Yesterday I attended the Social Media World Forum Europe at Olympia and there was definitely a recurring theme: Social Media Monitoring or Buzz Monitoring as its more commonly referred to. There was over 45 exhibitors, of which there were 10 or more companies offering buzz monitoring services, varying in focus but all providing services allowing tracking of mentions and analysis of that data.
Some of the biggest names in the business were there too, from the nice guys and girls of Brandwatch and Awareness to Conversocial and Meltwater. As at any expo, they were flaunting their wares, promoting the benefits of using their platform over others but all provided some great insights.
Many of the talks surrounded the issues of Buzz Monitoring, with Yomego giving a great ‘Practical Guide to Reputation Monitoring’ that provided some valuable information as to what to listen to, what to track and what to ignore. Many attendees participated in the discussions as talks were usually opened to the floor, with questions coming via Twitter using #smwfq, (have a look at this tag and you’ll see activity was very frequent). There was also a twitterwall keeping everyone up-to-date with statements from speakers to some amazing insights from attendees (hint, hint!)
Some of the key facts that I gained from speaking with various exhibitors and listening in on talks was that for any social media campaign to work it must be integrated with all other marketing objectives. It was obvious from some of the questions asked by business owners that they have created profiles on Twitter and Facebook as well as other social communities but are struggling to gain any real value from these channels. It seemed this was mostly due to the fact that they had not tied in any KPI’s to using these tools, or even decided what they want to achieve from using the social platforms.
It is imperative that for companies to gain value from social media campaigns they must decide what they want to get out of it, before creating profiles or embarking on building social communities. But social media is still in its infancy, as Paul Armstrong of Mindshare said that companies must test, test and test some more as there is still no ‘Holy Grail’ for social media ROI. Yet Steve Richards of Yomego gave a great statistic of:
“82% of social media strategies at multinational companies said they will be investing in social media monitoring in 2011”.
So companies obviously want to know what is being said about them but, what do you listen to?
The art of listening is difficult in the world of social because of the amount of ‘noise’ generated each minute. Which is why there were so many companies offering buzz monitoring solutions, but how do you distinguish between relevant and non-relevant mentions of your brand or company? The level of sentiment analysis is what differentiates buzz monitoring solutions for me, but the biggest point I picked up from SMWF was that no matter how accurate the buzz monitoring tool says they are, it will never replace human analysis. No tool can handle sarcasm, which is why any decent agency will always manually analyse mentions of the brands they monitor (yes, that’s right, that’s exactly what we do here!).
Analysis of what’s being said about your brand is crucial if you want it to grow, as it will give you a vital insight as to what you’re consumers and followers think of you, how they refer to you, all of which will aid future social media campaigns. So finding the right buzz monitoring tool is critical. Or you could just talk to us here at iThinkMedia and we’ll do it all for you!
I had to share this with you to, although not overly related, but I had an awesome homemade burger for lunch from the guys at The Albion pub. Highly recommended if you visit Olympia!