Third Party Buzz Assessment
While do-it-yourself assessments can serve as your daily spark for surface-level insights, third party assessments will cast
a wider net. Third party assessments come in two flavors: private communities and brand monitoring.
Companies like Communispace can build custom online communities to solicit consumer feedback. The most popular purveyors of
third party assessment—vendors such as MotiveQuest, TNS/Cymfony, and Nielsen BuzzMetrics—use proprietary technologies to scour
thousands of blogs, forums, and social networks to find mention of keywords related to your brand. They then pull all this
text into a business intelligence system where analysis can be performed. This analysis measures the extent to which people
are discussing your brand, whether or not the sentiment is positive or negative, and answers questions you may have about
consumer attitudes, behavior, and demographics.
The end result? A bound report of statistics, consumer quotes, and recommendations that can be turned around in a fraction
of the time required for more traditional research.
Remember the Cat Lady? Well, after assessing our client's online scare, we immediately conducted a third party assessment
on their behalf. We were relieved to find that neither the Cat Lady (nor her pets) had caused havoc for their brand. We did,
however, identify several actionable ideas that could help their brand, or any brand for that matter, fit into a world where
everyday people control the conversation.
» Prioritize If your buzz assessment was done correctly, you'll be able to measure the amplitude of influence across sites, identify those
in need of your most immediate attention, and formulate the appropriate strategy.
» Counteract misinformation Inevitably, you will find misinformation about your brand or category. Take the time to develop a "myths and facts" page
on your branded site. Drive traffic to this new page by purchasing media on targeted pages, discussion areas, and keyword
searches within your high priority sites. This is especially useful if your company is not ready to directly contribute to
the discussions themselves.
» RSVP for the party Pharma companies are reluctant to join the latest online party. So while you watch and wait, channels like Twitter grow at
rates of 1,500 users per month. In fact, Joe Twitter may have registered an account with your brand's name. Stay abreast of
trending sites and register accounts under the name "mybrand," rather than being stuck communicating under an account called
"the_real_mybrand" when you decide to dive in.
» Contribute to the community Many will advise you to "join the conversation" to describe engaging in the world of user-generated and social media. We
advise clients that "joining the conversation" is not enough; the end goal in social marketing is to become known as a valuable
contributor to the community. How to achieve this is another matter. But only by providing genuine value through blogging,
commenting, Facebook, Twitter, and the like can you really influence the dialogue.
» Appoint a community evangelist Designate an in-house representative to serve as an online community outreach rep. They can not only monitor and participate
in public communities, but also educate management to ensure that "the conversation" doesn't go on without you.
» Treat bloggers as press Every time a blogger clicks "submit" on a new post, they put the modern press into motion. Acknowledge influential bloggers
as you would traditional media. Think of ways you can help them meet their goals, short of sending an envelope of cash.
» Recruit ambassadors An effective strategy for communicating with consumers is through other consumers. Recruit and train credible, passionate
ambassadors who can get your message out in high priority groups. Create a community by conducting annual meetings, tapping
into experiences, and asking for feedback.
» Keep it real! Bloggers and online community members use a casual, style in their dialogues. It is important to match their tone. This is
their discussion, and you can easily become the unwanted guest if you sound like a corporate sound bite.
Putting it in Perspective
Social relationship marketing represents a return to a simpler time, when people who sold stuff belonged to the same communities
as the people who bought that stuff. Back then, it was face-to-face conversations in close-knit communities that supported
the markets for goods and services. And by all accounts, we're returning to that dynamic, where conversations make or break
sales, and marketers care about Cat Ladies.
For a moment, forget about Facebook, Twitter, and all technologies. Simply think about social marketing as human-to-human
relationship building. After that you'll be ready to take the plunge into the user-generated information pool.
Jonathan Landau is chief technology officer at DKI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org