How sociable & blog monitoring

An example of a social network diagram.Image via WikipediaHowsociable is a nice resource, which gives you an overview of your presence within the “social sphere”. It is another version of the tools that I talked about here. You set up your brand/terms that you want to track and it then updates you with an e-mail giving you what the chatter has been about yourself on blogs, social networks and the interwebs at large. You can drill down into the different areas and see how things have changed over time too.

This whole “buzz measurement” has progressed quite a way from searching on technorati, and there are a number of services in this area being offered (and if I look at my inbox I see a lot of proposals coming in from companies offering these services). It’s an interesting bridge between PR and online marketing (which is where I think a lot of social media outreach fits). The immediate application of finding people who are talking about your product (or related) and being able to join in the conversation allows you to put your message out in front of an audience that is interested in the topic. This isn’t advertising, so a third party recommendation tends to resonate well with the audience. As best practice dictates; identify yourself and be honest.

The other great application of these is for fire-fighting. Inevitably there will be an issue with your product or service, and people will talk about it. You would rather be involved in the conversation, apologise and allow your perspective to be heard.

Thirdly its great customer research, people are in their natural environment and will say what they naturally believe as opposed to a more forced response from a questionnaire of focus group.

The conversation is going to be happening, whether you are involved or not. It is better that you are knowledgeable about what people are talking about, and have the ability to react rather than not knowing what is going on.
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social networking as a force for change

I get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye when I see people working together on the internet to make a change. I’m not sure if that’s some kind of hippy notion (I do have a beard) ,a joy in the power of the internet or a desire to become a politician, nevertheless I saw two stories recently that pressed these buttons (similar to the Digg story I blogged about previously). In the Uk Cadbury’s has been convinced to bring back the Wispa bar after social networking groups were created in favour of the chocolate bar. Similarly HSBC has been convinced to stop charging interest on student loans after a Facebook group was set up to complain about this new practice. Both of these occurred as a result of newspapers picking up on the phenomenon and then making it part of the discussion, so i don’t think it’s the power of the social networking to actually spread the word virally, but it does showcase that there is some interest in the story and that people feel sufficiently motivated to do something about it. it does show the power of social networking to galvanise some like minded people and then provide the platform to link them together. from there your challenge is to publicise the support that you have, which so far hasn’t proved to be too challenging.
either way, it works, i think there is opportunity for a number of initiatives within it for mobilising things on a grassroots level, politically, socially or even some canny brand to come up with an issue that fits with their attributes.