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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

With over 1.5 billion conversations stored, can you afford not to listen?

Oct 1, 2009 4 Comments

Five Myths about Automatic Sentiment Analysis

This is cross posted on Alterian’s Engaging Times blog.

Sentiment analysis is a hot topic. If the social media monitoring tool doesn’t have it, there’s criticism. If it does have it then there’s skepticism. So let’s take some time to talk about these five myths:

  1. The technology isn’t accurate
  2. Sentiment doesn’t take into account cultural differences
  3. Positives and negatives cancel each other
  4. Can’t identify the influence of those expressing the sentiment
  5. Sentiment doesn’t indicate action

1. The technology isn’t accurate

Sentiment analysis using natural language processing. Yes, it is done by a machine and no, it’s not 100 % accurate. The industry estimates that it’s at 70 – 80%. We are very open about that and recommend that it be used as an overview.

In using a tool like Techrigy SM2 for automatic sentiment, customers can see the overall view of thousands of search results. It would take hours to manually review the same amount and one still wouldn’t have an overall sense of the percentage positive vs negative.

SM2 has a customizable dictionary so users have the option of reviewing a sample of results and revising the dictionary. This functionality was added to accommodate the language differences of various verticals. For example “well” in the health industry is a positive thing, but in the energy industry, an oil well has no bearing on sentiment.

2. Sentiment doesn’t take into account cultural differences

One of the first dictionaries that we customized was for our friends down under. Australia has some vernacular that is unique to it’s region. No matter the location, those lexical idiosyncrasies can be added to SM2’s dictionary.

3. Positives and negatives cancel each other

Marta Strickland listed this in her recent blog post: Five Reasons Sentiment Analysis Won’t Ever Be Enough

Many people assume this. In SM2 a search result can be attributed with positive and negative sentiment. In addition, a search result may have 3 positive aspects and 1 negative. This would also be charted as such (3 in the positive column, and 1 in the negative).

This information is then considered along with the length of the post when calculating tone.

4. Can’t identify the influence of those expressing the sentiment

That is possible and it utilizes the power of SM2’s categories.

Let’s consider the negative sentiment around McDonald’s McCafe. We want to see the negative results in order of influence (SM2 refers to it as Popularity).

By creating a category called ‘Neg McCafe Sentiment’ and assigning those results to it, we can then view them in the Demographics report. This will allow you to see the distribution from highest to lowest influence. You can drill in at each level.

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And they can also be displayed under ‘View Results’ and displayed in order of Highest Popularity first. This is a nice way to browse them.

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5. Sentiment doesn’t indicate action

I agree that it doesn’t indicate it, but I would also argue that automatic sentiment makes it very easy to realize trends/patterns that would otherwise be very difficult to identify.

By reviewing the results under Negative Sentiment in the McCafe example, some trends become apparent. And they fit under the following business objectives:

  • feedback on the products – product development
  • complaints about customer service – customer service
  • irritation with specific ad’s – marketing/advertising
  • reference of being diet conscious – marketing research

What do you think about automated sentiment analysis?

Katie Paine has a poll on her blog.

And Andy Beal offers another viewpoint.

Aug 7, 2009 4 Comments

Social Media Monitoring: Why You Must & Its Value

You don’t really need to be active in social media.

Twitter? No. Blog? No. Facebook Page? No. Social bookmarking? Nyah. Second Life? Forget about it.

Social media — like any other tool for marketing — should be researched and evaluated based on how best to reach and communicate with your audience.

But (you can tell it’s a big BUT), you do need to be monitoring and listening in to social media.

Do you have comment cards available for customers and prospects?

Do you have a suggestion box in your location(s)?

Do your sales people listen to customers?

Do you have a customer service department or person?

Do you have your company name in Google News Alerts or have a paid clipping service for news releases and such?

Have you ever conducted a focus group or other similar market research?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you need to monitor social media.

I’ve been involved in SM monitoring almost since I first became active in social media in 2005. There are a lot of monitoring tools available, both free and paid. (For reference, see a previous post on my own blog about online tools, and my Delicious bookmarks tagged social-media-monitoring.)

How and why you should monitor social media? Let’s look at four key ways to use social media monitoring:

Monitor your company and product names, as well as any other trademarked, marketing and related terms about you. This is a no-brainer. People are talking about you whether you are listening or not — so you might as well listen. You also can track competitors.

  • During your monitoring see what negative, neutral and positive things are being said. Before jumping in to respond to negative streams, gauge if the content is emotion- or fact-based — it’s tough to sooth a debate filled with emotion, so be cautious. Also determine if the author receives a lot of traffic or seems to have a lot of influence. If either are low, consider your timing if you should respond at all. (This point requires another post to really discuss.)

Gauge how effective your marketing messages are. I’m talking more than just negative or positive reactions. Those do not necessarily come from your branding efforts. Review the results for your company and related names used above and see what’s being said and what main points are associated with your terms. (See AuthorTags image from a SM2 term I’m tracking.)  Then, adjust as you see appropriate. You also can track your efforts over time and compare to sales data to determine what impact social marketing has on sales.

See what terms & topics others associate with your term. This example is for a metroparks system.

See what terms & topics others associate with your term. This example is for a metroparks system.

Market research: Don’t look for your company-related names; look for trends and issues associated with your industry and your marketplace. You may have conducted surveys and other research in the past — with social media you can do the same in real-time (or at least pretty recent time).

If you are planning an outreach, use social media monitoring to smooth the process: For the subject or topic you plan to use for SM outreach, search for it first. See who’s already blogging, tweeting and discussing it. Then, see if those people are ones you want to engage: Gauge their level of influence, their comments on your topic, etc. — all the while learning more about them. That will help you better connect with them if you do contact them.

For the image, I use Techrigy’s SM2 service. However, other services also have graphing and analytical tools. Even with free services, you can take the data and develop your own charts.

One more point: No matter if you use a free service or a paid service, there’s still an investment. Both require an investment in time to fully analyze the data. The trade off is in the amount of money you pay for a comprehensive service that will compile the data and start to analyze it, compared to the amount of time you need to gather and compile the results and then analyze using the free tools.

-Mike Driehorst

Mike Driehorst

president of Diamond Communications, is a proven public relations professional with 15 years experience in strategic planning, public relations and other modes of marketing communications. Based in Toledo, Ohio, he has been active in social media marketing since early 2005 and blogs at www.MikesPoints.com. If you’re on Twitter, look him up @MikeDriehorst.
mikedriehorst1

Jul 25, 2009 0 Comments

Interested in Techrigy SM2? Join a Free Webinar!

This week we will start offering webinars on Techrigy SM2.

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The webinars will provide an introduction to using Techrigy SM2 for social media monitoring. The complementary sessions will help you get more out of the Freemium version of SM2. We also have a downloadable workbook that will go with the webinar.

The webinars will be held every Tuesday at 10 am cst and Thursday at 3 pm cst.

Sign up here  

There are also many videos at Training.techrigy.com. The Reports document provides an overview of the reports in SM2 and ways to use them.

Jul 22, 2009 0 Comments

Techrigy SM2 comes of age

We are so pleased with our community’s response to our news that Alterian acquired our company, Techrigy. This past week has been exciting and we’re so appreciative that our customers and the industry uplifted our story. As a social media monitoring tool, we choose to engage with people in the same medium. That’s really important to us because we can interact with you online and also understand your needs.

In addition to using SM2 for building brand awareness, it’s the perfect tool for measuring the amount of conversations online. As I said we live & breathe this! Here are some stat’s for last week’s announcement:

  • an increase of 4 times the mentions of Techrigy for the week after the announcement compared to the week before
  • the number of Freemium signups increased by 10 times compared to the week before
  • visits to the Techrigy.com site increased by 3 times after the announcement (stat’s from Google Analytics)

And I have to share some charts from SM2 that visually show the statistics. SM2 makes high level reporting easy!

The Daily Volume – see the spike on the day of the announcement? You guys rocked it!

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Share of Voice – shows how the conversations were distributed

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Here are the words that were the common themes in the conversations on July 15th and 16th. We were on Techcrunch again with reference to ‘steroids’

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I posted my personal perspective on my blog and you can read more about the details of the acquisition here. We’re excited about the upcoming months as we integrate with Alterian and their products.

You can try the Freemium version of SM2. There are resources at Training.Techrigy.com  Let us know what you think?

PR
Jul 15, 2009 14 Comments

Alterian adds Techrigy to their Marketing Platform

We are excited to share the news that Techrigy has joined the Alterian family!

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Techrigy has been offering their customers a robust social media monitoring tool with amazing analytics. It’s a versatile tool that offers a broad range of functionality to it’s customers ranging from PR agencies, marketing agencies, consultants and brands.

Like so many startups Techrigy began with humble beginnings. Serial entrepreneur, Aaron Newman and Jay Mari started the company in a basement. After a time they moved into an office with no windows. (Jay showed me the building last week when I was in Rochester, NY & shared that detail.) Techrigy’s present office space does have windows but they’ve outgrown the space. A few months ago Techrigy acquired Andiamo Systems and we added staff in San Francisco. It’s now time for another big change as Techrigy moves forward (including new office space!)

We are excited to see Techrigy’s history continue to evolve as we announce Alterian’s acquisition of Techrigy! Alterian is a leading integrated marketing platform  provider. Alterian’s Chief Executive Officer, David Eldridge, acknowledges the fundamental shift occurring in marketing, “Marketing is currently going through a revolution. The days of mass marketing and untargeted mailings are numbered. Marketers now need to appeal to the individual and engage with customers on a personal basis.” Monitoring social media and the related analytics perfectly complements their integrated marketing platform which focus on providing marketers with analytical tools. Techrigy SM2 will be joining their existing suite of three products: Email, Web Content Management, Analytics (Database & Operational Marketing).

The Techrigy team has built a reputation of excellent customer service paired with a reputation for listening to online conversations. That is the legacy that we have built & the experience we offer to our customers. The acquisition will provide our customers with more training resources, 24/7 customer service, enhanced product development and so much more!

Aaron Newman, Founder and President of Techrigy says, “Today’s announcement marks a great step in the SM2 story and for social media monitoring. We don’t see this as the end of the Techrigy story but the start of something bigger. Through the back of the Alterian brand, SM2 now becomes an integral part of the marketer’s arsenal and social media monitoring and analytics takes a giant leap forward in becoming as essential as traditional marketing tactics. We are excited to be part of the online marketing revolution and happy to be joining the Alterian team.”

We share Alterian’s spirit of innovation! And we look forward to continuing to make Techrigy SM2 best in class for social media monitoring and analytics.

To read about Alterian’s products and watch videos of Aaron Newman & David Eldridge, visit: http://alterian.com/techrigy

Jul 8, 2009 3 Comments

Social Media for Competitive Intelligence

In my first job out of college, I had a really unpleasant task every Monday morning. See, I worked at a large regional bank and every morning I had to call a dozen other banks and get all their rates. Saving, checking, loans, mortgage. There was no way to disguise who I was. After about 10 minutes on the phone, the teller was pretty annoyed with me. After 15 minutes, he was ready to hang up on me.

“Wait!” I’d cry. “How about a 30-year fixed mortgage on a….”

Click.

Back then, monitoring the competition was tough. Today, thanks to the ever growing world of social media, it’s a whole lot easier to find information about your competition. Here are a few simple tips to get started:

  1. Be a Twitter Spy. Set up a Tweetbeep. If you can use Google Alerts you can use Tweetbeep. Just go to Tweetbeep.com and enter your competitors’ names. You’ll be notified when anyone Tweets about your competition. The information you receive will be a gold mine. Your competitors’ clients will tweet about how well (or poorly) the latest pitch went, their employees will complain about working all night to get the new product into beta. A reporter will talk about using them for a source. Customers will talk about pricing. The HR intern will tell you that layoffs are coming today.
    Did you hear that something big is happening at a competitor and you can’t wait to be Tweetbeeped? Then just go to http://search.twitter.com and type in search strings like “[Competitor name layoff” “[Competitor name] acquired” “[Competitor name] president” People will share scoops on Twitter that they never would in person or on the phone.
    You can also start following your competitors’ executives, managers, employees, interns and contractors. Not to mention, their biggest clients. When news is coming from the company, you’ll get it from every perspective—giving you the full picture. Of course, don’t be surprised when you get the spin from the company president and PR director and the juicy stuff from the interns and contractors.
  1. Get LinkedIn. I’m willing to bet you already have a LinkedIn profile and some good connections on the site. But now, it’s time to start mining LinkedIn for information on your competition. First take a moment to consider what LinkedIn knows about a company: it knows who just joined a company, it knows who left, it knows who received a promotion and it knows who is connected to whom at other companies. Now, rather than rely on a person to write a company profile, aka Wikipedia, LinkedIn can create an automated feed to pull all this together into a shockingly accurate profile. Go ahead and check out your own company profile by searching here: http://www.linkedin.com/companies.

A quick scan will tell you how many people work at the company and who recently left the company. Seeing who left is not only a great tool if you’re looking to recruit from the competition, it’s also a good way to see if a particular department is in the midst of a shakeup.You can also identify the companies most connected to your competition. This may help you identify where they recruit their employees, who their biggest clients are, and what strategic alliances are most important. Company divisions and acquisitions are also listed, allowing you to understand the corporate hierarchy. The information on number of employees, revenue (listed even for many private companies), median age, employee gender and the various schools their employees attended, rounds out the picture.

  1. Dive deep with Manta. Manta.com is one of the largest and most popular business information sites on the Internet. Manta has profiles on 63 million plus companies, including yours. The site specializes in hard-to-find information about small businesses and other privately held companies. Membership to the site is free and you can use the free contact management system on the site to track and share competitive information with the rest of your staff. The information on companies varies, but in general, you can find annual revenue, key contacts and number of employees. Premium financial reports are also available for a fee. Can’t find the information you need? The site has a question and answer feature that allows users to post a question that can be addressed by the site’s other members.
    Interested in seeing who is affiliate with your competitors? Visit their company pages on Manta.com and find Manta members who are associated with the company. You can also see who else (maybe your clients and prospects) who are viewing your competitors pages. And, similar to Tweetbeeps for Twitter, you can an alert on your competitors to be notified when something on their pages changes. (Disclosure: once upon a time I worked at ECNext, the company that owns and operates Manta).

One other point: Your competitors are probably using these same tools to keep tabs on you. Keep an eye on your own social media presence to see the image that you are projecting. Social media has changed the way we do a lot of things in the business world, including how we keep up on what our competition is up to. Somebody, somewhere out there, is talking about your competitors, opening up a world of information never before available. Now is the time to take advantage of it. Who knows, now may also be the time to take advantage of a 30-year fixed loan, too.

Bill Balderaz

is founder and chief optimism officer of Webbed Marketing. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Webbed Marketing helps organizations use the Internet to produce real business results. The company specializes in goal-oriented search engine optimization, pay-per-click and social media marketing programs.

bill-b

Jul 3, 2009 0 Comments

Jeremy Epstein on Listening & Measurement

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In the first part of this series, Jeremy talked about his Community Driven Marketing. The first step is Listening and I asked him to share the tools that he uses.

Measurement is also a huge topic that’s very important in every effort. So he generously shares how he measures each of the three steps:

  • Listening
  • Cultivation
  • Activation

And we wrap up with Jeremy talking about calculating ROI. I hope you enjoy the second part of the interview! Jeremy’s enthusiasm is infectious.

Listen to the interview

Jun 28, 2009 2 Comments

Interview with Jeremy Epstein Part 1

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You’re going to really enjoy the fresh outlook that Jeremy Epstein has on marketing & engaging with brand enthusiasts. He has dubbed his technique: Community Driven Marketing. (Check out his white paper!)

In the interview Jeremy talks about the challenges marketers face:

  • Abundance of channels and scarcity of attention
  • Power of Permission
  • Reach of Individual

Jeremy shares his three step process:

  • Listen
    • create listening posts
    • find passionate people
  • Empower
    • establish relationships
    • cultivate & build them
  • Activate
    • encourage ideas
    • empower them

This really is a must listen and you’ll hear how passionate Jeremy is. He’s found a way to take a match (the message) & ignite the gasoline (the raving fans) so that it spreads across their networks.

In part two Jeremy will talk about Listening Tools and Measurement.

Enjoy the interview!

Jun 18, 2009 1 Comment

Social Media and Smarter Product/Service Development

It’s exciting to watch as the value of social media is being revealed in layers: one layer, the fairly wide recognition of the value of monitoring social media as a means to follow what people are saying about ones products and/or brands; and another layer: which is less common but gaining in popularity – monitoring to support active participation in social media circles for engagement with the public a la Whole Foods and Southwest Airlines on Twitter.

And now, the newest layer: using social media to help guide smart product/service development. Only a small number of forward-thinking companies (savvy ones, to say the least) are turning to social media as a means to run customer‐led innovation initiatives. One of the most talked about examples of the moment is Del Monte’s launch of Pup‐Peroni , which is featured in a video case study at Advertising Age. The piece tells of how the company used a collaborative online community to successfully launch the Pup‐Peroni dog snacks in six weeks. It’s an excellent example of customer‐led innovation played out within social media. Del Monte isn’t the only company using this family of model to make
innovation a community exercise that taps into the creativity and user‐driven suggestions of its lead customers. But there’s another angle to using social media to find your lead customers, and to tap into what they have already said – and are saying – to help guide product/service development; to help companies better understand what their – your ‐‐ customers need. As researchers, what we realize (and have realized through work we are doing for our clients) is that for many, many companies, a mass of information that holds precisely these clues exists online, though often buried in niche communities. Locating these communities and analyzing their conversation for insights that can help guide smarter product/service development is precisely what we do for our clients.

At the Social Studies Group, we are digging deeply in exploration of the tastes, ideas and opinions that can help companies guide product/service development. As researchers, we are immersed in this task. And as researchers, we are repeatedly fascinated by what we continue to find.

We recently completed a project for a national consumer foods company in connection with a product that has not been as successful as they had hoped. Our job was to collect information that would help guide the development of a follow‐up product. A second assignment saw us collecting consumer opinions around an existing media‐related product; the purpose: to help ensure that its next iteration mirrors readers’ interest. The task of locating these communities and relevant conversations almost always begins with monitoring. For instance, we know first‐hand that SM2 holds vast potential for uses far beyond simply gauging the popularity of ones brand. The key is knowing how to design your search in order to arrive at the results that will lead to the most valuable insights which are, in this case, the information that reveals your customers’ real needs and translates to smarter product/service development.

Wendy Goldman Scherer

Wendy founded Scherer Cybrarian in 1995. She knew from her years as a partner with Bozell Worldwide that there was a great need for knowledge synthesis and business research that was more than a mere information dump. The business has grown and expanded over the years to include primary research, GIS, news aggregation and monitoring, and much more. But what she loves the most is social media research. (Don’t laugh. Everyone should love their work as much as Wendy does!) Scherer has been working with clients for many years now on social media monitoring and reporting and, best of all, social focal reporting.

Read the full bio

wendy_scherer

May 27, 2009 0 Comments

Techrigy Featured in Marketing Profs Case Study Collection

Today when I checked into Twitter it was aflutter with people talking about how our Techrigy Team uses Twitter. @AnnHandley was having a MarketingProfs webinar and was referring to the case study of how we use it in a B2B situation. Here’s a snapshot from my Tweetdeck.

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Our team at Techrigy uses Twitter for what most people do: to connect with friends & share information. But we also use Twitter for customer service and lead generation. We’er primarily a B2B and the majority of our customers are agencies. But they’re still people. And the digital oriented people are early adopters and exploring Twitter.

Why is Twitter so effective? It’s because it’s a water cooler. People are asking what tool should they use? They’re asking what others think. Periodically people test to see if we are listening! The folks at Marketing Profs have put together a Case Study Collection on Twitter Success Stories.

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How can you use Twitter for lead generation? Use some type of tool like Techrigy SM2, Tweetdeck.com, tweetbeep.com, etc to monitor your brand name, your competitors and industry terms. Engage in the conversation, build relationships and provide value. After a time you will create a community around your company and brand.

We have a couple of other blog posts for further reading:

Twitter Lead Generation with SM2 alerts

Social Media offers B2B companies new options

How do you find Twitter helpful?

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