Most organizations, including large corporations and government bodies, struggle to keep up with what's being talked about them on social media. Many of them still use very basic mechanisms like search-based alerts or in some cases just basic twitter clients to monitor various sources.
Now while we always maintain that a technology is just an enabler and no guarantee of success, the fact is that technology does play an important role in social media monitoring and it can be worth your while to invest in dedicated tools here.
So the question arises: When should you deploy specialized tools as opposed to using basic monitoring techniques?
Remember that huge amount of conversations happen on the social web. Many of these are about brands and companies. Consumers discuss and share their experiences – both good and bad about specific brands. For a digital marketer, these conversations provide a huge treasure trove of valuable information. For governments these conversations provide a view into what people are talking about in terms of policies and related things.
Social Media Monitoring and Intelligence (SMMI) tools allow you to monitor these conversations, analyze and develop deeper insights, and ultimately engage more effectively.
Within that wide spectrum, here's some specific use cases:
- You want to know what people are discussing about your brand
- Benchmark your offerings with your competitors
- Gather feedback on your offerings
- Resolve customer complaints and handle customer service
- Gather competitive intelligence
- Find our who influence your brands
- Increase leads
- Run campaigns
- Manage reputation
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and remember that not every enterprise requires the full spectrum of Monitor-Intelligence-Engage. And certainly no single vendor can handle every use-case effectively.
But in almost every case, these tools offer much more than what you can achieve using manual techniques. For example, they crawl variety of content sources and create their index. In many cases, vendors actually purchase this as a service from content providers . Once they have raw data, vendors carry out basic data management activities such as identifying spam, de-duping content, and normalizing data. From this repository, you then create your own sample space or a dataset. You create this by generating queries and once you have your relevant dataset, you can start monitoring or analyzing it.
We evaluate the key SMMI offerings, including Attensity, Attentio, Oracle Collective Intellect, Salesforce.com Radian6, SDL SM2, Sysomos, and Visible Technologies and compare them head to head in our Digital Marketing Technology Report.
Here's another valuable resource: an article published in Indian business magazine Businessworld, co-authored by Mala Bhargava that summarizes this marketplace (disclaimer: I am quoted in this article). Mala concludes by saying "With Indian firms beginning to seriously use social tools, proper evaluation is imperative."
Regardless of where your enterprise resides we can of course help.