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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

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

Category: Research

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

Apr 1, 2009 5 Comments

5 Greatest April Fools Moments in Social Media

Anyone involved even tangentially in social media has come across the term linkbait - the creation of articles whose sole purpose is to generate traffic, links, and eventually lead to a rise in Google SERPS.  I find that linkbait reaches a point of saturation when themed around specific events - April Fool’s Day is one such event.

At the risk of overwhelming readers with endless links of poorly planned April Fool’s Day jokes and gags, let’s turn out attention to the 5 best April Fool’s Da of the day:

Identi.ca buys Twitter

Identi.ca buys Twitter

5 - Buying and being like Twitter.

Identi.ca buys Twitter.  Many of you may not remember Identi.ca - the open source solution to Twitter - when it first came on the scene.  Basically, Identi.ca gained a microblogging market share when Twitter had performance and scalability issues, though it has all but lost its momentum after Twitter stabilized some.  The Guardian claiming that news can be told in 140 characters barely missed being formally included in this list.

strobelight-cover-art

NIN Strobe Light

4 - Nine Inch Nails Strobelight.

NIN has previously made press featuring The Slip as a free download if you put in your email.  This time around, if you try putting in your email to get Strobelight, you get the Windows blue screen of death.

Peanut butter jelly time - O RLY?

Peanut butter jelly time - O RLY?

3 - Weird Digg Popups.

Digg had a disappointing showing last year, showing different symbols when trying to Digg a story, which ended up resulting in performance issues.  They were smarter this year with Internet memes popping up after following a Digg.  I would have ranked this higher had the popups not shown up after every Digg.

The return of Zaibatsu? Nah.

The return of Zaibatsu? Nah.

2 - The return of Zaibatsu?

Even though this turned out to be false, it was kind of cool to think that Zaibatsu was back on Digg, even for a moment.  Maybe he’d be quiet on Twitter then. (Chill Reg, we all love ya) ;)

Reddigg pwns the rest

1 - Reddit pwns basically every social media site ever.

As we can see, Reddit has really outdone itself this year.  Reddit is a top tier social news / crowdsourced content site, but today it really took the cake and flexed its creative muscle.

The homepage was skinned to look like Digg, the Science subreddit like Slashdot, Worldnews like whitehouse.gov, etc. You get the idea;  pure awesomeness.

Brian Wallace

brian-wallace

Brian is the owner of NowSourcing, Inc., a renowned social media consulting agency. He also started Collective Thoughts (a group social media thinktank blog), writes for Mashable on occasion, and is a sought after speaker. Naturally, you can stalk him on Twitter and LinkedIn. ;)

Feb 5, 2009 0 Comments

Kudos to Connie Benson, 2009 Fellow of the Society for New Communications!

Our own Community Strategist, Connie Benson, has been selected as a 2009 Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR). I’ll let her share the details but big congratulations are order for Connie!

Here’s a snippet about Connie’s plans for her fellowship year:

“During 2009, my research project will focus on how organizations are using social media monitoring, the related metrics and best practices and standards. This will be part of a larger collaboration project with the Web Analytics Association.”

Head over to her post and join the party going on over there in Connie’s blogosphere.

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 19, 2009 0 Comments

Why do I get duplicate results in SM2?

This is a common question and a legitimate concern- however it is inevitable that you’ll get some duplicates in your SM2 searches. Here’s why:

If you enter multiple keyword phrases in SM2 and a source like a blog post or Tweet has more than one keyword in it then SM2 will pick the source up multiple times, once for each keyword it contains. So if I’m tracking ‘Techrigy’ and ’social media monitoring’ as separate keyword phrases and a Twitter Tweet contains both, I’ll see that Tweet twice.

Reblogging and ReTweeting can also generate what look like duplicate results, however if you look at the permalink URLs in View Results you’ll see that they are different. The content is repeated, however the source is not the same. It can be useful to see these because they give you an idea how rapidly and widely a conversation is being disseminated.

Jan 12, 2009 0 Comments

SM2 Social Media Monitoring Sources Updated

SM2 is built on a constantly expanding database of all social media conversations that we refer to as our Social Media Warehouse. We started collecting, via a variety of methods, in 2007 and have what we believe is the largest database of social media conversations and associated meta-data (demographics, location, popularity, etc.). The Warehouse currently has over 1 billion records and we are adding millions daily.
The sources (which we are constantly updating and adding to) include:

  • All major and minor blog platforms including WorkPress, Typepad, Live Journal, Blogger, Blogspot, Sphinn8r etc., including comments
  • Any other blogs with RSS feeds, ping servers, etc.
  • Any publicly available social network content including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, Ning, LinkedIn and more
  • Any comments and meta-data associated with user-generated rich content like YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, etc.
  • All public wikis
  • Non-password protected boards, forums and review sites including everything from BoardReader
  • Yelp
  • Microblogs including Twitter, Plurk, Identi.ca
  • Commenting systems: Backtype, Disqus, Intense Debate

As new sources appear they are incorporated into our collection systems.

Jan 8, 2009 0 Comments

Facebook adds 20 million new users since December 10th

I thought it was my imagination- A lot of my friends have joined Facebook recently and most of us are tailend babyboomers but is this a trend? Now AllyInsider confirms my suspicions: FB is blowing away the other social networks.

Their stats:

  • The site just crossed 150 million monthly active users.
  • That’s more people than there are living in Japan, Russia and Nigeria.
  • 50 million of those users are new since the summer.
  • 20 million are new since December 10.
  • 75 million use the site every single day.

These are astounding figures. What they mean is that Facebook, along with Twitter, has become a de facto global communication platform. From a marketing perspective this is fascinating, however Facebook is very closed (as it should be, IMHO) so it cannot be viewed as a media source.

SM2 collects both Twitter and Facebook, however because we only collect publicly accessible data, our ability to capture Facebook is limited to those conversations that are public. With Twitter we collect public Tweets but not Direct Messages.

One of the differentiation points for SM2 is our Social Media Warehouse. This is our grandiose database of everything social going back to 2007. We don’t just collect conversations based on our users’ searches, we collect everything. Yes, everything (I know from demos that I am required to repeat this at least three times before it sinks in ;-)). That means that if we keep this up we’re going to have an historical record, with meta data, of a huge amount of global communications going forward. The warehouse currently has over 1 billion (with a B) conversations with up to 40 fields of meta data (demographics, location, popularity, reach, URLs, etc.) for each.

If you or your clients are still on the fence about social media please look at the numbers above again. The world has changed.

Nov 20, 2008 0 Comments

Social Media and Twilight the movie

Today’s Times business section has an article about the movie Twilight being released this weekend. Made for $37 million by a tiny studio, this teen age vampire flick based on a best selling series is expected to gross up to $60 million in its first weekend. The story of how the tiny studio got this property caught my eye:

“When Paramount passed on making “Twilight,” Mr. Friedman heard about it. Erik Feig, Summit’s production chief, did some research and noticed an intense following online even though the book had not yet reached stratospheric status. Summit pounced, seeing a potential franchise.

The studio bought the movie rights to all four books in the series, which together have sold about 8.5 million copies in the United States and 17 million copies worldwide.”

The buzz was there on social media far before it hit the attention of the big studios.

And you wonder why we think you should be monitoring…

Sep 17, 2008 0 Comments

Social media measurement business models: Human Resources and Recruiting

First in a series on building business around social media monitoring and analysis:

As I talk to people all day about social media and monitoring I’m spending a lot of time thinking about business models, ways companies can use these tools to build their business. One application I have thought is the concept of a vetting service for checking out potential new hires. If you’re in HR or recruiting this could be a valuable service to add to things like background checks and drug testing. Using a service like SM2 you’d enter the candidate’s name and location(s), former employers, etc., into Sm2’s keyword set-up and then parse the results for any troubling (or exemplary) behavior. Kind of like Googling them only seeking responses from social media.

Hiring the wrong person can be very costly in terms of training time, exposure to risk, time to rehire for the position, etc. This service could save employers a lot of time and money.

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Sep 15, 2008 0 Comments

The fluid nature of Social Media

Alisa has an insightful post on how conversations in social media are streams rather than locations. This ilustrates a fundemental reason why a monitoring service like SM2 is very different from an indexing service like Google. In essence we are collecting all the information that people are assembling into streams and enabling users to follow streams as they develop- streams that include their brands and reputations. Ordinarily you could only follow a few select users or groups because of time and resource constraints. With SM2 you have a tool that helps track all the streams and analyzes their content, sources and impact in real time.

We also hold our collection effectively forever (that’s the plan) in its original instance. If you Tweet then delete that Tweet, we still have it and if you reference a keyword that one of our users is seeking we will serve up that piece of conversational history along with any available public meta-data you’ve volunteered, any associated data connected with your Tweet by others and we offer up a results page that tells our user quite a bit about you.

Social media is fluid, however SM2 is effectively taking constant snapshots of that flow and and making it possible to return to any given moment.

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