social media to determine where conversations are happening—such as blogs vs. Facebook.
- Trend the conversation. Some of the tools let you analyze the direction and popularity of conversations over time. This is helpful during important periods like new offering launches or in the aftermath of a crisis.
- Determine share of attention. You can track the amount of conversation about you versus your competitors.
- Identify influential sources. The tools can determine the popularity of conversations and the sources of those conversations. This helps you decide which blogs you’d like to do outreach with, for example.
- Locate the conversations. Some of the tools let you see the geographic locations of people involved in the conversation.
- Track propagation. Track a comment from a blog post all the way through to mainstream media.
I have included a list of service organizations that provide their own tools below from Chris Koch’s article. When there are so many tools and service providers, with their own unique offerings, it is evident that the requirements are changing and service providers are innovating new and improved ways to monitor the web marketing information available. Pick what would be appropriate for your organization’s needs.
Here is a list of companies that do some form of social media monitoring:
- Collective Intellect
- Nielsen NetRatings
- Scout Labs
- Sentiment Metrics
- TNS Cymfony
- Visible Technologies
- White Noise
I am sure there are more organizations providing services and this will be confusing for a while. But it is better to get started, to invest in developing skills than to do nothing. By engaging you can determine what data you really need and how social media should integrate with your company and marketing strategies. As web marketing matures, needs will change as an organization begins to understand ‘what is possible’ and what their competitors are doing. Customer Satisfaction, Reputation Management and Sentiment Analysis strategies will need to change as well.
If you like this post, feel free to subscribe to my blog to receive regular updates and a free report. Feel free to provide your comments and suggestions in the comments section below. Do you know someone else who could benefit from these articles, invite them to visit this blog and to subscribe as well.
P.S. I am an amazon Affiliate and if you buy Seth Godin’s book, using the link above or below, I earn something less than $0.05. I have read Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae and I highly recommend it as a primer on what is changing with Web Marketing.