Is social media monitoring a bubble?

on Apr 04 in business, monitoring, reputation management, tools, trends posted by

Image courtesy of WikipediaAaron Koh, Social Media Director at That Social PR Agency, posted an interesting question on LinkedIn: Is social media monitoring a gold mine or a bubble?

During my work developing social media strategies for a variety of clients, I have had the opportunity to review the social media monitoring space in some detail.

Yes, there are a lot of companies jumping on the bandwagon. Some of the free services are useful. Used appropriately, they can meet the needs of many situations. Who hasn’t heard of Google Alerts? (List of free tools.) But some free services, while enticing, seem inaccurate at best, or even misleading. Larger enterprises will most likely need to consider paid solutions.

The big players (Techrigy, Radian6, Nielsen, Filtrbox, etc.) will likely buy out the best of the small scale solutions. (See Nathan Gilliat’s excellent Guide to Social Media Analysis for a list of companies offering paid solutions for social media monitoring.) 

My sense is that the trend will shift away from technological solutions and to the human element. A monitoring program can alert you to a mention or conversation. It can even indicate whether it’s positive or negative. But software can’t tell you how to respond.

The nuances of building relationships through social media simply cannot be left to software. And even humans get it woefully wrong as Nestle’s recent social media disaster on Facebook testifies. Monitoring is important but experienced people with the expertise to manage specific situations will always be needed.

To answer Aaron’s question, the plethora of sub-par social media monitoring tools suggest a bubble is growing. The bubble will deflate in due course. But as with most bubbles, the strong players will survive and most likely come out even stronger.

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. As social media monitoring matures and evolves, companies that are good at it will strike a healthy balance between technology and human involvement. Social media monitoring technology will do the "grunt work" by collecting the millions of social media conversations, and then giving people the ability to effectively filter, shape and manage it. Then, people will use their experience and expertise to provide intelligence, perspective, insight and strategic direction. At the end of the day, technology and people will form a happy social media marriage.

    cheers, Mark

    Mark Evans
    Director of Communications
    Sysomos Inc.

    Comment by Mark Evans — April 5, 2010 @ 1:03 am

  2. Great post.
    We’ve been seeing our clients shy away from automated systems and simply asking for analysis and actionable data.

    They want to understand ‘why’ and ‘what’ not just how many mentions…the decision makers don’t have time for a lot of the data crunching.

    Comment by James Griffin — April 7, 2010 @ 12:40 am

  3. The gold mine is in the insights gleaned from the data…and these come from a human. No tool has a magic button to spit out the data aligned with business objectives and analyzed…nor should we want a computer or algorithm to give us this precious information. There is a difference between the available tools and the service required. This is why we must focus on how to engage and move beyond the why of social media. Tools will come and go, but relationship building has remained the same for eons.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at Radian6

    Comment by Lauren Vargas — April 7, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment