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Just Another Social Monitoring Tool?

Just Another Social Monitoring Tool?

Not just another social media monitoring tool

I’m writing this post on an iPhone whilst watching Arsenal trail 2-1 to Stoke, a testament to the interconnected world we inhabit today. A world where we can interact w/ our networks from virtually anywhere, a world where the old constraints of modems and hard wired cables in a phone socket are but a bemusing memory of a place left alone in the roadmap of time.

Back then we usually had to wait before reading a response to a post or a comment. Facebook and Twitter, the proliferation of other nkotb like foursquare, gowalla, brightkite et al were just twinkles in the eye of their respective founders. Today all are becoming a mainstay of the online world, acting as sharepoints for the herds that flock to the power of their distributive connectivity; full of people chattering and networking, discussing themes and topics of their everyday lives. Lets face it, it’s nothing short of a technological social revolution; the web how it should be, as envisaged by the technerd visionaries striving to push it all that little bit further.

As a result of all this, quite a few of us have got excited by the opportunities that this activity presents. Never before has it been so easy to connect w/ people in their ‘moment’ never before has it been possible to identify so very quickly, people who are talking about you, your brand or topics and products important to your interests. The whole proliferation of listening tools that have sprung up is testament to the hunger and appetite for finding new ways of measuring, interacting and building relationships w/ those of import.

In terms of the tools available we have a wide and awesome array. Some do a good job and some simply overwhelm. Of the hardcore tools I’ve used I must confess that some ( even for a tech head like me ) provided too much. There weren’t any that I knew of that enabled me to simplistically look at a couple of important web nodes ( the blogosphere and Twitter ) and not only listen and monitor, but respond to, and share internally, to identify and classify as a CRM or Sales opp, a Marketing or Crisis management issue. All did lots of things really well, but none offered the kind of things I was interested in at a one stop shop.

See for me, at a keyword brand or product conversation level, there usually exists a need. A need to find, a need to share, grow, love, hate, acquire, enquire, inspire even – people tend to talk about such things in blogs, social status updates or forums w/ niche followings or interests. Brands especially can no longer rely on traditional offline media to build brand, neither can they depend on law to silence vociferous detractors, the option of sitting back and allowing conversations to develop w/ no awareness of or engagement w/ is a recipe for soon to be disaster.

Yet honing all that down and acquiring meaningful insight into such events, in the absence of some uber web understanding was and for many still is incredibly difficult. Could crowd sourcing and the wisdom of the masses hold the key?

You betcha! I didn’t know the stats to hand but I took a punt and said if anything of import is happening in the world today then it’s likely to appear in a blog a forum or in Twitter somewhere. With a little pipery and Tommy Cooper jush like thatery I was pretty sure that I could build something that not only allowed people to do the traditional response thing, but to also begin to understand some of the DNA beneath. The ability to identify friends and foes, the ability to extract positive or negative external references, the ability to measure the relative power and importance of what those referenced nodes were about. The ability to segment and take snapshots in time. Actionable insights into cause and effect. How f*#^%in cool to be able to say, right – we launched product x or initiative y and this is how the world/continent/country/region/town responded. These are the people who influenced things, these are the places where it happened and this is where we need to do better.

Of course in terms of the whole GEO thing it’s still early days but, wow, what an exciting time for both marketers and consumers. Anyone who even half gets this stuff who fails to feel the power needs to pack it in tomorrow.

Ok, so yes – it isn’t oauth yet ( I got this thing called a day job) it isn’t beautiful on the eye, it needs a bit more ajaxification, it needs a little negative matching and a few more reporting options (pretty PDFs anyone) but it’s getting there. I hope you give it a try and if you find it useful, support the effort 🙂



Sent from an iPhone

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios

8 thoughts on “Just Another Social Monitoring Tool?

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  3. Sam

    When you talk about people in the “moment” I think that's pretty cool. That's why I think twitter is so powerful, because you can get everything in real time as it happens in the “moment”.

  4. alanmitchell

    Hi Rob,

    Nice post Rob – especially considering it was written from an iPhone 🙂

    You're right – we are still a long way away from a 'one stop shop' tool for social media monitoring and management.

    We aren't short of metrics – countless tools out there provide scales, ratios, scale ratios, ratio scales, but like you said, the gold isn't just in number-crunching but in quickly and easily identifying ways to connect with your audience and actually make a difference.

    Avinash Kaushik, in his Web Analytics 2.0 book, talks about the importance of 'actionable' insight – the importance of being able to identify whether changes in Twitter followers or an increase in blog comments is a CRM or Sales opportunity, or a marketing or crisis management issue (as you point out). We may not yet be able to accurately determine exactly how and why town Y responded to product X, but considering how social media is relatively new as an industry, and considering how far we are still away from true PPC optimisation after all the years PPC has been around (look at some of the poor examples of PPC ads I found in a supposedly saturated travel market… ), I don't think we've made poor progress.

    I think as we better define what social media actually is, and how businesses can use it to make a difference, we'll find that socia media tools offering actionable insight will only continue to evolve.


  5. robwatts

    Hey mate – just seen this comment! How you doing man, nice to see you 🙂

    I couldn't disagree with any of that. Actionable insight is the key across all sectors. It even sounds a little state the obvious, but its surprising the number of people who miss 'the trick'

    You're over here soon aren't you? We'll have to have a beer!


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