After several social media monitoring projects for clients we have gained quite some experience with monitoring platforms like Radian6, SM2, Sysomos, Meltwater Buzz, etc. We have used the market leading products alongside some niche providers and free online services. But our happiness about the current situation is rather limited. Yes, today you can find out things that could not be researched before the eclipse of social media. You can listen to target groups in real live situations and it’s all conveniently available in writing. But it is still necessary to double-check the data by hand to make sure the results are accurate. The amount of double-checks is time consuming and inefficient. It also leaves you with a certain error level that makes it difficult to work out reliable conclusions. Moreover, clients do not always understand why there is still so much manpower necessary to produce reliable results.
Most clients want answers to 2 questions:
1. What is being communicated online about my brand/company/product group?
2. Where does the communication take place?
All the platforms answer the second question quite fine. But cross-checks can deliver very different results, making it necessary to use at least 5 platforms simultaneously to deliver 80% accuracy.
The first question however is a serious problem, because the list of mentions can be quite different depending on the platform you use. Your client may double-check the results with a free online tool and see totally different results, questioning the accurate of your research. Language is a big issue here too. Some of the market leaders are offering German coverage, but deliver results that are 60% in English language (but possibly originated from Germany). Refinement and a better solution for this is needed urgently.
Therefore we are reaching out to interested developers and are initiating an open workgroup (mozilla-style) to find out how to improve social media monitoring results from software researches. It does not matter, if you are a talented programmer or a marketing manager as long as you have some technical understanding and we make progress with your inputs. As long as you are willing to contribute your brainwaves to develop better online monitoring solutions, it’s fine.
We start with a form. Fill it out and send it to us. So far, we are a little group of people based in Berlin. But this has to change asap. We will use collaboration platforms to allow contributions to the project from wherever you are based.