social monitoring and network analysis

Why Spotright is the leading social analytics platform (and could be for years to come)

I had the unique opportunity recently to be led through Spotright’s technology, case studies and outlook. In short, I was blown away by what I saw.

In any industry, there are those exciting moments when the right people and circumstances yield the solution everyone has been looking for. Spotright.com is an example of this for the social analytics and data research niche. Spotright.com has mixed the largest sources of data with technology to append, analyze and segment in a way unrealized by its competitors. Mix in the incredible team leading this Boulder-based tech company and you get a recipe for THE winning source of customer intelligence.

Let’s take a closer look at why Spotright is the leader:

The source: Everyone in the United States. Spotright.com has an executive team that blends digital, direct and online sales backgrounds from the nation’s largest entities involved in each of these realms. Using their rolodex these last three years, Spotright has culled from the richest sources of data. In short, they have every name, every address, every email and a whole lot more in their source data set. That kind of comprehensive resource is not easily assembled or maintained. Spotright has achieved this milestone.

The append: Spotright leaders were wise to see the benefit of appending social data to their immense data set. And they are even wiser to see how this same action performed for the largest business entities would be tremendously valuable. Perfecting the append has been another incredible achievement at Spotright. No-one in the research industry has accomplished this volume of social data append. No-one. (An important note on the append: Spotright uses Twitter and other publicly available data to tap into the social graph for analysis).

The analysis & segment: If I am Target Corporation and I want to know which of the 22.7 million likers of my Facebook page spend the most money in my stores, the only entity I can go to for this type of analysis is Spotright. In addition, Spotright will deliver finely sifted segments of my internal CRM, showing me missed opportunities for sales, marketing and vital PR victories. That type of analysis yields the potent action that directors at any corporation are asking for day in and day out. (Of course, the personal data transferred from corporations for such work is stored anonymously for matching to 1st party data, in order to respect privacy best practices).

The future: Spotright is already delivering the finest customer intelligence to corporate America through its vast data set, its superior append/analysis process and its segmentation formula. Spotright is staffed by the best of the best from online marketing, direct marketing, data analysis, cloud technology and online sales. Spotright has proven its model with very large corporate entities and has case studies that are truly pioneering in the field of customer intelligence.

Social Media Monitoring 2014 techniques and outlook

Customers who buy into a social media monitoring solution in 2014 want a page of insights backed by a “living” appendix. The “living” appendix is your technical solution where the customer can study the evidence for your insights. This evidence, in today’s real-time world, is a simple interface in the form of a mobile app that delivers abundant examples supporting the insights on your one-page.

Once the customer of social media monitoring feels confident in this insight-evidence system, he/she will ask you for ways to grow a business based upon the insights. One of the best ways to build a business based on insights from social media is a robust CRM (Customer Relationship Management data set). A robust CRM means that you have taken every person talking about a topic online and discovered their real name, current address, current mobile/landline, current email, current social links and examples of their interest (tweets, posts, comments).

When you have this depth of information about a market, and its occupants, then you have everything you need to develop engaging content. To develop engaging content means that you have listened to the conversation, you have studied and analyzed its participants and you have stepped into the conversation with something to say that contributes to the cutting edge of the conversation at hand. When you post into a comment thread, it is always wise to read the entire thread. When you reply to a tweet, it is wise to have studied who you are responding to so that your reply develops rapport and demonstrates a “seeing” of that particular person. When you develop a blog post on an industry, it is smart to research that industry. This is how great content is created and sustained.

A powerful tool for listening to and analyzing online conversations is Brandwatch. Run by Giles Palmer, the solution has myriad ways to segment conversation data, and the company culture at Brandwatch combines technical know-how, maturity and a certain understated confidence that makes every conversation with staff an “a-ha” moment for those just getting into social media monitoring. Start with Brandwatch when you are on the listening journey.

Once you’ve spent time listening, you will have the large (but fun) project of assembling a CRM related to a topic. While Brandwatch is very useful in discovering usernames related to a conversation, you will need a few other tools to “append” further details. I recommend SocialBro as an excellent tool for downloading extensive spreadsheets from Twitter of those in conversation on a topic. You will be able to combine spreadsheets from Brandwatch and SocialBro to create a near comprehensive starting point of every username discussing a topic. (SocialBro is also an excellent resource for timing your communication with a particular person or group).

Note: If you want to add to the thought-leader aspect of your spreadsheets quickly, I suggest a solution like PeerReach, an excellent and growing resource developed by Zlatan Menkovic and crew. You can go even further with PeerReach by studying the Twitter lists created by these thought-leaders. In many industries, especially outside the USA, it is vital to also study leading forums where literally 10s of thousands gather to discuss and interact around a niche industry. In addition, there are private groups in LinkedIn and at membership only sites with actual lists of industry leaders in a niche or region. If you want to add the latest news about an individual leader or organization, I recommend Recorded Future.

Next you will need to append contact data to these usernames. The contact data is often discoverable via personal URLs such as a LinkedIn or personal website. You can use services like Whois search, Spokeo, Intelius, 192.com, Leadership Directories, and many other regional people-finders to append current contact data. I also highly recommend an Executive or Recruiter level account at LinkedIn for appending contact data. If you want to go deeper, there are a host of OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) solutions that are constantly evolving to bring deeper info on individuals and organizations: “OSINT tools” feed from Twitter.

The ideal spreadsheet of a community surrounding a topic includes: First Name, Last Name, Username(s), Current Address, Country, Current mobile, Current landline, Current Email(s), Current social links, Several columns of sample posts that demonstrate interest in a topic (where an individual has posted about a topic), Influence score (such as Kred, Klout or PeerIndex). With such a spreadsheet, you can begin to contact thought leaders directly and engage in a learning process about the online discussion around a topic/service/interest.

As you grow in relationship with thought-leaders, you will find that your own posts, content and actions become more precise and effective…mainly because you will be “on the cutting edge” of the conversation in an industry. You will find that being on this edge gives you an edge and develops a maturity of outlook within you. You will find that others’ respect in you about this topic will grow as you listen, listen, listen to a core group of topic thought-leaders. Your contributions will be informed by these thought-leaders and “passionates” in a niche.

Once your network grows in a given niche, you will begin to see where opportunities exist, where something is lacking, where you can contribute to the need in that community. And, because you posses THE comprehensive CRM (or rolodex) for that niche, you will know exactly who to contact to get things done. The satisfaction in having ALL the information at your fingertips related to your chosen niche is immense! This is one of the great results or outcomes of best-practice social media monitoring: a deep understanding of, and connection to, a global niche community for the purpose of getting something meaningful accomplished.

Looking forward in the social media monitoring industry, we have the need for a solution that combines the listening, analysis and append processes into one dashboard. No-one has produced a satisfactory combo of these yet but the time is coming soon when the comprehensive solution will be finalized. The three “underdog” contenders I like most in terms of the “comprehensive solution” include SpotRight, Truelens and Reunify.

Additionally, there will certainly be a further evolution of the privacy debate in 2014. In an increasingly transparent eco-system, JWT Intelligence predicts a growing “Techno-Paranoia” and a flourishing “Privacy Marketplace” amongst consumers. In addition, JWT predicts the adoption of “Privacy by Design” at major global brands. Read more on these possibilities here. Social media monitoring companies should pro-actively prepare arguments for how listening improves the human condition, creating an opportunity for authentic relationship between brand and individual. An argument for a more open, authentic human community may be found in the principles of Council Circle. There is also, of course, a business model for social media monitoring companies to develop the “Privacy by Design” and “Privacy Marketplace” technologies and programs suggested in the JWT report.

Applying smart marketing tactics to B2B prospect lists

CONTEXT & PROBLEM:
Recently, I sold a list of 500 prospects to a mid-sized trading company based in Europe. The executives at the trading company were puzzled by the individuals I had selected from our internal data set of roughly 65,000 GCC-based business people. Expecting lower income-level individuals, the executives at first reacted with dismay, as though possibility and opportunity would be limited.

My email in response to the executives was simple:

“Yes, in my experience, forming relationships with such individuals is extremely lucrative. I am happy to show you what I mean. Typically, the traders you refer to are temporary quick revenue at a small level, whereas relationship marketing and content marketing aimed at peers results in much higher, long term revenue. Again, I am happy to send you very specific, step-by-step methods for doing this type of marketing.”

CONCEPT RELATED TO THE PROBLEM:
The concept of B2B relationship marketing to peers within one’s own industry remains foreign to numerous executives. The notion of collaboration in B2B settings, even with one’s previous top competitors is very difficult to unpack in more conventional settings. But today, this is where the real value and wealth of networks resides. The Network Archetype is critical to understand here.

HISTORY OF THE NETWORK ARCHETYPE:
Although networking seems like a modern action linked to career growth in the media age, its roots go back to the ancient world. Networkers expand influence by forging alliances and making connections among vastly different groups of people, and can be traced back to the intrigues of the Middle Ages, Greece, Rome, and ancient China. Networking would also have been an integral part of any military alliance as well as all social and clan confederations in prehistory. In its positive aspect, this archetype helps one develop social flexibility and empathy. This flexibility and empathy enables the archetype to find commonality with others who might not at first seem to be potential friends or allies.

SOLUTION FOR THE EXECUTIVES:
The executives referred to above asked me to send the proposed strategies and tactics, along with email/phone scripts and actual examples of how I had effectively run B2B marketing campaigns. Below are the exact steps I sent to the executives:

METHODOLOGY – STEP 1 – THE PRIMARY PROSPECT:
1. We discovered his (the Primary Prospect’s) social links through our social business intelligence tools.
2. We discovered his contact info by exploring the WHOIS database (using his registered URLs).
3. We listened to him and researched the companies he helped start.
4. We studied his resume at LinkedIn.
5. We studied his personal life at Facebook.
6. We studied his specific interests on Twitter.
7. We condensed our findings into a singular goal – a strategy weaving his goals and our goals
into a collaboration.
8. We wrote a personalized, targeted email that can be sent to the prospect.

METHODOLOGY – STEP 2 – THE PRIMARY PROSPECT’S NETWORK:
1. We downloaded every one of his followers using Simply Measured Pro or SocialBro Pro level account.
2. We sorted these followers in Excel by “Listed”, by “Klout Score” or “Kred Score“, and by “Time Zone”.
3. We Filtered these followers’ bios with specific keywords to narrow the scope.
4. We discovered more of these followers’ social links via Klout and FlipTop.
5. We discovered common keywords amongst these followers and researched other influencers surrounding
those keywords within Brandwatch. In this way, we built series of segmented leads lists based upon interest.
6. We then spent significant time listening to the current and ongoing conversations PLUS we studied the conversations in the past. We also made intelligent guesses about conversations from the Future via Recorded Future.
7. We created tweets to “test” the different lists via non-branded Twitter accounts, to see what types of content gains momentum and “purchase”.
8. We created every form of content at the Content Grid 2 to “test” the different lists via numerous communication channels, to see what types of content gains momentum and “purchase”.

SPECIFIC CAMPAIGN IDEAS BASED UPON THIS METHODOLOGY (crafted for the CURRENCY TRADING industry):

1. LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGE – MAKE IT A COMMUNITY (PRO CONNECTIONS): We would like to build out THE COMPANY LinkedIn company page. The idea is to target your updates, services and products on LinkedIn to specific market segments (decide on this from looking at the included spreadsheet of “Types”). We want to craft a message and a presence specific to agreed-upon audiences (“Types). If someone comes to your Company Page from the financial, legal, medical or marketing industry, we can customize the message to speak directly to him or her. We would need to set up a specific type of LinkedIn account to do this. Not only that, but we can create “click-through” banners at your LinkedIn page to entice the chosen target markets over to your website, sales page, commerce site or other social media sites. The goals is to make the COMPANY LinkedIn company page THE most interesting page about forex in LinkedIn. Bulk it out. Follow prospects in LinkedIn. Post regularly in LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a growing and HOT network. Be in the industry groups in LinkedIn and in the conversations in those groups. Start new groups around specific topics and invite prospects with large networks into those groups.

2. BECOME THE WIKIPEDIA OF FOREX & TRADING (EDUCATIONAL APPROACH): Let’s make you guys THE Wikipedia of the forex and trading Industry. When people feel a website is a true “go-to source” for information and answers, they’ll keep coming back—again and again and again. Think: BabyPips, TradingFloor, DailyFX. Become a true teacher (Wikipedia) within the forex industry. The golden rule of marketing is this: They ask, you answer. In other words, if a consumer has ever asked a question about forex, you should be answering it on the COMPANY website. And considering most industries have literally thousands of potential consumer questions, content should always be growing, evolving and added to. MahiFX is doing this very well on Quora, for example.

3. IN-THE-FLESH (PROSPECTING IN PERSON): Identify people in THE COMPANY to become “champions” around specific topics. Then assign them the task to spend 12 months simply meeting up with industry influencers in person. Some of the strongest online connections and relationships have developed because such “champions” took the time to connect in person. Either by organizing a “meetup” or “Tweetup” with a group, going to a conference (such as the recent http://ifxexpo.com/ ) where they knew the people they wanted to meet would be or even just connecting one-on-one through Skype. We highly recommend taking some of these online connections offline to make a deeper connection. As an example, the SVP of a leading social media monitoring solution personally emailed me when he was in NYC and asked to meet up, simply to shake hands and show what his company was doing. I started using his solution regularly after that. Be the first forex entity to actually meet its customers and prospects in person regularly and make the social marketing department a leader in this “in-the-flesh” personal revolution.

4. LIKE & FOLLOW YOUR CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS (SOCIAL MARKETING APPROACH): Instead of asking our consumers to like COMPANY on Facebook or to follow us on Twitter/LinkedIn, why don’t we start liking/following them? Most brands use Facebook as an extension of their traditional and mass-marketing initiatives. But what about following/liking and getting to know your customers/prospects personally. The social media department is the “human” side of the business and not just a reactive PR silo. Go out and forge relationship by following/liking/subscribing to your prospects. Then start answering their questions and participating in their discussions.

5. SPEND ON HOUR A DAY SIMPLY LISTENING (ON-GOING BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE WORK): Spend one hour every day simply listening to your customers/prospects AND these prospects will empower your business with knowledge about what your markets really want. Use BrandWatch to do this — it is THE best social media-monitoring tool. Also look into SocialBro, an up and coming Twitter service for discovering specific communities and individuals. This is crucial for your business to grow and achieve high customer satisfaction. Customers like businesses that listen and respond to them. Sun Chips, for example, returned to their old packaging after customers complained widely on the Internet that the new biodegradable packaging was too noisy. Be THE forex entity that is tapped into the latest trends in conversation AND THEN lead those conversations.

THE LINKEDIN LEAD-BUILDER MACHINE v1.0

The machine searches an Interest within LinkedIn. The machine discovers the largest locked group within this Interest group and gains access. The machine segments the members of this group by nation. The machine then creates a spreadsheet with Name, Bio, Email, Phone, Location, Company URL, Social Link 1, Social Link 2. The machine fills the name from individual LinkedIn profiles using the semi-automated functionality of LeadGrabber Pro. The machine fills the Bio from the brief description underneath the name in LinkedIn. The machine identifies the Company URL from the current place of employment of the individual. The machine uses eMail Verifier to match the Company URL with the name on the LinkedIn profile in various iterations until eMail Verifier states “Address is Valid”. The machine pulls the company phone number from the Contact page at the Company URL. The machine pulls the individual’s public LinkedIn profile. The machine searches within the Contact Info in LinkedIn for other URLs and social links associated with the individual. The machine then places a social link or URL in the Social Link 2 column.

Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace: a process

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Your entity owns an existing community of customers and stakeholders. OR, your entity wants to build such a community. In addition, a core aspect of your business model appears to be up-selling these stakeholders to a variety of solutions your organization also owns. The challenge before you is to refine this model where it currently functions and then expand the model across the world. The following document outlines the exact process to be performed by The Socializers for you in achieving this goal.

RESULTS:
The most immediate action we can take for your organization: Audit and Analysis phases. The result of these phases will be:

1. Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace AND in your current customer base.
2. Activation of further community building efforts, up-sell strategies and “how to make this thing run more efficiently” would emerge from these insights.

EXAMPLES:

As an example, let us say that your goal is to up-sell 100% of the stakeholders in your communities into one of your alternative offerings. Our work would show you where this is not happening, why it is not happening and how to make it happen. In addition, we can work with you to realize this 100%.

As a second example, let us say your goal is to discover alternative opportunities for up-selling your current stakeholders and want an audit of their public conversations as part of a planning process. We would deliver to you a system for staying on top of “the conversation” in your communities. The insights from these conversations would point towards add’l up-sell opportunities.

A PROCESS FOR COMPETITIVE RESEARCH, CUSTOMER RESEARCH AND CONTENT DEVELOPMENT:
An ideal sequence for discovering a community of influencers around a specific market niche and developing a related editorial calendar & media plan is as follows:

1. Gather the latest industry trade publications for your niche(s) and read these cover to cover. Discover these trade publications by interviewing a leader in the industry and through research.

2. Note down vendors, service providers, advertisers, authors, journalists, and products currently targeting your niche(s).

3. Look within these publications for a Top 100 list of companies, individuals and products/services (specifically targeting your niche(s), again).

4. Create a spreadsheet of these trade publications and Top 100 lists.

5. Discover the Twitter accounts of these Top 100 and other thought-leaders discovered in the trade publications. An easy way to do this is to type the name of the influencer + Twitter into Google. Or search in the Twitter search field. You can also go the websites of these entities and see if there is a Twitter link at the website.

6. Use a solution that delivers a spreadsheet of all followers of a specific Twitter user, such as Simply Measured or Social Bro. We will download the followers of every influencer we have identified in this initial research phase.

7. Use the Sort function in Excel to sort the list of followers by Klout or Kred.

8. Create a 2nd copy and sort by Listed.

9. Use the Filter function in Excel to further narrow these sheets by specific industry-related keywords within the Description (Bio) column.

10. Use the Filter function in Excel to narrow by Location.

11. Combine the filtered results from whatever setting is important to your research question from each sheet into one “Master” Excel workbook.

12. Rank the entities in this workbook by Klout/Kred AND by Listed to indicate global awareness and influence scoring.

13. Ideally, we will narrow this massive Master list to 1000 core influencers. Now, we will download the Simply Measured Klout Audience Analysis for every single one of these influencers (thought-leaders). Go through the exact same Sorting and Filtering process and combine into a second Master list (this will be much larger). Now we will have two concentric rings of influence we are able to connect to through content-marketing, direct-marketing or other selling strategies.

14. Take this work further by creating a data-set called “The Core List” in which we reveal core information for each of the 1000 core influencers: their bio from LinkedIn, all of their social links (find these through their Klout profile and further research, their top 100 influential followers within that specific market niche and their contact info (phone, email, address).

15. Now we are ready to study this core list and know who is leading the conversation in our market niche. Take the time we need to listen to each influencer and jot down observations on what they are saying and working on. Use a leading social monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, Radian6 or Sysomos to augment your listening. Also, use SpotRight and Reunify technology to glean deep insight AND flesh out the very large prospect lists we develop.

16. Create a list of 10-20 questions for the top 1000 influencers in “The Core List” and send this to them via email. This is our focus group/survey for the market niche and will give you invaluable insight. (Ideally, we are looking for the key products, hooks and trends in what is guiding the stakeholders’ buying habits. We want to hook every single one of these stakeholders who HAVE NOT bought from us yet).

17. Create a two-page executive summary for leadership on our observations. Add, as an appendix, all of the data organized by location, relevant social links discovered via listening, and metrics/statistics for the industry. This report, if concisely written and properly documented using best-practice research techniques, will be THE most comprehensive ever done on social influencers guiding the buying choices of your niche(s). NOTE: numerous studies show that 70% of the buyer’s decision process is done through online and peer-to-peer research currently. We are studying what these stakeholders are looking at and where they are congregating…who is influencing them.

18. Upon discussing this report with leadership, create an Editorial Calendar with channel-specific ideas related to the industry. This Editorial Calendar ought to include specific marketing actions, online & offline channels for marketing and industry-specific publications in which to publish material.

19. In addition, create a Media Plan for targeting regions, online channels and audience sizes. This plan will inform our media spend.

20. Create ALL of the recommended content pieces (these content pieces are delivered into the social streams of our influencers and by direct contact on a daily and even hourly basis, so as to saturate our market with smart, insightful content “hooks”. We want to rule the content space. NOTE: many of these pieces will come through our brand ambassadors and influential allies).

21. Metrics on performance will be secured through online metric measurement tools.

22. Our success in the process above will inform how we utilize more sophisticated social graph technologies that we have access to. These technologies hover over complete national databases rich with data on our customer. We want to only use these tools AFTER performing the steps above so that our costs are kept down and so that efficiency is forefront.