Companies that want to evolve into truly social enterprises must look beyond tracking keywords and towards building a deeper understanding of the meaning and tone of social conversations in their online reputation management (ORM) strategies.
That's according to Gordon Geldenhuys, head of ORM at authorised Radian6 reseller Acceleration Media. He says that many companies have focused their ORM strategies solely on monitoring social media user activity rather than using ORM to build a clear understanding of the who, what, how and why in social conversations.
"With users creating huge volumes of new data across blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on, organisations are struggling to keep up with the conversation," he adds. "To date, most have contented themselves with discovering conversations, tracking influencers and measuring the sentiment behind them in very basic ways. But there is a rich vein of insight to be mined in social conversations, provided you have the right tools to do so."
Geldenhuys says that most of the metrics that companies are trying to track in the social sphere are more complex and multidimensional than their current tools and processes allow for. For example, a concept like "influence" is not simply measured by the amount of followers or fans an account has. A high-profile doctor may be highly influential talking about medical matters, but less so when he is commenting on stock exchange movements.
Social media posts, meanwhile, need to be tracked beyond looking at whether they are positive, negative or neutral. Companies would benefit if they could easily see which posts ask questions, express wants or needs, flag any problems, and then segment and take action accordingly, Geldenhuys says. "We need to be looking at dimensions such as intent and user demographics in our ORM strategies," he adds.
The challenge to date was that ORM tools were not yet mature enough to gather all of this data and present it in an actionable format for marketers to use. "The sort of technology needed, to take listening and engaging to the next level is complex and specialised," Geldenhuys says. "Natural language processing, text analytics, social audience measurement and social CRM are just some of the technologies one needs in a solution that enables users to achieve a better understanding of the meaning, sentiment and influencers in social conversations."
Radian6 has addressed this challenge by finding best of breed partners such as Klout, OpenAmplify, OpenCalais, Clarabridge, Lymbix, PeekAnalytics Solariat and OpenAmplify, and incorporating their technology into its solution. "This has created an ecosystem for the social enterprise that allows customers to choose the best capabilities for real-time social analysis from trusted providers for their business needs," says Geldenhuys.
Geldenhuys says that the combination of these technologies enables social enterprises to access new actionable data, act on sales and service opportunities in real time, and implement more effective social marketing campaigns. It can fundamentally transform how companies market online, service their customers, generate leads and evolve their product lines.
"Social media has changed and social monitoring must evolve with it," says Geldenhuys. "Social enterprises today need platforms that can not only effectively monitor billions of conversations but also enhance the conversations with meaningful insights - on the authors, sources, and content itself - to get even more value from social data."
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