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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

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

Category: Guest Post

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 If you’re on Twitter, look him up @MikeDriehorst.

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


Apr 17, 2009 2 Comments

Twitter Spammers Are Getting Traction

The current economy is a chaotic test of bravery and creativity.  At a time when many businesses around the world are hurting and adjusting to the economic realities in an effort to stay alive, the quest to “monetize conversations” within social media has given way to a rise in use of questionable tactics.  We all need to create value and tangible results, how one gets there is the key differentiating factor. 

Since comScore is stating that Twitter traffic hit 10 million visitors as of February of 2009, the stakes are high and climbing. At this pace it’s completely feasible that Twitter will triple to 30 million visitors or more by the end of the year. Given the economic reality and desperate need to drive revenue, I believe more Twitter users will resort to various spamming techniques. The formula for them is simple, get as many followers as possible by any means possible, automated or otherwise and then solely based on volume of followers broadcast or “spam” them into oblivion directing them to a lame product site. Repeat process. Largest challenge? Inventing new Twitter account names.

Despite the best efforts of Evan Williams, Biz Stone and the entire Fail Whale…er Twitter crew, spammers are still prevailing which clearly takes away from the value of influence by watering down the experience.

For example, while writing this post and observing the search term “new to Twitter,” a particular tweet showed up 26 times in just over 30 minutes with 14 of those accounts being most likely fake ones similar to the examples below.

columbianotfund:RT @brad_callen has a cool, new FREE tool to massively increase the number of Twitter followers you have!

More than an hour later….

TravelGiveaway:RT @brad_callen has a cool, new FREE tool to massively increase the number of Twitter followers you have!

As stated, initially the vast majority of these ReTweets were from starter accounts with no picture, low numbers and only one tweet (shown above) to show for the account. The safe assumption is that Callen is the spammer behind this activity.The scary part however, I observed Callen getting traction.The rate at which this tweet was showing up was increasing over the remainder of the hour, fueled by fake accounts, while more and more real Twitterati started picking up on the ReTweet action.What did Callen’s account say during this attack? “Welcome new Tweeters!”

I hesitated before exposing this tactic for fear of spawning new spammers but there it is. If you believe in generating real social capital, having a strong reputation then please be a decent human being and don’t spam people with a ton of fake or ghost Twitter accounts.The unfortunate part is, I know this plea will fall on more than a few deaf ears.  So I call on all Twitter users who read this to expose these fraudulent activities at the very least by using the hashtag #spammer.

“If only fail-whales could be controlled to solely affect spammers while leaving the rest of us alone…if only.”

Walter Schwabe

is the Chief Evolution Officer of fusedlogic inc., one of Canada’s leading social media strategy firms. Walter Schwabe Factoids: His favorite toy growing up was a purple dune buggy pedal car and also, he wishes he still had his Commodore Vic 20 to remind him of pre-warp society. Twitter: @fusedlogic if you dare.

Apr 7, 2009 0 Comments

Who Should Be Your Online Voice?

Congratulations. Your company has finally decided to make the official
online plunge.

A blog, twitter and maybe even Facebook. Whatever you decide, be sure you
have chosen the appropriate “host” for your online “gathering.” This is a
cocktail party for your brand - that never ends. Your online voice is
always on, always entertaining and always looking for more guests.

Call them what you wish: Interaction Evangelist; Knowledgarian Czar; Content
Chief; Information Marshall - they need to posses key traits to ensure

Your online voice needs to be a Subject Matter Expert (SME), someone you’re
confident will maintain respectable behavior and maintain a clear 30,000
foot view of the business development role.

Subject Matter Expert

An SME will be well versed on your industry; engaging discussions about the
current activities, issues and hot points. They will clearly understand the
history of your market segment and have a unique perspective on the future
direction as well. Knowledge of your competition is a must.

This person should have a solid understanding of the key online properties
that relate to the business. Do they participate in related blogs,
discussion groups/forums and industry related niche sites?

Online Behavior

This person needs to be an “A” level player with regards to online behavior
and actions. Ask yourself, would you be comfortable with this person talking
to members of the community? Can they be a consistent representative for
your business?

You host should be somewhat connected to the other “movers & shakers” within
your market as well. If not, are they positioned well to become an
influencer with their experiences, knowledge and network?

The last thing you want is someone who is argumentative and combative; the
ultimate “know-it-all” is a huge turn-off. Have you met that person at a
social event? Not someone you want to spend much time with, is it?

30,000 Foot View

My interpretation of being able to see the big picture is always identifying
additional creative opportunities for the company. Measuring ROI and other
metrics is often an after-thought; every conscious effort should be
monitored, tracked and rebalanced at least every 90 days to ensure the
efforts are not an exercise in futility.

They should be knowledgeable on the Search Engine Optimization strategies
which benefit your company. Their inter-department communication skills
skills should be head and shoulders above nearly everyone within the
company. Not only should they be familiar with daily activities and
strategies, they need to communicate their initiatives back to the company
to avoid any surprises.

Are they monitoring tiny URL’s, site analytics and using social media
monitoring tools? Have you outlined specific metrics such as improved
traffic, increased conversions and improved revenue from specific online
channels? These are must-have tools for your online manager’s toolbox.

Making the decision to utilize multiple online marketing channels is a big
decision. Finding the right person to drive that bus is just as important.

Have you made the right choice?

Eric Miltsch

Eric Miltsch is the Internet Director for Auction Direct USA Used Cars Superstore; he blogs professionally at in his effort to help change the way consumers buy used cars. His personal ramblings can be found at

Mar 20, 2009 0 Comments

Please Don’t Invite Your Friends…

Unless you really know that they want it.

These days, when you get an email, it’s less likely to be the subject line than the name of the sender that will be the PRIMARY reason why you would (or would not) read your message.

Now, think about this in the context of much of what is happening online.

Companies, websites, Facebook applications…they all make it easy for you to invite your friends or share things with them.

Just because it is easy for you to upload 500 pictures from your vacation doesn’t mean I want to see them.

And, just because it is easy for you to invite all of your friends to your new Facebook group or cause, doesn’t mean that I want to join.

If it’s relevant, sure, invite your friends, but only if you KNOW that it is relevant.

Because if it isn’t, you are taking a big risk.

As David Berkowitz blogged, “No, I Don’t Want to Join Your Group (Nor am I a Fan)”


And, if you look down below the group and cause invites that you receive on Facebook now, you’ll see the line that says “Ignore All Invites From This Friend.”

When someone clicks on that, you become like Diana, the equivalent of a Facebook spammer.

For all intents and purposes, your ‘marketing messages’ just don’t exist.

You have lost relevance.

You have lost permission.

And you don’t need me to tell you that you can’t afford to have that happen.

Jeremy Epstein


A “Marketing Navigator for the Attention Economy,” Jeremy helps his clients turn their communities of “raving fans” into their best marketers..

Jeremy spent almost 6 years at Microsoft developing revenue-producing communities and authoring one of Microsoft’s most successful marketing blogs (over 110k views/month).

Full Bio