The social media monitoring and analytics environment is competitive and an open sea of skill sets and services. As was noted in the diversity of the list we provided,  analytics companies can give you anything from hand holding experiences to an completely independent arms length service if that suits your needs.  We had the opportunity to speak with Sheldon Levine from Sysomos on trends, products and the wave of where analytics is headed. Here are his insights on what the myths,  the trends and everything else in the analytics environment.

What is Sysomos all about?

Sysomos is a social media monitoring and analytics company, we are industry leaders because we have deep technical analytics, can delve down to the point of being able to get data from a city level. We use two primary tools,  Map and Heartbeat. Heartbeat is designed to be able to hold the hand of the client and walk them through the usage of tools set up monitoring and engaging shells to work with clients and identify what key terms are and  to refine the data and get to what is specific for the client. It’s a process of continuous refinement until the root of the data is available. Map is  a more ad hoc based research product in which an  overview is provided and the client and use and enjoy it. With Map you can type your subject interest right into program and it will bring back all search results with unlimited search repetitions.

How do you handle the constantly changing environment?

It is difficult to keep up with what’s going on, given the constantly changing environment. For example lets look at Quora. It blew up in January and has since died down but the challenge is determining how to get it into our system, where it falls in categories and the technical challenge of actually adding it into system, since every network operates differently. When a new media tool becomes available you can either purchase the API or you get free access to it and you can stick into your system. Without  the API you have to come up with your own work arounds on how to get these things into the system and it becomes a problem of judging if this new social network is really going to take off.

Talk to us about Facebook for example?

With Facebook  we have limited access to their whole data base. They give you access to public profile status updates, and 4,000 of the most popular fan pages as dictated by them and it can be whatever they deem to be the most popular ones, not necessarily what actually is the most popular. To deal with this, Sysomos has a product add on called Facebook Central which we give you a code to put into your Facebook fan page that then feeds directly into our system so we are able to monitor what is happening on your specific fan page and give you analytics far beyond the Facebook insights they provide including our sentiment analysis.

You even have the ability to do page moderations to delete “buzz words” such as swearing coming onto your page as well as to “flagging a term” which are terms that could be construed as good or bad so you are notified when they appear and you can decide yourself if want it there or not. Facebook is tricky to deal with as it has extensive privacy barriers.

Tell me about the biggest myths in social media analytics?

The biggest one would be the misconception that no matter how long people wait there will never be a silver bullet for how social analytics is done. Everyone is waiting around for someone to create a formula for a specific way to measure your company’s social media and with social media there are so many opportunities for companies do something different that even if you are in the same vertical as your competitors there is never going to be one specific set formula as it’s always a little different for everyone.

Lets talk about mobile, what are your thoughts on where it’s going?

Right now we are trying to figure out how to make mobile analytics work really well so it’ useful to our clients. Currently, we can track if people are accessing twitter through mobile devices vs. through their computer however, mobile is something that is on everybody’s mind we are just trying to determine the best way to make it work for our system.

What would consider the top three industry trends?

1. Mobile which is equivalent to having an entire computer with you in your pocket

2. A  move away from tracking the number of followers and “likes” in analytics. People are moving into the stories of analytics, why did you have all those mentions, what were people were talking about. The stories will start moving the social media world, hard numbers will always be important to business but telling stories through the numbers is bigger.

3. Social capital and influence online. Everyone is trying to figure out how do we measure influence properly, how do we take advantage of these people online so we can influence over the people we would like to target.

Biggest Sins?

People are too focused on followers and fan numbers. The challenge is, when  you get all these followers and numbers but then you don’t really know what to do with them once you get them. Its a matter of understanding your customers, new prospectives and ideas interaction.

What do you see being the future of social media?

It will be a very different social network landscape, there will be new players in the field and old ones will die out or become incorporated in some other way. Mobile is going to be bigger, and being able to analyze it more and in more meaningful ways  will be key. Right now there are 2-3 social media companies opening every week. There is always new competitors but only select few lead and rise above.

Talk to us about ROI?

The best analogy on ROI that I recently read on a blog stated that “everything you do in social media leads to ROI. Listening, communication, service updates from people will  equal more sales. Everything you are doing helps your image and eventually leads to RIO in the end.”  I thought that it was an eloquent way to view it.

Find Sheldon on Twitter @40deuce

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