2 Critical Ways to Improve Social Media Monitoring Tools

July 23, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Consulting, Developers, Mobile, Monetization, Social Media

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the value of social media monitoring tools in brand and marketing campaign management.  Having now demoed a number of social media monitoring solutions, I’ve realized that while there are a lot of great tools out there, there is still a lot of opportunity for product improvement – especially around mobilization and social media response.

One of the main deficiencies I’ve seen in so many of these tools is that it is difficult (or impossible) to respond to conversations people are having about your brand from within the social media monitoring dashboard.  I’ve not seen a tool that both allows you to simultaneously see conversations across multiple social networks AND also react to those conversations by posting photos, status updates, etc. across one or more social networks at the same time.  Imagine how much time you could save if you could disseminate the same video, photo, or status update across Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter – simultaneously.  Sure, there are plenty of times when you’ll want to differentiate your message across social networks, but being able to simultaneously upload multiple collateral across social networks would be really useful at times – especially around specific events or promotions.

This brings me to a related thought, which is that social media monitoring should be possible from anywhere – not just from a desk.  And, yet, none of the social media monitoring tools I’ve seen have a decent mobile interface.  If you’re a public-facing executive, marketer, or PR professional with multiple social profiles and you travel regularly, you should be able to see what people are saying about your brand in real-time, regardless of where you are.  You should also be able to respond to conversations and post pictures and videos of your adventures across multiple sites from your mobile phone, without having to manually log on to the WAP sites for multiple social networks.  Every social media monitoring tool worth paying for should provide a mobile interface that allows users not only to read what people are saying about their brand online but respond to it- be it on a specific social network or across multiple social networks simultaneously.  Besides being hugely useful, adding a mobile interface to social media monitoring tools, could provide social media monitoring tools vendors with a great source of additional subscription revenue.

It struck me recently that ShoZu might be able to help social media monitoring companies that don’t have a mobile or 2-way interaction interface.  ShoZu is one of my consulting clients, and it makes an award-winning social media aggregation tool that facilitates two-way interaction (upload and download) with multiple social networks at the same time from your mobile phone, computer desktop, or the web.  In the year and half that I’ve done business development for ShoZu, no one has approached me to leverage this technology for social media monitoring.  And, yet, it seems to me to be an ideal way for social media monitoring vendors to deliver cross-platform publishing and mobile capabilities to its users.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this idea.

I’d also like to hear your thoughts on where social media monitoring tools can be improved and get your insight any social media monitoring tools I’ve missed that both:

  • have a robust mobile interface and
  • allow users to simultaneously post photos, videos, and status updates across multiple social networks.
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  • Kara

    I think you’re really on to something with having the ability to respond to conversations people are having about your brand, but I would assume that sites like Facebook wouldn’t want to open up the floodgates for advertisers to start massively responding to conversations. On the other hand, I would hope that these social networks may be open minded about this type of option as it may be a great new channel to monetize with by charging the advertiser to respond to social media users in this way.

  • Kara

    I think you’re really on to something with having the ability to respond to conversations people are having about your brand, but I would assume that sites like Facebook wouldn’t want to open up the floodgates for advertisers to start massively responding to conversations. On the other hand, I would hope that these social networks may be open minded about this type of option as it may be a great new channel to monetize with by charging the advertiser to respond to social media users in this way.

  • opinionwatch

    Excellent vision of what's coming next in the world of social media monitoring. From monitoring to actually management tool, i can only think of Buzz Stream, enabling pr agencies to store bloggers' contacts, handle messaging, monitor online conversations and keep track of it. Maybe you've already tested it (?).
    To answer your question about posting content across multiple social networks, Tubemogul.com happens to be a very complete free solution for video content. For multiple bookmarking, onlywire.com is very helpful too but doesn't allow you to have a specific approach on twitter, although you might want to add #hashtags to your text.

  • Hey there Lisa,

    Thanks for all your thinking on social media monitoring functionality. Always cool to hear new ideas. I know with Radian6 we already include the ability to respond to posts/tweets/comments etc. from within the dashboard and from our sidebar (launched from our email alerts). The focus is one engaging on the site where the discussion is happening at the time. I can see where there may be interest in sharing that response in other spots on occasions but for me at least (since we use our own platform to monitor and engage for Radian6) it hasn't been a priority. Still worth thinking about further.

    I like your thoughts on mobile listening and engaging. I personally have the ability to do this with my iPhone using our alerts and sidebar functionality (via the phone's web browser) but streamlining this would help even further for sure. We'll have to check out what Shozu is all about as well. Sounds interesting.

    Again, thanks for the feedback on SMM apps in general. Always great to hear feedback from the community on ways to continue to enhance functionality.

    Cheers.
    @davidalston
    Radian6

  • I agree completely with your points. We've noticed a growing emphasis from our clients on being able to both monitor and respond to social media communications.

    I haven't thought about the need to post one piece to multiple channels at once; I think one of the powerful pieces of social media strategy is that it allows for one-on-one engagement.

    What we HAVE done in our response application is allow for “templates” to be created, so that if you are responding to people with basically the same question, you can just push a button and respond with a template vs. having to retype the same answer over and over again.

    Our clients are also starting to look at applications for UGC reuse – for example, if someone posts a technical fix on an expert forum, to be able to pull in that fix and add it to a company's formal eService knowledgebase.

    -Catherine H van Zuylen
    Attensity

  • Pingback: 15 Social Media Posts of the week | Technihub()

  • marksysomos

    Lisa,

    Those are both excellent ideas, which I think will be integrated within social media monitoring tools in the not-too-distant future. The ability to respond/engage with people within the dashboard would be embraced as a way for companies to be more responsive and efficient when it comes to their social media strategies.

  • margaretfrancis

    We have definitely heard from customers that they want the ability to respond to social media from within the Scout Labs application. Some of the companies we work with have their own business process/ tools for responding, which require integration with Outlook or Kana or some other platform and they do not want to change, but they are not the majority. Some people are using apps like FriendFeed to publish statuses across platforms, or CoTweet to manage a corporate Twitter account, but that is about individuals within an organization optimizing their personal productivity, not the wholesale adoption of a publishing platform.

    I suspect part of the reason none of the “social media monitoring” providers has made this an intense area of focus and automation is that there is a very real tension between trying to create efficiencies for marketers, as spokespeople for their brands who need to publish across platforms, and the philosophical bent of the social media movement, which emphasizes unique one-to-one interactions. The middle way is still a communal work in progress.

  • From a customer service or PR crisis management perspective direct engagement certainly has value and can be very fruitful. But for brands who’s focus is on looking forward (brand planning, strategic direction, etc.) it’s not always a priority. If you’re looking for deeper analytics and trends over time as opposed to brand mentions the nature of the tool you need will have a slightly different focus.

    If you’d like to check out an alternative to pure monitoring tools let me know. At Networked Insights we’re focusing on deeper analytics and trend discovery and I think you might find it interesting.

    Great discussion!

    thanks,
    Alex Fortney
    Networked Insights
    @alexfortney

  • From a customer service or PR crisis management perspective direct engagement certainly has value and can be very fruitful. But for brands who's focus is on looking forward (brand planning, strategic direction, etc.) it's not always a priority. If you're looking for deeper analytics and trends over time as opposed to brand mentions the nature of the tool you need will have a slightly different focus.

    If you'd like to check out an alternative to pure monitoring tools let me know. At Networked Insights we're focusing on deeper analytics and trend discovery and I think you might find it interesting.

    Great discussion!

    thanks,
    Alex Fortney
    Networked Insights
    @alexfortney






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