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The 30 Things to Consider in Your Social Monitoring Choice – The Second Half

[ 0 ] April 20, 2011 |

Our second post on Social Monitoring Choices, now the second half of criteria to look at:

Social Monitoring 301 - raising the game on monitoring to a new level

16. Reputationdoes the company live the credo?

There is a saying – you are your own worst client. So it is true here. In reviewing over 100 social monitoring companies, some had no social media presence to speak of and many hadn’t posted on key social platforms in a month. These are key signals that companies may talk a good game but not play a good one. Look for social proof on Twitter and corporate blogs for traits of companies that “get it” – good frequency, good insight, good human interaction and good balance of promotion with helpful information. Bad social netizenship can’t be excused, this is their playground, live in it!

17. Performance Trackingdoes it track vs. key business imperatives?

The credibility of the social web is in tieing inputs to business performance. Can the monitoring tool(s) track historically? Can it track vs. campaigns and annual targets? Can it map vs. effort? Can it map vs. a standard? Can it adequately track year over year growth despite changes in social media and new technologies? Remember, those who measure and monitor, manage, those who don’t, don’t.

18. Spam/Bot Filtering - can they filter out the robots? The world is littered with people trying to at worst,  fraudulently take advantage of you and at best, trying to optimize their SEO/SMO stature. Can monitoring tools accurately identify and filter out the real stuff from the fake stuff?

19. Inclusion of Traditional Media - can they blend traditional with social? Given many formal and informal  affiliations with newswire services and PR companies, monitoring companies have blended traditional press and broadcast coverage with that of social media. Do they have both sources? What’s the quality of the traditional stuff like? Do the sources mix well together or is this performance against the lowest common denominator? As an example,  Cymfony’s Maestro platform is able to convert and distill traditional, social and proprietary data into one data pipeline.

20. Quality of Human Analysisdo they have smart diggers and strategists?

When you have a nagging or important problem/opportunity that needs to be wrestled to the ground, is there higher level analysis available on the other end? Do the monitoring companies have conscientious problem solvers? What is that cost? What is the turnaround time? What is the quality of this value-add? Are they credible? Do they present well? Is their periodic editorial review on your data and insights?

21. Expert Analysis and Insight – do they have leading content, platform or industry thought leadership?

For years,Hubspot has created reports that have been helpful in my understanding the broader social web world, they end up being in my “good guy” books based on smart distribution of helpful content. Generally, is your prospective monitoring service seen as a thought leader? Do they issue white papers? Are they seen at the right conferences? Do they provide benchmarking tools? Do they provide insight beyond what was asked in the project brief? Do they suggest ways to improve content relevance?  Do they have strong industry specificity – as in the case of government/NGOs (Media Badger) and finance/corporate valuation industries (Commetric) ?

22. Work flow management - does the tool work in real life environments?

Enterprise adoption of 2.0 is afflicted by functional silos and resistant cultures, your monitoring tool can accelerate this festering sore or eliminate it. Does the tool alert the right people at the right time with the right information? Can you customize the frequency and reason for updates? Does it enable people and organizations to triage information and react quickly? Does it work across multiple departments and multiple geographies? Does it email people alerts? Does it archive the right information?

Social marketing 401 – it doesn’t always exist but boy is it cool when it does…

23. Integration into a CRM Programdoes it integrate with existing relationship management software and outbound marketing efforts?

True optimization of social monitoring would wedge itself into ways companies already work. Learning what you can on the social web and making it speak the same language as existing CRM processes is a huge efficiency and time help. Does it automate some marketing processes? Does it integrate with online communities? and CRM environments? Does it link up call centres?

24. Sentimentdo you know how people feel?

It’s powerful to know in aggregate what people are thinking and feeling about your company. However, some studies have suggested that raw tech analysis can determine 60-65% human sentiment accurately. Is that good enough for you? What is the monitor’s stated accuracy? How much is automated vs. human-aided? What is the speed of insight, particularly in cases when human-aided sentiment analysis is involved? What are the layers of sentiment? Is it merely thumbs up/thumbs down? Are there more comprehensive levels of sentiment parsing? How many languages of sentiment are supported?

25. Integration with other web analytics - can they build a complete picture of your web presence?

By combining your traditional website presence through integrated use of tools like Google Analytics with external monitoring across the web – it gives a good weighting to the Home vs. Away game of your web presence. Do they add this data in? Do each sources of data link with each other?

26. Language Recognition - do they operate effectively globally?

Many of the monitoring providers have language limitations, for global operating companies this provides issues. Can they translate business/brand social coverage? Can they consolidate multi-language feedback?  Attentio’s multilingual monitor gets good marks here.

27. Customization of Solutionscan they build a bespoke solution?

Sometimes it’s a competitive advantage and required functionality to build monitoring tools that have industry-specific or corporate-specific needs in mind. Face’s recent buildout for o2 is a prime example. These needs are likely not cessed out right away but identified over time; ensure the capability is there when you need it.

28. Geo-specific provenancewhere is the buzz being generated?

Although social media tracking can determine the when, who, how and even why reasonably well, it’s not too great at “where” it’s happening.  Two elusive items on our wish list: a) getting to a true country-specific provenance in order to determine nationality of social web content or b) getting to a true local- or city-specific provenance to determine regionalized influence. Most tools determine nationality based on url registration which is notoriously US skewed. Sysomos’ geographic sensing intrigues us here.

29. Dynamic - can it zig when the environment zags?

The social world changes quickly – for perspective, 3 years ago monitoring services might have been tracking MySpace on par with Facebook. Now we have things like Foursquare, Android Apps, Games and new mobile environments to content with. Sprout Social has jumped ahead of the curve and began monitoring location-based checkins from Foursquare and Gowalla.  See if your monitoring service is making progress in developing access and integrating what they do overall with these new environments.

30. Video/Imagecan it measure what is difficult to measure?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I guess a video is worth a million. With file storage costs going through the floor, smartphone and camera video  enablement accelerating and video editing becoming seamless, video has rosy growth prospects. Video is also where most things go viral quickly. It can be tricky to get at this area. Companies like Kantar Analytics and others are specializing and mining these platforms to drive more intelligence from images and footage. Stay tuned, expect the same needs from games, interactive digital signage and hyperlocal sites to surface over the next few year too.

So there you have it, the full list of 30 things to look at with a social monitoring service. Let me know if you would change anything or agree/disagree?

Other suggested posts:

The 30 Things to Consider in Your Social Monitoring Choice – First Half

Wikibrand’s Top 80 Social Monitoring Service Providers

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Category: Uncategorized, Wikibrand Guidebook, Wikibrands Insights

About Sean Moffitt: Managing Director, Wikibrands and President/Chief Evangelist, Agent Wildfire View author profile.

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