Judging from the amount of stuff that we wrote, it’s obvious that B2Bento had a great time during the recently concluded Social Media World Forum Asia. It was a hectic mix between meeting great people, hearing influential minds speak about social media (and the impact that it has on almost everything), and just plain unadulterated fun. During that time we made two wonderful interviews which were shot along the sidelines of SMWF Asia 2010. This is the second video (of two) that we filmed.
In this exclusive interview, we have Anshul Jain (CEO, ThoughtBuzz) talking about the relevance and impact of monitoring social media metrics, the politics of engagement and how ThoughtBuzz differs from the available tools that are present in the market.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video are the personal views of the interviewee and and do not necessarily represent the philosophy or viewpoints of their organization or clients.
Transcript of the Interview
My name is Anshul Jain and I’m the CEO of ThoughtBuzz. ThoughtBuzz is a social media monitoring solution which helps companies track (online) the things that people say about their brand, their products, their CEO or their customer service over the various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and forums as well as news coverage.
Why use ThoughtBuzz?
There are lots of tools available but among the things that set us apart is that we offer greater APAC coverage. A lot of tools say that they offer Asia-Pacific content and track APAC but what we have observed and seen is that this is not the case. A lot of these tools don’t offer comprehensive coverage. For us, we tend to cover 90% of sources all over Asia whether it’s on Twitter or on any blog / forum for that matter. Our local market coverage is definitely one of the things that our clients like about us.
Second is that we have multiple-language capability. Some tools offer that yes but many still don’t. And thirdly, we offer a lot of integration services with our API. Some of our clients use our API to integrate it with their existing dashboards. For example, you know how company brand managers have ten (or more) different dashboards to look at and they no longer want to log-in to another dashboard to check things out. By integrating our API, they get their data but they don’t need to login to our dashboard.
Facebook has two parts … private and public. When I said that we can track Facebook, I meant only the public part of it. We don’t track the private aspect because privacy integration steps over a lot of issues. Fortunately, most of the fan pages and brand pages are public and more people are making their profile pages public in terms of their walls and status updates. It’s improving but most of the Facebook users are still behind the privacy wall so we cannot track them through that.
Social Media and Metrics
If you are asking me what is the right time for a company to start looking at social media (and monitoring and measuring it), I don’t think that there is a specific time when you want to launch a social media campaign if you are looking to drive leads and things like that. But you should always listen. I think it is important for every company whether you are B2B or B2C.
Listening should always be turned “on”. You never know when things will snowball into a crisis (even if you are not at fault) simply because the information and messages are not in your control. People can post anything they want. Of course monitoring is important when you are looking at social media in terms of driving more people to your website or in terms of running campaigns.
There is no defined time for doing social media. For example, there is exact time wherein it is specified that you should only do it during campaigns or only on a project basis. What we suggest is that you should always be monitoring your brand and your major products (at least).
Top things to monitor and measure
Brand name, product name (the product which makes the company the most money) and the CEO. These are the things which I think a company should definitely keep track of.
The important parameters
Mentions is good to know as you can see a spike in things when you make an announcement (for example) but sentiment is also very important in terms of knowing whether people are talking good things or bad things about you. And finally, the context of conversations (which we refer to as topics) is also important. Yes you already have mentions and sentiments, but at the end of the day if you don’t know what those things (especially sentiments) are actually about, it will have a definite effect on your campaign. You should always be aware of the context of conversations within all these data that are available on social media.
When do you engage?
I think a lot of brands engage their customers or consumers without having a specific purpose in mind. Of course the idea is to drive sales, but the problem is that there is no end goal. A lot of times brands engage when there are specific campaigns or contests being run on social media platforms but there is no specific timeline for engagement. Of course it is very important when there is a crisis or when you are running a contest but you consumers expect you to engage with them in this information age. If you don’t they would wonder “why is this brand not engaging with me while every other brand is at least trying to.” Engagement is part of strategy. You must engage with consumers sooner or later.
Why is ThoughtBuzz great for PR?
In terms of when a company pushes out investor results or when a company announces press releases, our product gives you a way to check out where the press release has gone, where it is floating and the extent of the reach. A lot of times companies are now releasing social media press releases to target specific social media users, bloggers, etc. to make them go higher on Google search results. That’s also another way we help companies track how much reach or (in marketing terms) how many views your social media press release has generated. And of course, we provide general monitoring of your brand in terms of where feedback is coming from and who is talking about you.