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As many of you reading this blog know, SXSW Interactive has evolved into one of the largest interactive conferences/gatherings in the world. As such, over 100,000 digitally minded folks from Fortune 500 companies, agencies, startups, etc. come to Austin, TX from all over to network, attend panels and catch up on the latest trends. Many of these attendees are influential bloggers, heads of social media and journalists who report back on who is doing what in the interactive space.

Because a significant number of our clients at WCG are now involved with SXSW Interactive, over the last five years we have developed a series of events during SXSW that complement all of the activities that go on during that time. Our signature event, the Social Commerce Summit, takes place on March 7 (Thursday) from noon to 5 PM and is packed with speakers from well-known brands like Verizon, Intel, 3M, Susan G. Komen and Hersheys. We will also have thought leaders from companies like SocialMedia.org, Waze, BazaarVoice and ThomVest Ventures providing industry insights. This event will be attended by about 200 customers and other industry thought leaders. A cocktail reception will follow.

In addition to our Social Commerce Summit, we will have three other events including our Geek-a-Cue on Saturday night at Franklin BBQ (rated best BBQ in America last year by Bon Appetite Magazine). The attendees of this party will be similar to that of the Social Commerce Summit. The final two events are open houses at WCG’s downtown and digital offices.

Here are eventbrite links/descriptions of the events:

  • Thursday, March 7th: 12-6:30pm
    • Social Commerce Summit, Stephen F Austin Intercontinental Hotel (701 Congress Avenue); Summit from 12-5pm, Cocktail hour from 5-6:30pm
      • E-mail me at astrout @ wcgworld . com to request a pass (limited availability)
  • Friday, March 8th: 10am-12pm
    • Open House, downtown office (101 W. 6th Street, 3rd Floor) — The exciting draw here in addition to hanging out with some of your favorite WCG-ers will be ongoing Live from Stubbs podcasts with thought leaders in the space and a book signing with author (and client), Ekaterina Walter. We will be giving away 50 copies of Ekaterina’s New York Time’s Best Seller, Think Like Zuck to the first 50 attendees.
  • Saturday, March 9th: 5:30-8:30pm
    • 4th Annual Geek-A-Cue at Franklin’s Barbecue (900 E. 11th Street)
      • E-mail me at astrout @ wcgworld . com to request an invite (limited availability)
  • Sunday, March 10th: 10am-12pm
    • Digital Brunch, W2O Digital office (3000 E. Cesar Chavez) — We will have an espresso bar, adult beverages, massage chairs and most importantly, digital brunch being served by rising star, Chef Jesse Griffiths, owner of Dai Due. We will also be giving away chapters of Chuck Hemann and Ken Burbary’s new book, Digital Marketing Analytics.

As you can imagine, space is limited at these events so please make sure to RSVP soon. And if you do RSVP and decide after that you can’t make it, please be courteous and let us/me know that your slot is available.

p.s. We’ll ultimately have 3-4 sponsors but so far, we are excited to have Sysomos and BazaarVoice as our first two. We greatly appreciate their support.

I do not think I have seen anyone run any kind of correlation between the explosion of social media and the subsequent explosion of social media listening tools, but I think it’s safe to assume that the two are related in some way. From 2007 (when I was first exposed to the tools) until the present day, the application of listening tools has also evolved. At first companies were using tools like Radian6 and Sysomos much like they were using Factiva and Cision — to read and respond during a time of crisis. That’s a perfectly fine application, but it is only about 1/10th of the power these tools posses.

It is only over the last two years that we have truly seen listening tools used to its full potential by brands, and even that adoption is limited to the usual suspects. What do I mean by using tools to the full potential? I mean gathering conversation data in real time to change content to meet the community’s needs. I mean gathering real-time feedback on your product(s) and feeding it to the product development team. I also mean using listening data for proactive customer service outreach. How many of those applications are you currently undertaking today? Granted, not everyone of them will make sense, but the bottom line is if you are using a listening tool for only corporate reputation you are not getting your money’s worth.

So how do you turn your existing listening program into something that offers much more value to your organization? At last week’s Explore Social Media in Minneapolis I outlined seven steps. Here they are:

  1. Think toolbox, not tool – There is not a data capture tool on the market today that will serve all of your needs. Listening tools are powerful, to be sure, but they do not capture everything. Think about what combination of tools — customer service, web analytics, search analytics, conversation analytics — you need to be successful.
  2. Develop a social intelligence supply chain – Using the toolbox above, how do you route and display information within the organization? This is a critical step that is most often overlooked.
  3. Institutionalize standard metrics and models – Presenting the same metrics and using the same approach to data gathering is essential to delivering actionable insights and ensuring overall credibility.
  4. Determine the right reporting cadence – There are different models for different audiences. For example, if you are presenting to an executive audience then it makes the most sense to roll up data every quarter. If you are using the data for real-time content, though, it may make more sense to present findings every week.
  5. Using analysts to hand code data – While the tools are becoming more sophisticated, nothing yet replaces the analyst who understands the business and the tools.
  6. Protocols for crises – If you are familiar with your issues, know what drives share of conversation, know who the influencers are, know who you would talk to in crisis, know the top search words people use then you are in good shape. Do you know all of those?
  7. Build a team who understands the business – This goes hand-in-hand with #5, but having analysts who understand the tools and the business is absolutely essential. It’s the only way you will develop actionable insights.

Those are the primary building blocks to building an effective social media listening program at your organization. If you would like to see more of my presentation to Explore Social Media the deck is below.

 

 

Matthew Snodgrass speaks with Marshal Sponder who has authored a new book, Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Intrepreting, and Using Metrics. He shares with us the requirement for effective social media analytics and the tools to use.