Author Archives: dylanrhoads

Marketwire/Sysomos: Social Communications & Analytics for 70% of the Fortune 50

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After hearing about the hundreds (likely thousands) of social analytics tools out there, I began to wonder how larger companies make sense of all this chaos. Surely, Google and Microsoft aren’t manually piecing together reports from HootSuite and FollowerWonk, right? What are the big brands using?

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The majority of them seem to be using a Toronto-based company called Sysomos (acquired in 2010 by private firm Marketwire, a press release distribution company who have re-branded themselves as  a “social communications company”). I reached this conclusion by comparing the client lists of companies like SimplyMeasured and CrowdBooster with those of Sysomos. Apparently, 70% of  Fortune 50 brands use Sysomos products:

ImageAccording to Wikipedia, the company’s flagship product, Media Analysis Platform (MAP), “mines and analyzes content from social media or user-generated content. MAP is considered by many to be the most advanced social media analytics solution in the industry, specifically for text summarization and visualization features along with granular segmentation capabilities by geography and demographics.” This allows them to do some cool global analysis, like this image from one of their public blog posts showing where tweets about the French electronic music duo Daft Punk originate:

ImageAlso from Wikipedia: “The company also offers Sysomos Heartbeat which provides social media monitoring and engagement capabilities to communication professionals, brand managers and customer support groups. In 2013, Heartbeat was extended to add publishing components to deliver a holistic end-to-end social media marketing platform.” It seems that Marketwire intend to become a one-stop-shop for PR, social communications, and analytics. For those companies that can afford their services, it seems they’re the market leader. Obviously there’s a whole ecosystem of potential competitors in social media analytics, but it looks like Marketwire/Sysomos are a powerful pair who are trying to do it harder, better, faster, & stronger.

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Got Klout?

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Have you been exploring the murky social media waters long enough that you’ve started to wonder how much power you have to influence people in cyberspace? Ever wanted to quantify how much all those pictures of your meals, pets, and witty memes affect other people? Ever wonder how your influence compares to that Facebook friend from high school you never really liked?

If you’re not one of these people, congratulations. For all the other status anxiety victims out there, there’s Klout.

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Klout quantifies “influence” based upon your data from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Wikipedia, Instagram, and others in order to assign you a “Klout Score” from 1 to 100. Every Twitter user has a Klout score, but if you link Klout with your other social media accounts, you’ll be lucky enough to have Klout aggregate data about you and assign you a “more accurate” (higher) Klout Score, which you can watch over time to see what a cool and influential social media butterfly you are blooming into.

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Klout’s business model is in allowing brands to reach influential users via “Perks” campaigns in which they offer free experiences or products to influential Klout users who match pre-defined criteria, including content topics and geographic locations. The hope is that influential Klout users who receive Perks will generate content about these brands in social media channels. Their customers have included Chevy, Disney, Gilt, Windows Phone, and even our own Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau.

But Klout’s influence algorithm is where it gets interesting. From Wikipedia:

“Klout scores are supplemented with three nominally more specific measures, which Klout calls “true reach,” “amplification” and “network impact.” True reach is based on the size of a user’s engaged audience who actively engage in the user’s messages. Amplification score relates to the likelihood that one’s messages will generate actions, such as retweets, mentions, likes and comments. Network impact reflects the computed influence value of a person’s engaged audience.”

Of course, considering the subjectiveness of the above and the huge amount of data being aggregated from at least eight different social networks, there is a huge amount of room for different weighting here, and it’s gotten Klout into trouble before. Klout was initially criticized for ranking Barack Obama below a number of bloggers, so they changed their algorithm so that President Obama is now ranked #1 with a score of 99. Considering that Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry all have more Twitter followers than Barack Obama (yes, this is the world we live in) and that Klout claims to reflect the “democratization of influence”, is it possible that Klout’s previous method actually reflected influence more accurately?

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Naturally, there’s also an app version so that you can check your Klout score on-the-go. It’s recalculated daily, and you can set the app badge to your Klout score in order to easily check it at-a-glance before booting up the app and proudly showing your score to prospective employers or first dates. Hello, influencer!

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Finally, there are a lot of evil-sounding social media taglines out there that encourage you to spam your friends, but this is one of my favorites: Use your friends to grow your influence!

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No thanks, I’m good :)

 

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Rock Box

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Like many Americans, I had always thought of karaoke as something done in a bar in front of a group of strangers, usually by someone monopolizing the microphone to show off (thanks, Top Gun). Then I went to Japan. If you’re invited to karaoke in Japan, abandon any hope of quietly sitting in the corner and listening…you MUST SING, no matter how much you try to avoid it (and believe me, I tried). The fact that the small town where I lived had only three English songs was no excuse (if you’re ever there, I suggest kicking it off with Dancing Queen, moving on to Love Me Tender, then a big finish with My Way).

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The amazing thing was that after returning from Japan, I actually…missed it. There was something magical about being surrounded by friends sharing their favorite songs, singing lyrics that suddenly seemed to be written just for us. Luckily, for the Seattle karaoke refugee, there’s Rock Box. When a friend introduced me to the place a few years ago, I was stunned when the staff handed us an iPad (the standard remote also works fine for song selection). Not only that, but the list of English songs was as long as the list of Japanese songs, plus a number of other languages. Finally, a place to make a fool of myself with dignity!

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But popularizing Japanese-style karaoke in the US isn’t easy, which is where Rock Box’s social strategy comes in. They’ve been posting to Facebook and Twitter almost daily with special events, contests, raffles, discounts, and the top songs of the month. With over 3,200 likes, the strategy seems to be working.

Oh, and the top 5 songs for March 2013? You guessed it, #1 is Seattle’s own…

1. Thrift Shop (Macklemore/Ryan Lewis)
2. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)
3. Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler)
4. Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
5. Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-A-Lot)

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Rock on!

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