Social Media Monitoring – How to Choose (2)

via WebMetricsGuru » Synthesio Social Media Monitoring – a brief review.

by Marshall Sponder on February 27, 2010:

“Had not planned on writing a review of Synthesio tonight but after talking with and “seeing”  Michelle Chmielewski, Synthesio’s Community Manager, on the Agency Video for Synthesio,  figured now was a good time to write some brief but nice things.

There are so many platforms that are in this space, evolving quickly and until recently I was not aware of Synthesio or what they had to offer.   In the last two weeks I have had meetings with Synthesio (virtual, via Skype),  Brandtology (skype) and HotGrinds (in person, with Claude Vogel and Mark Dingle) and my mind is almost exploding with all the information that is coming in – and I like it that way, but sometimes, it is overpowering – but again,  I like that way.

Still, one thing all three platforms have in common – Synthesio, Brandtology and HotGrinds – besides their odd names (for example, I have a real problem pronouncing “Synthesio”) is they all provide “flashy” dashboards that are customized for each client and they all rely on human vetting of the data a customer sees. Another thing they seem to have in common is large Multinational Corporations among their clients who are willing to pay for data that is cleaned up and categorized by humans.   Prime Research has much the same thing – perhaps even more so.   I haven’t written about Brandtology yet – awaiting on their permission to use images from our meeting and on HotGrinds – I may have an update and post on then soon.

It seems there really is a low end, middle ground and high end in Social Media Monitoring – and Jeremiah Owyang may have said much the same thing in his post recently on Social Technology Buyers Matrix: Broad vs Specialized vs Do It Yourself.

From my point of view – the low end is the free tools that anyone can use, some are more sophisticated than others but can do some amazing monitoring if you don’t need a high degree of precision.   In the low end are some tools that are power but are inexpensive enough, and simple enough, that any one can use them or afford them like Viral Heat.   Someone who chooses the low end tools may just want a  quick answer or maybe they are not sure what they want – and are just searching around and are willing to take the insights such tools can offer as they come.

The middle ground is filled with do it yourself type platforms for analysis such as TechrigyRadian6Scout Labs, BrandWatch, Biz360Sysomos, etc.   The middle ground platforms let you explore social media monitoring on your own but are generally much more enabled than the free stuff you can get a hold of.  But the middle ground is full of platforms that don’t agree with each other in even the most fundamental measures of amplitude of messaging and sentiment of messaging – and they are often not easy to customize to the particular needs of anyone’s organization but can do well in a number of settings, as long as you don’t mind putting in extra work and time to set them up with specific requirements.

Then there is the “high end” tools – the ones that humans help to filter – like Synthesio and Brandtology – they are for organizations that want data structured very cleanly and in just such a way as it will be useful to them – plus the companies that use it are willing to pay $$$$$$ to get a custom dashboard with data following in that they can immediately act on.

So … what does Synthesio offer that makes them special?

There’s a “Flash” Demo that shows you want the product might be like for a client once it’s live – I compared Honda, Audi and Toyota in Italy – I wasn’t offered the US as an option for this demo but I did see Synthesio is offering US data once you sign up.  I can’t really say that much about the demo except it’s beautiful – but that’s not neccessary an endorsement from me because I can’t do much with the demo but type in some names.  In other words – I don’t have any experience actually using Synthesio, so I can’t say how it would work for me.

On the other hand, since a Synthesio dashboard is created for a client – it’s unlikely that anyone who hasn’t actually signed on as a client will be able to talk about the platform in depth.   Synthesio has a Dashboard “wizard” that sets up the request form with details of what you want to track and mails it to headquarters where someone will reach out to you shortly.   Synthesio also  has some large clients – most are in Europe and Asia.

At this point – what else does Synthesio offer and  have?  Their community manager is very warm – Michelle Chmielewski and Synthesio is a sponsor of Monitoring Social Media BootCamp in London next month and I’ll be meeting most of the Synthesio team in London for the conference.

But I do want to say that platforms like Synthesio – because they must be set up for a client, and do require a bit of human monitoring on the backend – while they often provide superior insight, are not as easy to compare as the platforms like Radian6 and Sysomos that I can fully configure myself.

As a result – i can’t put Synthesio through it’s paces because I don’t have a working version that I control – perhaps, when I meet Michelle and the rest of the team in London, they will show me more about what Synthesio does on the backend, and a live dashboard of a real client.

Finally, I was mentioned on the Synthesio blog yesterday in a post on 3 ways to identify influencers in social media and I found my ideas described in a different way than perhaps, I would have expressed them, so I actually read the post carefully to see what Michelle said that she said, I said/wrote:

Identify influencers at post level

While the site on which information is published online affects how influential the information may become, an article (blog post, forum thread, tweet, etc.) itself can become more or less influential over time depending on how many times it has been shared, where, with whom, etc.

Marshall Sponder pointed out that it is the influence of an author that may weigh more heavily than that of the actual site (and will be speaking about it in London in March) ; why not go to the post itself ?

Here’s how I would say it – much of the traffic that comes to a blog comes from a small number of blog posts I have written, and most of the rest is long tail traffic from the thousands of other posts I’ve written over the last 4 years since I began writing at  I said as much, years ago.   But I also said that when using a Social Media Monitoring platform to identify influencers – what we want is not a list of blogs – but a list of bloggers – or the influential themselves – and some contact information – the more the better – actually something closer to a list of journalists you’d get out of CisionPoint – or something like that.   Hardly anyone thinks that way – they don’t think in terms of the end user – what they want.   I think that’s what I meant.

Michelle also mentioned (and might have referred to my posts) TweepSearch (I’m liking FollowerWonk even more now) as an easy way to identify influencers on Twitter.

Have to admit, Michelle’s description of what I said might be better than what I actually said or wrote – I’m OK with that.”

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