Don’t’ know what social media tracking is? Well, if you’re a business or company, it’s time to find out. Cloud service provider Salesforce.com has bought Randian6 tracking firm for $326 million, and it looks like the social media monitoring industry is just taking off.
Social media monitoring is a tool, or series of tools, that companies can use to track what’s being said about them on the web and in social media. From Twitter, to Facebook, to YouTube, the tools usually serve one of two functions. The first is to open up avenues of communication with customers, creating a dialogue between consumer and company. However, companies aren’t just using social media monitoring to create conversation; they are also using the tools to monitor the behavior of social media customers.
While this might seem a little “big brother” for the average social media user, never has it been so important for companies to be aware of their online presence. This is particularly true because companies are no longer the sole creators of their online identity; the customers are also responsible for a large portion of any company’s virtual identity.
Unhappy customers can now turn to Twitter, Facebook and viral video to air complaints and experiences. Take the example of Dave Carroll, the Canadian folk singer who made a music video about his poor customer service experience with United Airlines. The video ended up generating more than five million hits and caused a wave of similar complaints from other disgruntled customers; in short, United Airlines had a public relations crisis on their hands. When it comes to negativity surrounding a brand or business, not all publicity is good publicity and public backlash can easily sink a product or business.
On the flip side, customers can also generate interest and create buzz. A recent example of this would be the Old Spice viral video campaign. Within 24 hours, the viral video generated 6.7 million views and over 23 million views after a mere 36 hours. And this kind of incident isn’t considered isolated; Hewlett Packard researchers claim they can predict a Hollywood’s box office success by looking at the number of times a movie is mentioned on Twitter.
If that wasn’t enough incentive to learn about social media tracking, the most recent big business deals should be. Not only did Salesforce.com buy Radian6, a Canadian based social media tracking firm, but Jive – another social media monitoring company – has announced that managers from Google and Facebook have joined its board, and it already has the backing of Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins. While there are no official statements, it looks as though the Jive is headed towards a public offering of its stock.
So, if you’re a business, big or small, it’s time to jump on the social media monitoring bandwagon to try and maximize your presence on the web, and if you’re a user, beware: your social media habits are being tracked.