Social Media Analytics

The Top 13 Tools For Social Media Analysts

As the use of social media grows, so does the need to track and analyze its use. Social media marketers need to understand where their efforts are best utilized on social media platforms. Other analysts and researchers need to understand the overall impact of social media. For this reason, social media analysis tools are emerging. Most tools gather and analyze text data from various social media platforms. Some are platform-centric, while others gather data from a variety of sources. Thirteen of the most awesome tools for social media analysts include: 1. Author Crawler: http://www.tomanthony.co.uk/tools/author-crawler/

Author Crawler is an interesting tool that examines a site’s backlinks and searches for author identification for each link. Reports for the tool list the backlinks, along with the author, their social media membership, their circles and number of followers. This tool utilizes the SEOmoz API and generates easy-to-understand reports. The tool is very useful for understanding the value of each backlink and for follow-up with selected authors. Author Crawler is the only tool that tracks backlinks to author for an analysis of the author’s social media participation.

2. Datasift.com

Datasift is a Twitter analysis tool that examines tweet data in real-time. Datasift also utilizes MySpace and Klout data to create profiles of social media users. Datasift filters and organizes massive amounts of raw social media data and provides output in an understandable form.

3. Openamplify.com

Openamplify is an Natural Language Processing (NLP) analytic engine that processes text to extract valuable knowledge from social media conversations. Openamplify operates within the Insights dashboard. This tool analyzes social media conversations for intent, such as intent to buy, to choose, to sell or to go. The tool picks up social conversations about a particular brand and tracks users discussing their intent with regards to the brand.

4. Opencalais.com

OpenCalais enables authors to submit content and have tags and metadata automatically generated by the tool. The data is then used to enhance SEO for the content. The user may build maps or networks, connecting content with people based on the data. OpenCalais analyzes HTML, XML and text documents.

5. Peekanalytics.com

PeekAnalytics is a Twitter analysis tool. PeakAnalytics identifies the other social media platforms in which Twitter users interact, providing psychographic and demographic insights from Twitter aggregate data.

6. Venuelabs.com

Venulabs distributes software for “storefront listening” for many major brands, including McDonalds, Chevron, Mercedes Benz, Domino’s Pizza and many others. Venulabs tools monitor social media sites, mobile sites and local listings for brand reputation management and analysis.

7. Clarabridge.com

Clarabridge is another company with a host of major brands as clients. These brands include Dell, Marriott, Best Buy, Nissan, and H&R Block, among others. Clarabridge provides “sentiment and text” analysis to capture the tone of social media interactions about specified brands. Clarabridge integrates data from other sources into the analysis, such as data from call centers, email and surveys. Three versions of Clarabridge analysis tools are available for purchase: Enterprise, Professional and Technology/Service Providers.

8. Solariat.com

Solariat finds and filters posts on several social media platform enabling quick response for brand and reputation management. Solariat monitors Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media platforms to enable analysts to quickly identify positive, negative and neutral posts, tweets and comments.

9. Measure.ly

Measurely monitors social media platforms, as well as content marketing initiatives, for social conversations about brands. Results are compiled into an easy-to-read dashboard format with key performance indicators and intuitive graphs. Measurely provides analyses of channels, content and community members to identify where social media marketing efforts are best implemented.

10. Appstats.eu

Appstats is a Facebook-centric tool that is utilized to analyze games and apps on the social media platform. Because many social media marketing campaigns employ the use of Facebook apps and games, this tool is a great way to monitor the popularity of these marketing strategies.

11. Honestly.de

Honestly provides a platform for users to send instant feedback to companies. This interesting tool manages customer contact for companies after the sale of their product or service. The tool is marketed to restaurants, retail, hotels, educational and public institutions, beauty services, event and exhibitions, and healthcare providers.

12. Cageapp.com

Cage App is a collaboration tool that is used by developers and creative content generators, but also works for social media analysts. The tool allows sharing of creative product and provides workflow for the approval process. The tool utilizes Twitter for collecting feedback about a creative work. Interestingly, the app allows the user to instantly create a task from the Twitter feed interface.

13. Fliptop.com

Fliptop markets their tool as a way to turn a social media ID into a complete digital ID with a usable profile. The tool gathers data from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Fliptop serves major brands, including Cigna, Land Rover, Toyota, Volvo and many others.

Radian 6 Review

Radian 6 is social media monitoring software that allows companies and social media marketers to track and analyze their brand’s marketing efforts on popular social networks. Radian 6 provides the user with measurements and metrics of social media marketing campaigns. In addition, the software offers guidelines and best practices for utilizing social networks for business marketing campaigns. Image representing Radian6 Technologies as dep...

 

What is Radian 6?

Radian 6 aggregates data from conversations surrounding a brand. The software provides analyses in real time to enable marketers to adjust their message and target a particular audience within minutes. Radian 6 is a product of Salesforce.com, the well-known cloud-based CRM platform.

The makers of Radian 6 note on the website that the software enables marketers to develop and effective social media strategy that allows the brand to engage with current customers as well as expose the brand to potential customers through making new connections.

Radian 6 is not just one software application. It is a suite of programs that work together to help the social media marketer understand the impact of their marketing efforts on social networks. Radian 6 includes:

* Insights Insights allows the user to track new posts that relate to their brand, but it does not stop with mere tracking of new posts. Insights considers the author, sources and the actual content in the analysis.

* Engagement Console The Radian 6 Engagement Console is the tool that tracks how the brand engages with users on social networks. The Engagement Console is equipped with a workflow module that enables users to route and assign posts to different teams or individuals. Macros may be created to automate workflow within the tool.

The Engagement Console tracks posts across several social networks including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, video sharing sites and more. Radian 6 also allows the assignment of an administrator, or SuperUser, that may enable the console for other users, and/or change permission levels for users. Users may collaborate across teams or departments using the Engagement Console.

The Engagement Console also provides users with the ability to see a snapshot of profile activity. Perform analyses at a glance with an easy to understand graph display that shows post volumes in real time.

* Summary Dashboard The Summary Dashboard provides an easy to read summary of the health of your brand across social media networks. The Dashboard analyzes of post volumes, overall brand sentiment, influencers and demographics of those who are posting about your brand. The Dashboard allows users to perform similar analyses for their competitors, too.

The Summary Dashboard pulls data from other Radian 6 components, such as Insights, to provide a compact view of a brand’s social media performance. The Dashboard is a useful tool for determining the effectiveness of a campaign, as well as developing new strategies for brand exposure.

* The Salesforce Social Hub The Salesforce Social Hub is an automation engine for the Social Enterprise component of Radian 6. The Social Hub features allows users of Radian 6 to track comments and posts in real time. The Salesforce Social Hub provides the user with extensive reporting functionality, historical data and data cleansing. Users may create communities and find brand advocates on the Social Hub, as well.

* Integration with Salesforce Apps Radian 6 seamlessly integrates with other Salesforce applications, such as the Salesforce CRM platform and Jigsaw.

Radian 6 Training The makers of Radian 6 provide many opportunities for training to best utilize the software. Demos and training materials are available on the Radian6.com website. The makers of Radian 6 will also provide private demonstrations of the software upon request. Ebooks, webinars and classes are also available for training users of Radian 6.

Radian 6 Mobile App Radian 6 also provides a mobile app so users may access the Radian 6 platform and tools while on the road. Utilize any mobile device with an Internet browser to access components of Radian 6.

Radian 6 is an all-inclusive social media marketing platform that enables marketers to track and analyze the impact of their brand campaigns across popular social networks. In addition, because Radian 6 is sold as Software as a Service, the price is as scalable as the platform. Depending on the size of account you need Radian 6 can be as cheap as $600/month

Social Media Analytics Book Review

In his Social Media Analytics Book, Marshall Sponder takes you beyond the basics of why social media is important and how to best set up your business’s Facebook page. Instead, in the course of reading this book, you will learn what data you can extract from social media, how to measure that data and how to put those measurements to use no matter what business you are in. This book isn’t specifically written for small business, but many of the ideas and tools covered can be adapted to business ventures of any size. The book explains how marketers and business owners need to understand what kind of information is available and how it can best help their business. Emphasis is placed on deciding what information you want to gain from data before committing to a platform or vendor.

 

The Social Media Analytics Book does a fantastic job of examining the dozens of social media analytic platforms out there and discussing why some of them are more useful than others. Sponder is able to clearly and concisely cover platforms and tools from the perspective of a business owner instead of a computer wonk, saving you hours of frustration and possibly thousands of dollars from poor vendor choices.

Chock full of interviews and fascinating case studies, Sponder’s book provides a clear roadmap for small business owners, executives and everyone in between. He takes the time to interview the developers of various analytic platforms about what their products are designed to do, and then breaks down those interviews into language that the average business person can understand. All of Sponder’s interviews, case studies and arguments are backed up by links to companies and articles that are easily accessed through the book’s digital version.

Throughout this easy-to-read book, the author comes back again and again to how important it is to craft a personal approach to social media for your business. So many vendors make "false claims" and try to lure in the unsuspecting with outlandish sales pitches and unattainable promises, but Sponder gives his readers a guide for separating the quality vendors from the "others".

Anyone looking to up their digital strategy and get the most out of their investments in social media can benefit from this book. With its unblinking look at the state of social media monitoring today, Social Media Analytics is a strong tool for understanding the changing media around us and developing ideas for how to best utilize it going forward.

The book can be found at Amazon (print & digital), Barnes&Noble and most other (online) book shops.

Controlling Buying Habits

Experts studying the field of online purchasing behavior have witnessed a significant change in the way that users connect with online booking websites. In the travel industry the changes from social media can be seen with the big ships such as Expedia and even SMB's such as boutique hotels and niche travel sites. Everyone has to adapt their business model to the social media changes, that are happening right now.

Nothing really new (for the pro readers here), but what's interesting is that the show Eyefortravel.com (April 21st and 22nd 2011) summit focuses on examining consumers’ purchasing habits and predicting how buying habits will change in the future.

It's very interesting to me that the show's organizers understood that the developing changes in the travel industry are centered on communication styles.

The travel industry seems to be especially effected by the interaction of their users through Facebook, Google, FourSquare, GroupOn. Nowadays these social media channels are instrumental in influencing the masses to develop an interest in their business. These new tools also allow a new way to manage productivity such as employee downtimes.

The way conversions happen today is not the same as they used to. The new type of business climate will be run truly by the users and business owners can determine how to keep the company relevant and increase revenue despite what may occur behind the scenes of the business.

2011 is really a big year for many online businesses. You adapt to the newest trends and take every single client important. Otherwise you'll fail rather sooner than later

Finding the right Social Media Analytics platform

I've wanted to write about this for a while, but got so tied up with work and family that I didn't get a chance. As written before, the social media analytics field is becoming more and more mainstream. Since FB cracked the 500 million users (with 150 million alone in the US) it is pretty much obvious for anyone that these eyeballs will get targeted with advertising and there will be a social media analytics industry, which will monitor & analyze all kind of social media.

One of my friends Marshall Sponder, better known as Webmetricsguru started to write a book, which will be published as the "Socialmedianalyticsbook by McGraw Hill in August. Since I spoke with him a bunch of times I can assure anyone, who is looking into evaluating different social media analytics vendors, that his book will be the reference to make that decision. Usually I don't endorse books here, but I've seen how many vendors and tools he's tested and worked with. The book is also less about theory than a practical guide for anyone, who is looking into this new industry. If you are interested, head over to Socialmedianalyticsbook.com or pre-order at Amazon.

Seasonality In Social Media Analytics

These days social media marketing is on everybodys radar and companies are more on more investing money in building out digital Ids and profiles. That`s a constant process, pretty much the same way, that businesses used to build out multiple e-commerce shops or satellite pages in order to capture more traffic from search engines.However, social media analytics, like web analytics back in the day, is still on the back burner and associations or individual social media experts such as Marshall Sponder try to investigate new ways on how to measure and define KPI's ór just Social Media ROI.

I definitely don't have the time to dig in this space (blame my fam), but I believe a highly interesting way to utilize social media analytics is for seasonal online businesses.

Tons of businesses out there rely on seasonality. Be it the bike shop, who only sells in spring, a hotel site or a holiday season gift store. 

1. Seasonal Social Media Volume Monitoring (Trending) Social media volume monitoring  is a quite interesting concept, b/c it something we already do for search, but nobody really looked into it for social media. Companies, which rely on seasonality on search, most see a similar trend on social media over time and marketers should be aware of it. A good example is HalloweenExpress.com, an online halloween costume store, which employees should look into the conversation about their keywords over a longer period of time rather than just pulling the past 30 days out of Twitter (a common practice). A good marketers knows when the disscussions peak ahead and react pro-active.

In the case for Haloweenexpress the conversation starts end of September and early October..itensifies about a week before Halloween and shows a sudden drop 2-3 days after the Halloween party is over. Social media analytics basically showed that viral campaigns are peaking about 1 week before Haloween. A viral campaign therefore should be started even earlier in order to give enough time for the campaign to spread across social media and the web.

2. Brand & Product & Public Relations vs. "What's hot" monitoring Monitoring brand or product terms over time is another important aspect, which should be monitored over time. Social media analysts however often forget to adapt campaigns and look for new themes, which are peaking on social media. Monitoring "kids costumes", "animal costumes" and other terms are effecient, but hot trends, which have incredible revenue potential are missed. Be it the "double rainbow costume" or the "Pauly D Jersey shore costume":

3. Seasonal Sentiment analysis Analyzing the sentiment is one of the most difficult tasks and most companies still need to rely on humans in order to double-check the results from automated sentiment APIs. It gets even more difficult when it comes to the overall sentiment of a site. Blog or the commenters of blogs tend to have their own way to interact and reputations can be destroyed by just being mentioned on an overall negative site or forum.  Running sentiments over time on a site level is something that is often forgotten, but should be included in everybodies social media analysis. 

4. Engagement across all media Social media analytis with a season aspect should not only be used to cover the ground on social media, but also feed the marekting efforts across search and even print, TV or radio. Figuring out what's currently hot and utilzing the data to run cross-channel campaigns can be incredible powerful. A "double-rainbow costume" promoted even in the off-season across channels can have a huge impact on sales.

5. Seasonal Social media analytics and search engine optimization An interesting concept, but often forgotten is instant search engine optimization by utilizing social media analytics data. Creating discussions, baiting links or just replying to mentions can be an incredible powerful way to create powerful links and keep the brand in the eye of search engines as well as users.

Overall seasonality in social media analytics is something, which should never be underestimated when it comes to social media monitoring and engagement. Using the competitiveness of the instant push of news towards a marketing team can have not only quick results, but also help in the long-term to establish a business.

Sysomos Acquired by Marketwire

As rumors ran rampant just the day before, Sysomos heightened the mystery by refusing to make any comment. It has now been revealed that the rumors are true – Sysomos has been acquired by Marketwire for an estimated $35 million.

Statements were made forthwith by representatives of both companies.

Michael Nowlan, president and CEO of Marketwire said of the deal, “This is a critical step in our integrated communication solution strategy. To date we have been a leader in providing our clients with ways to reach out to their key audiences by innovating the publishing and distribution of news releases. The rapid changes in communications as a result of social media now make it imperative to immediately understand the impact of outbound messaging: what happens to it, what’s the reaction to it, and how is it used to evaluate and strategize future messages?”

President and co-founder of Sysomos stated, Nick Koudas’ statement hints that the deal couldn’t have been better. “There is a natural fit and synergy between Marketwire and Sysomos. Our common goal is a customer-centric approach in applying technology to meet the challenges of communicating in an ever-evolving environment,” Koudas said.

Sysomos like a few other players such as Radian6 or Reputationobserver has been a pioneer in the social media monitoring business. The company began as a research project led by professor Koudas at the University of Toronto, beginning in 2005. It was officially incorporated two years later. Sysomos has made a business of monitoring all public communications and conversations across the most popular social media sites in order to analyze the status and reputation of a brand amongst the brand’s customers in an uncensored forum.

Marketwire is a press services company, working to distribute new press releases. They plan to use Sysomos technology in order to expand their business into the increasingly important social media services. This way, they can measure brand reputations and popularity with the masses in order to more specifically define the best ways to implement social media messaging alongside its usual wire services.

With the viral quality that word-of-mouth provided through social networking, news distribution can be more narrowly targeted and matched with those who would be interested in seeking more information through other forms of media. This trend is not new, as bloggers have already been recognized as important sources of spreading information quickly and efficiently.

Sentiment Extraction Algorithm vs. Social Media Analytics Vendors

I've been toying around with various social media analytics vendors over the past years and been finding a lot of these tools often not too useful. Even the expensive social media analytics tools and reputation management analyzers are not really as good as I expect them to be. After heaving a brief discussion with Marshall Sponder, who is one of the most well-known social media analysts, I have to agree with him that a. organizations (too often) don't care about numbers & b. in depth analysis takes enormous resources,which is something startups or medium sized companies cannot provide.

Regarding a. it's unfortunate, but a lot of organizations are built around positive news. Nobody wants to hear the negative or even neutral findings, which often come out of a social media analytics report. Obviously this has to do with responsibilities, hierarchies and other company politics, which is probably material for a PHD thesis and not for a post on a mediocre blog (such as this one). At the end inconvenient news and numbers are too often thrown away. Be it the incapability of re-acting or just the complexity of the results.

The other problem I've noticed with social media analytics is the "deep web" and the limited resources of social media analytics vendors. One of the largest issues here is the variety of web pages and the different technologies of the search engines. Regarding the deep web....it is incredible complex to crawl as well as parse websites (unless there is RSS and Co.).

That all being said... what's more & more important are sentiment extraction algorithms of the big search engines. Search engines analyze reviews of products/services themselves, weigh these results and then display the results (hopefully) accordingly in the SERPs. This means that social media analytics system have barely a chance to identify the reach of a review, which has been posted.

I am sure all the above said will be something, that companies such as Reputationobserver and other startups are working on. We'll probably see over the next few years if we come closer of understanding the always evolving social & "old school" world wide web.

Reputationobserver - Social Media Analytics Workflow Management

Managing business and personal reputation, once the province of public relations, has increasingly moved online, and this has led a number of firms to specialize in managing reputation in the online universe. In the early days of online reputation management, companies focused on monitoring search results and trying to move positive results up in search rankings. As the social web has grown, firms have begun to pay more attention to blogs, review sites and services like MySpace and Facebook. Reputation Observer offers services designed to track and manage online business and personal reputations. But not only that. The highly complex way of sentiment analysis is managed in a different way than most other tools (which heavily rely on 2-3 different Sentiment API vendors).

FEATURES

Reputation Observer, despite the somewhat passive implication of its name, positions itself as “a revolutionary way of tracking, measuring and repairing your brand or name online.” It breaks its services down into a variety of features, including:

Monitoring. Reputation Observer promises to provide constant monitoring of search, social media and other online media outlets.

Protection. With what it terms “intelligent online media protection,” Reputation Observer offers to analyze, control and protect your brand or your personal reputation.

Reputation building. This feature promises to enhance your reputation and to counteract negative information online.

Social web integration. Earlier tools that were applied to reputation were often specialized variants of the strategies used for search engine optimization. As a result, they focused on enhancing the content of search results. Reputation Observer covers this as well, but it also monitors blogs, review sites and forums, and adds tracking of specific sites that it considers critical to online reputation, including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and Orkut.

Social Media Worflow management.  Social Media  Analytics enterprise workflow-management for small and large organizations.

Alerts. Customers are notified by email, text or phone of events considered critical.

COSTS

Reputation Observer does not disclose the cost of its services on its web site. Links on both the US and international sites  seem to point to sources of additional information point instead either to blog posts about online reputation tracking and management, or to a contact form whereby a prospective client may request further information.

The services are offered in a tiered system that segments online media into those considered more or less difficult to manage. A similar hierarchy separates those media according to the identity of the client, assigning different levels of importance to different media for businesses and individuals.

EFFECTIVENESS

Reputation Observer lays out a reasonably complete menu of services and it's effectiveness is well-known in the web industry. Especially for corporations operating in international markets Reputationobserver's  unique approach of high-end technology paired with an objective human social-media rating system is highly effective.