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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

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

Category: Brand Management

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

Feb 3, 2009 0 Comments

Social media is the new marketing nexus

Joe Marchese of socialvibe has a great Mediapost column on why social media agencies will become the new Agencies of Record for brands.

I take his prediction a bit further in my comment to his post:

Social is becoming the central hub that connects marketing, customer support, product development and reputation management. This is a primary change in the way companies interconnect with markets and customers and the new agency of record has to be prepared to wade into all of these business divisions and unite them. My guess is we’re going to see an entirely new agency model emerge that is not hampered by the silos you describe. Among our customers we’re seeing the early adoption and growing understanding of this new nexus- and interestingly most are either PR or ‘digital’ agencies. Very little uptake with the media-focused agencies so far. As with PPC/SEM/SEO adoption, they tend to lag a bit in adopting new models. This time around lagging could prove disastrous because the move into social media is happening very quickly

Jan 28, 2009 0 Comments

Comparing the SM2 Freemium Account and SM2’s paid Professional Accounts

As part of Techrigy’s outreach to the growing social media marketing community we offer a Freemium (free) version of SM2, our best in class social media monitoring and analytics solution. SM2 Freemium is a fully functional version of the Pro paid versions of SM2 with several minor differences:

  • Keywords are limited to five keyword phrases. Pro Accounts have unlimited keywords. Both accounts have unlimited search Profiles.
  • The number of Results (conversations) you can have in your SM2 Freemium Account is limited to 1000 while the Pro Accounts start at 20,000 results. With both types of accounts results can be cleared and new searches run.
  • Freemium Accounts do not support Advanced Boolean search operators. They do support the use of the AND operator and excludes.
  • Freemium Accounts do not have some of the board and review site sources included in the Pro Accounts.

We designed the Freemium SM2 version to provide robust search and analysis capabilities nearly identical to our paid versions. They carry no expiration date and there are no limits on users. Freemium accounts are an excellent way to evaluate SM2 by monitoring small brands and campaigns or for sampling results and analyzing those sample sets.
Freemium users considering an upgrade should contact us for a product demo and a fully featured Pro Test Account at sales@techrigy.com.

Jan 26, 2009 0 Comments

AdAge: Survey says few CMOs think they’re effectively tracking social media

This article should be viewed an indicator of an approaching tipping point in social media monitoring and marketing:

“The survey of 400 executives found that 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word-of-mouth; 59% don’t compensate any employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction; and only 30% rated their companies highly in their ability to handle or resolve customer complaints.”

“One problem for marketing executives is that they’re not clearly in charge now of managing the customer experience, customer loyalty or social media today, given that public-relations, sales, consumer-affairs and research-and-development departments all have a stake in those areas now.

Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, said marketing should take the lead in overseeing the customer experience and satisfaction. And he said addressing deficiencies in tracking and analyzing consumer feedback and buzz may be the key way CMOs can stake a claim to leadership.”

“From our standpoint, if there’s anybody who needs to be accountable for the customer experience, it’s the CMO,” Mr. Neale-May said. “Clearly what marketing needs to do to cover a lot of ground we’ve lost in the organization is more analytics, predictive modeling, and data integration and aggregation.”

That’s exactly what SM2 was designed to do.

(From Advertising Age)

(BTW, AdAge, why do you have a splash page? Don’t you know that it kills traffic by 50%?)

Jan 16, 2009 2 Comments

SlideShare: Techrigy’s CEO Aaron Newman on Social Media Marketing 101

Sm2 Social Media Marketing
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Jan 12, 2009 0 Comments

US Airforce Flow Chart: Rules of Blogger Engagement

Thanks to StrivePR

Our tax dollars at work and they get it right (and this flow is not for blog engagement only, any user-generated content):

air_force_web_posting_response_assessment

Dec 15, 2008 0 Comments

Wall Street Journal on Social Media/web 2.0 Marketing

They actually really get it right. Based on interviews with 30 marketers. No subscription required at the time of this posting.

There’s a sea change going on!

Dec 14, 2008 1 Comment

Top 3 Metrics for Building a Brand Online

I saw this question on Twitter:

If you’re trying to build a brand online, what are the top 3 metrics you’d use?

It’s a great question. Building brand is an ongoing process & establishing metrics prove that you’re making progress. I’ve been building corporate brands & my own brand since 2006 and it’s easier than ever now. Back in those days I had to do the social media monitoring part manually. Today we have tools like Techrigy SM2 that aggregates my old routine.

There are two key components to building brand: web analytics & social media monitoring.

  • web analytics are important for your brand’s site & blog
  • social media monitoring provides insight into the conversation about your brand on the web at large

The first step is to benchmark:

  • for web analytics
    • number of visitors per day
    • average time per page
    • ratio of comments per post for a blog
  • for social media monitoring
    • number of mentions on average per week or month
    • sentiment
    • percentage of mentions by influentials

The goals can then be established. The rate at which the brand building will happen is dependent on the amount of resources (people & time) invested. The metrics will help drive the process in building brand awareness & provide easy tracking of the progress.

For web analytics there are tools such as Google analytics or Feedburner. They are free & straightforward to use. Building brand is addictive. I tend to be in Feedburner most every day.

image

For social media monitoring there are many free tools. We have the Freemium version of Techrigy SM2 (as well as a professional version). It monitors a broad range of sources such as blogs, Twitter, forums, etc. And it automatically determines sentiment offering a quick overview of the public’s perception.

SM2 also displays the results based on influence so that you can efficiently reach out to them.

image

There shouldn’t be any mystery around metrics and building brand. The metrics will motivate those involved because they can easily see their progress! (and as I said earlier, it’s a bit addictive!)

Metrics are the first step. Then the process is the next step but it’s structured by the metrics. I have written a number of posts on building brand. 

What metrics do you use in your brand building efforts?

*we’re having a webinar on Techrigy SM2 on Tuesday - Sign up here

And you’re welcome to browse more resources in our community.

Dec 3, 2008 0 Comments

Nobodies are the new Somebodies: Guy Kawasaki on how to use Twitter

Guy’s post on how he uses Twitter is priceless: a brief but complete manual on using the service as a promotion tool.

Here’s my favorite part:

“Forget the “influentials.” You must buy into the theory that products and services reach critical mass because mere mortals spread the word for you. This defies the common wisdom that a handful of “influentials” shape what the rest of us try and what we adopt. In the online world, these influentials include Mike “I can go a week without Twitter” Arrington, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, and to some extent me.

Reliance on influentials is flawed because the Internet has flattened and democratized information. Influentials don’t have as much special access, special knowledge, and distribution as you might think because of the growth of websites, blogs, and, of course, Twitter.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about influentials—if nothing else they can help you get to what some consider “nobodies.” But mark my words: (a) Nobodies are the new somebodies, and (b) it’s better to have army of committed nobodies and than a few drive-by somebodies. The most somebodies can usually do for you is a one day bump in traffic.

One more point: if enough nobodies like what you do, the somebodies will have no choice but to write about you. In this way, the buzz of nobodies begets the attention of somebodies and not vice versa.

Take that Scoble.

Dec 1, 2008 0 Comments

Accelerate your social activity during a recession

Perhaps the worst thing a business or agency can do during a severe downturn is to pull back on marketing activity, even if writing the checks is exceptionally painful. The reason is something known as the ’sales cycle’. Salespeople know what this is: the average time it takes to close a sale from prospecting to a check in the mailbox. For a lot of products and services this can be quite a long process and it lengthens as money gets tight.

However, as money gets more accessible, sales cycles get shorter because there is pent-up need. This brings us to the marketing quandary. If you stop or curtail marketing activity, you cripple your ability to bounce back when the economy gets better. Your customers don’t stop thinking about buying, they just hold off until they can afford it. If you stop marketing and participating in the conversation you won’t be on their radar when they’re ready. Your sales cycle starts with marketing.

So what does this have to do with social media? Everything. Social media participation is extremely cost effective, especially if you target intent, in other words, those conversations that are fine-tuned to your product or service. Any number of keyword tracking services, including ours, can help you find that intent.

There is another compelling reason to dive headfirst into social media: Timing. We are at that proverbial tipping point where a group of ideas, tools and smart people converge and the world changes. Waiting until the economy turns upwards to embrace social media means you’ll be far behind the curve. We saw it with the belated advertising agency reaction to search marketing. They didn’t embrace this new model and a whole new style of marketing agencies took the business out from under them. This, in my view, is taking place right now with social media.

Are you on the brand-owner side but not successfully selling social media participation to upper management? It’s time to go guerilla. Start monitoring with free services like ours, tracking Twitter keywords, blogging product mentions, etc. Become a power-user and you’ll eventually get your chance to make your case. Chances are that when the realization sets in among those managers that your brand is being discussed, there will be a ‘why aren’t we doing this moment?’ And you can say, ‘actually we have been’.

It’s not just the listening side. Start building knowledge around platforms for social media interaction. Things like Ning, Yammer, WordPress. They’re free and you can learn them quickly. Again, when times get better you’ll have a jump on your competition.