In 2010, “online reputation” and “social CRM” were 2 major social media buzzwords
and the list continues to grow as social media becomes an essential part of business. Who would have thought 5 years ago that by 2011 it would be be critical for companies to have at least one Facebook button somewhere on their website ?
As social media marketing has evolved, so, too, has social media monitoring. Large corporations are investing in enterprise solutions that allow them to manage their online reputations and monitor what is being said about their brand(s). For 2011, there are certain trends we detected at Synthesio in the social media monitoring sphere that we wanted to get your thoughts on :
1. The R.O.I. in social media will be a deciding factor for businesses
Marketers working in the social media sphere for several years will say that this is already a reality or that it’s impossible to calculate the R.O.I of social media. In fact, you may have already stopped talking about “social media” and the “social web” and have started talking about the “web”, period, and taking for granted that the web is social. Yet even this month Social Media Examiner said the #1 question companies ask is “How do I measure social media return on investment?” The SmartBrief / Summus Limited surveyed more than 6,000 of its readers from a variety of industries ; only 14.7% answered that their organization is measuring the return on social media investment.
The 2010 Gartner Hype Cycle for social media also suggests that social analytics are reaching their peak in terms of expectations. Business owners have already become disillusioned with social media consulting, and are looking for a financial return.
When we presented several of our social media cases at Monitoring Social Media in Paris in December, the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive ; the attendees had clearly come looking for real-life examples. Just take a look at the number of comments under the (continually growing thread) “Looking for case studies on the successful use of social media to grow a business” if you have any doubts.
Even if they’re not measuring social media, business want to. Jeremiah Owyang asked 140 social media strategists what their number 1 internal and external goals for 2011 are. The #1 response is that business are looking to calculate ROI
However, in order to help businesses understand which monitoring and measuring tools and services are the right ones for them they need more concrete examples of how social media can advance their business. Marshall Sponder is going to help in this regard, as he is currently working on a book about social media monitoring toolsand uses that features case studies à la Forrester Groundswell.
As for social media listening platforms,
2. Listening platforms are going to become increasingly similar
Forrester Research recently released their 2011 Listening Landscape Report, breaking the listening market into 3 different types of platforms :
Social dashboards—Web-based tools that focus primarily on managing and analyzing social media data:
- Crimson Hexagon;
- Radian6; and
Multichannel analytics providers—Analytics infrastructures that mine social media data along with other structured and unstructured data sources:
- Analytics infrastructures;
- Overtone; and
- SAS Institute.
Listening service partners—Vendors with proprietary social analytics tools and professional consulting teams that write custom research reports based on social media data:
- EmPower Research;
- NM Incite;
- Synthesio; and
- Visible Technologies.
Zach Hofer-Shall is also looking at how social media monitoring companies price their services, so as to clear up confusion for buyers. For example, while some companies base their pricing on the number of verbatim (the case of Synthesio), others base their pricing on the number of keywords or the number of seats.
However, as the social web has become a necessity for businesses to thrive, the tools used to measure and monitor are going to converge into similar solutions and services to provide a more homogenous market. Several tool providers have already begun adding service components to complete the tool, although there are still various ways they are going about this (community management, setup, video training, etc.).
Yet, it’s not just the tools and services that companies are going to be looking for in 2011.
Because businesses want proof, they also want stories. Storytelling is going to provide the context that analytical data needs to be relevant for buyers. Graphs, statistics, and charts are exciting for an analyst, but clients need a picture of what they represent in the real world. In their reports, for example, Synthesio analysts always pick out top influencers, trends, conversations, and anecdotes around your brand online to paint a picture of your online presence and reputation. They paint a story to bring online data to life.
And finally, in 2011…
3. Customers will have one voice across all channels
Forrester analyst Bruce Temkin wrote in 2010 that, “Most large North American companies have some type of voice of the customer (VoC) program in place. But most of these programs fall short of fueling customer-centric behaviors.” He points out six components of successful voice of the customer programs :
- culture and alignments
- governance and organization
Not only should a monitoring solution be able to allow you to monitor and analyze conversations around your brand, but there must be ways to respond in a way that stretches across the enterprise. Synthesio developed an engagement platform in 2010 that is currently used by teams like the web consultants we work with at Orange [PDF link], but exciting developments are on the way. More info soon