Based on 24,977 online interviews and asking people about their perceptions of the nation’s largest companies, the Reputation Institute reviewed services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, financial performance and leadership.With all those numbers… it came out with a score of 0 to 100. Read more
With the increasing buzz around online reputation and personal brand, I felt it was important to highlight some basic fundamentals regarding the numbers of people searching for reputation. This ten second clip visualizes how audiences interacted with specific keyphrases (in this case reputation), and this saturation map details the focus shift of reputation interest over time.
This example has an important note with the election period of 2009, when saturation across the United States tripled. Areas in darker blue are regions of high search intensity. If we drill these metrics down into specific states and communities, individual political campaigns and impact of reputation can be identified, ranging from build-up of rally points to election day.
[pro-player width=’320 height=’320 type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zob_s-e6KJo[/pro-player]
If you are asking yourself, What is online media measurement? Read on.
Online Media Measurement usually refers to tracking online communications and networking patterns that occur on blogs, podcasts, videos, social communities, and the various commentary that exchanges between them. Many companies are struggled with the task of analyzing when and why people are talking about them online, or if there is something a company needs to be aware of relating to the industry with competitive companies and products.
Why is online media monitoring so important?
Basic business 101 tells us that it is essential to monitor the “pulse” of your consumers, employees, and decision makers. For small business, knowing what your target market is talking about and how they are reacting to similar issues allows you to utilize a nimble business model to achieve rapid growth with short-term opportunities.
For big business it allows businesses to maneuver strategic pitfalls and detect trends in an industry. It is vital to understand what individuals are influencing your market, whether that happens to be an angry consumer or even someone within the organization. From a 30,000 foot view, the ability to measure how your brand, company, and leadership is perceived by online readers could be fundamental to your business- the next set of eyes wandering across the wrong review of your site may be a stock holder in the company or a journalist waiting to spotlight what is happening.
How to approach online media monitoring?
We engage our brains. We participate and join in the conversation. One of the vital requirements in monitoring a conversation is actually knowing the subtle tone and voice of the participants. What may sound gruff to one viewer may be an inside joke amongst friends, and that perception changes based upon how a new participant discovers the information. Did they come in from a search engine? Did they follow a series of comments from another site? Did they have a personal connection to the conversation? Who are they? What are their motifs?
How can you discover what buzz exists about your company?
From a “free perspective” you can establish most of the blog tracking by using a personalized Google homepage or RSS site, setting up watchlists and Google alerts on specific keyphrases. From a less technical perspective, you can simply write up a list of the CEOs and Marketing VPs for ten companies in your industry and they will lead you to 95% of the blog market for you.
- Take that list of 20 names.
- Search Google and Linkedin for them.
- Write down company and professional blogs.
- Take the 20-50 blogs and enter the URLs into Technorati.
- Write down the popularity of each blog
- Rank them in order
- Starting with the highest ranking blog,
- Write down the author of the blog
- Write down the blog’s blogroll
You can also create a homepage or hidden blog page using a widgets from mybuzzmonitor.com to build a whole bunch of different categories and keywords to monitor.
- Feedreader.com – Feedreader is a FREE RSS news aggregation solution that provides robust,
state-of-the-art features in an intuitive, user-friendly environment.
- Bloglines – my preferred RSS reader of choice. A web based platform that allows me to use multiple computers and share my feeds amongst my professional team and friends.
- Newsgator.com– Personalize RSS to get just what you want – from videos to vitamins, finance to fly fishing, technology to toddlers – just pick the news you want.
- Illumio – is a desktop RSS reader, one of the few that has the ability to join groups and have conversations with other like-minded readers. This places it in an RSS Reader/Social Networking category.
Blog Search Engines
- IceRocket.com – has a fairly active database of blogs online, and includes some extra functionality with a keyword trending tool that allows you to chart specific mentions of a name over time.
- Technorati.com – is my preferred blog search tool. You can easily browse search terms, add functionality to your browser, see what is “hot or not” and re-republish information on your own site.
- Google Blog Search – I don’t often use Google blog search, but it is sometimes an easy alternative with having it be “one click away” from some of my other daily searches. It is also very easy to add on to my iGoogle homepage. Of the three choices however, it provides the least amount of data for the casual observer.
- BlogCatalog & MyBlogLog – see the section on the right column with little pictures? That is MyBloglog. It provides me with fairly detailed information about a variety of the readers browsing this site. It also allows me to follow my readers (or any blog’s readers) back to another site and see what communities they are involved with. This information is vital to me, as a site with MyBlogLog (or it’s competitor BlogCatalog) has the ability to quickly identify what sites are influencing an industry.
Search Engine Ranking
- Semonics (very cheap) can be used for some added functionality for a marketing / PR use. They provide index ranking and search ranking reports
What questions should you be asking?
- Is my company name being talked about?
- Is my company tagline in the news? What about my products?
- Is my management team in the conversation? is their reputation?
- Are my employees talking about us? what about x-employees?
- Do my competitors have any buzz about them?
- Who are the influencers of the conversations?
- Who is reading it all?
With the explosion of companies trying to jump into the social media waters, many marketing agencies and public relations firms are looking at what they can “squeeze into a box” so that they can package direct solutions (i.e. automated) to clients. The development of thousands of new communication technology platforms (each with slightly different penetration, reach, functionality, and metrics) creates a huge problem with creating automated statistical tracking.
As more and more companies dive into this problem, the conversations being monitored by company X with toolset X will become lost in cyberspace as a specific industry marketplace adopts different methods of online conversation.
For the companies who do stay on top of conversations and understand the way the market moves- they will have an opportunity for analysis, improved business intelligence, brand protection, customer support alternatives, market research, and new channels for product marketing.
Other articles in the blogosphere:
- Social Media Monitoring; Broken Conversations, Broken Tools – a review of why automated tools have such a hard time of dealing with the fluid social media realm.
- Use of Social Media Monitoring Growing– a bigger picture commentary on social media research through developments and interviews with Forrester research and the Aberdeen Group.
In today’s world it is far too easy to be ignorant of your online reputation. It is even easier for it to instantly vaporize and let someone tear it into a barely recognizable brand that you will fess up to being involved with. Every blog, community site, customer review, or competitor has hundreds of different options to voice viewpoints and concerns against a company. If you haven’t done it already… start understanding how to use tools to monitor social media and take proactive steps to keep your business in working order.
Your second option is to ask the simple question:
Can this happen to me?
Yep it sure can.
As a case example, I pulled a local article from Washington CEO Magazine on the Top 100 Companies to work for in 2007. I pulled some of the names off the list and did a quick query in Google. Here are some of the headlines I found on the proper names of the “Top 100” companies:
Result 7 – Zillow – Google Headline “How Good are Zillow’s Estimates?”
“Zillow came within 5% of the price in a third of the transactions studied by The Journal. It was more than 25% off target on 11% of them. In 34 of the 1,000 transactions, Zillow was off by more than 50%.”
- Our view: If you are a user or an investor of Zillow, you’ve more than likely been exposed to this article and several like it. How does it make someone feel that the Wall Street Journal (considered to be one of the most respectable news sources) is saying Zillow zestimates are 50% off?
Result 6 – Comcast – Google Headline “A Comcast Technician Sleeping on My Couch” A Comcast cable technician came to replace a cable modem and fell asleep while waiting for the customer service group. As of this article it was viewed: 1,219,303 times! (At 58 seconds long, that is A LOT of bad reviews for Comcast.) It had 714 comments.
- Our View: Holy smokes Batman. 1,219,303 views! I don’t know any company that wouldn’t suffer a marginal impact to marketing, sales, and customer service numbers when a million different people have watched how lackluster Comcast support is.
Result 3 – Spokane Federal Credit Union Review – Citysearch Review – “I had an account with Spokane Federal for many years and I was never really that impressed, they pretty much just took care of what I needed and nothing more, overall I would say that they met, not exceeded my expectations”
- Our View: Even though Spokane Federal Credit Union has plenty of coverage, it would be easy to bump off a lack-luster review saying they are nothing but mediocre.
Result 3 – Zango – PC Hell: Zango Removal Instructions – “Zango is a entertainment site with free access to videos, music, games, and other downloads. The site is free to all users, but is paid for by advertisements. Visitors are presented with an end user license agreement that they accept before downloading any content.”
- Our View: Here is a Desktop Software company that has hordes of people using Zango gaming software, and every time someone Google’s their name you get “PC Hell – Zango Removal Instructions” thrown at you. If I bought a desktop system that had them pre-installed on it, you can bet that I would remove it in a heartbeat. I don’t need some casual gaming platform slowing down my PC while I need to number crunch my data or send an important e-mail.
It doesn’t make a difference of who you are (how big, or how little), this can happen to you.
It happens to Comcast and Zillow.
It also happens to the little guys.
If you look at this problem from a strictly numbers point of view, Comcast buys it’s own keyword of “comcast” from Google so that it can keep company branding and results at the top of Google. If I were to buy that keyword, it would cost roughly $1.25 per click, and there are 5500 estimated clicks per day on it (that is a daily budget of $6000 to $8000 per day on that keyword).
If Comcast is paying only $.25 per visitor for that keyword… imagine that those 1,219,303 video views cost Comcast a minimum of $250k in lost “clicks”, not counting how many customer service problems and public relations issues it causes.
Read these articles to start examining your own brand:
I receive plenty of feedback from peers in the social media space about “reporting and analysis” of the metrics behind online conversations. How do you measure buzz, authority, perspective, bias, trending, cost? All of the above? A mixture of it all?
Regardless of what you measure, with social media the latest information is the most relevant. As a part of this ideology I wanted to go back to last year and clip an article that I wrote in September of 07. While the dates have changed a little- the unfortunate problem it covers in our industry is growing bigger and bigger (rather than smaller).
Having been a consultant regarding online media for over a decade, I am constantly growing very weary of informational white-paper companies that are charging top dollar for “analysis” of an industry that is forever changing. In my previous life working at a Fortune 50 company on interactive projects, I can tell you that far too many “big boy” companies are absolutely relying on the wrong informational sources to make huge decisions. This old-school system is leading more and more companies down the path of digital suicide.
Today I was sent a reminder about a white paper from IDC, an analyst and research company that defines itself as“the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 900 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 90 countries worldwide.”
While I have no doubt that IDC and companies like it have some amazing information to browse through and collect, I do find that information research firms are moving more and more into “uncharted waters” where they seem to have little actual experience.
Enter Social Media.
The U.S. Social Networking Application 2007–2012 Forecast and Analysis only costs $4500 from IDC.
For purposes of full disclosure, I did not buy this report for two main reasons:
At 22 pages long, it barely has enough room to address the 10+ companies it details.
Every day since it was published in August, 2007 – more and more details become completely irrelevant.
I also didn’t buy it… because just reading the description left me asking questions:
How does a comprehensive report of this topic only have 10+ companies? Last time I checked my bookmark list and personal research papers, there were hundreds of social networking applications.
Why would anyone actually pay $4500 for a white paper that has old data with minimal focus to your business, when for $4500 I can point you to several amazing consultants (some on my team, some on other teams) that will write a 22 page breakdown of how social networking/media affects YOUR business?
When will decision makers and researchers realize that this marketplace is changing on a daily basis? By the time I hit “post” on this article… chances are that some of the information could already be old. The top “movers and shakers” in the world of social media, community applications, widgets, digital communications, and everything Web 2.0 and beyond are creative and fluid thinkers that are making decision based on the “here and today”, not what happened last month.
If you are reading this, you probably realize the social media marketplace is about thinking outside of the box and understanding what potential is right around the corner. Leveraging this technology is about keeping an ear to the ground and a voice in the conversation. It is about new possibilities.
This industry is about understanding that at 2:00 AM this morning, some geeky college intern is eating a bowl of Cheerios and finishing his coding of the next Google, or creating the next FaceBook platform that will change the way the market works. There is no “on-going consistency” in the online world. It is fluid, changing, and amazingly imaginative.
For $4,500… people can stop relying on already dated information and actually get some real consulting about what is happening today.
I know that old article was a little abrasive, but as an industry participant my responsibility is to raise my hand and voice concern over obvious problems. I have written about things like ethical media consulting, talked about how social media influencers are targets of media manipulation, that ANY business can perform social media measurement and brand control, and have even written up a social media manifesto defining some of my personal beliefs about this industry.
As a professional in my space, I make every attempt to be a thought-leader and thought-provoker. I share my expertise freely, hoping that readers take a moment to think about the “how and why”, motivating them to change a broken industry trend within their own sphere of influence.
Why? This industry is about making BIG decisions that have a “trickle down” effect that changes the way millions of professionals do business. If you do not ask some of the bigger questions and examine the why of how data is created and manipulated, then you become guilty of blindly accepting of “how things are”