On Tuesday October 5, I attended the Monitoring Social Media Conference in Boston, and was honored to be asked to speak. As I suspected that many of the speakers would be focused on measurement and the tools we use to monitor, I decided to stand in among them all and concentrate on what needed to be done to turn tools and data into action.
What is needed, of course, is humans.
What is also needed is a system- a process for turning our monitoring and data into action- to that end, I described Voce’s Bridge system, which Josh Hallett more ably described in this post, as one possible path to that end. The slides I used (below) illustrate my rendition of the thinking behind developing such system:
Beyond my talk, I found it valuable to spot a few recurring themes during the day’s sessions:
- “Humans” was a recurring theme, starting with Katie Paine’s mention. This is important, as Paine, known as a numbers/measurement preacher, takes care to underline the importance of human guidance in the sea of monitoring, analysis and reporting tools.
- There is “No cure for sucking,” as Mark Schmulen of ConstantContact stated. This takes us back to the fundamental question, “what are you measuring?” Do you have a solid product or service to present, and a clear, concise and differentiated way of stating it, before you go out and try to monitor what others are saying:
- While there was concern from the SMB crowd about the cost of monitoring tools and how to make do without, the more interesting notion was this, from a panel led by Forrester Research’s Zach Hofer-Shall; that the many free and cheap tools that exist now are confusing the market. Wil there be consolidation? (Likely) Do you get what you pay for with the free/cheap tools (or will the best of them stay free or cheap for very long)?
- Also, there was some concern about where to allocate budget, among monitoring tools and the staffing needed to make them effective.
The feeling from my end is that Monitoring Social Media may have opened more questions than it answered, but considering the early state of the industry, that is a good thing.