Last week we invited Katie Van Domelen from CoTweet, Mike Perrone from SocialFlow, Julien Emery from HootSuite, and Ro Gupta from Disqus in to discuss each of their respective tools and share some thoughts on today’s sm tools.
Mike: SocialFlow supports multimedia publishing/optimizing. Photos especially generate a lot of activity. It’s all about the science of getting right.
Katie: Figuring out how to support all these photo sharing apps. Focus is enterprise and try to gauge when it’s a good time to add photos. What’s on the horizon for CoTweet? An interactive marketing hub which will bring everything into one view. It’s going to feel like the iPhone with many apps. Look out for it this Sept/Oct.
Julien: HootSuite’s development is guided by needs of the professional social media user. Feedback always drives what comes next.
Ro: Disqus is more of an implicit graph as opposed to explicit. Explicit is more conducive to multimedia as opposed to a commenting platform. Pondered video commenting but Seesmic tried this and failed.
What do you think a community manager does and what should we be doing?
Katie: My best friend is our CM. She does anything and everything, wears every hat. She told me, “a community manager’s role is whatever the community needs.”
Mike: CMs should all be getting raises. I look forward to the next few years when CMs get paid more and become more important within companies. CMs are like webmasters in the 90s.. You know their important, it will just take time.
Julien: Common thread is that CMs are all very entrepreneurial by nature. Advice that the HootSuite community managers taught me? Be constantly learning and be entrepreneurial.
Ro: Be the voice and know you’re being the voice. Represent the product, personality and values well.
Julian, what is the deal with Bitly integration?
Julien: Depends on what you’re trying to see out of it. HootSuite has the ability to shorten with Bitly, but it’s an enterprise product. It’s doable but limited to enterprise clients. (Matt Lemay then stood up and said Bitly wants to integrate more deeply, please! Matt – HootSuite is an awesome workflow product, but Bitly has a better analytics product).
Why don’t sm tools offer tools to monitor everything? Conversations by topic?
Katie: The new CoTweet product will have the ability to “tag” or indicate that a particular conversation thread/message were all part of a certain event or campaign, all in one view. Analytics by campaign.
Mike: Audiences are differed on both graphs so caution: be aware of that with respect to topics.
Julien: The current market consists of “analytics tools” and “social media management tools.” We focus on core competencies, but HootSuite is iterating toward a complete solution. Reporting, analytics, security, etc.
Katie: Should there be one tool that does it all? There’s a balance between simplicity and completeness, and we have to strike that balance. We’d rather create one thing that does something very well rather than one that does a lot of things OK.
Katie: Computers don’t understand us and they won’t. You can create buckets of words that are positive vs. negative but it’s not ever going to be perfect. CoTweet does not have auto sentiment because customers don’t really want it.
Mike: We tried to add sentiment and bailed on it. Sentiment on chain of action is not needed, but if things heat up you should always take action. Look for patterns in words and topics, and do it in real time. If you’re not doing things in real time, 1996 called.
Julien: Sentiment is not very accurate. HootSuite does have built-in sentiment analysis but I don’t talk about it much.
Mike: You don’t know everyone, so sentiment varies.
Ro: It’s easy to get to 80% accuracy at this point, but much harder to get past that. Disqus experimented with one technology that was trained to look for abusiveness. It was really only useful for massively high volume sites and had too many false positives.
Social media ROI?
Mike: ROI is everything. Everyone is in business to raise money: be effective, use capital correctly, get paid, etc. The mission is to raise your ROI. You need to talk their (Executives) language in terms of measurement then optimize for that metric (speak in that metric). Social media produces net results at the most efficient cost.
Katie: Make a plan. There’s no ROI widget in the foreseeable future. We can make a better hammer but it’s not going to tell you how to apply it. The tools are all there, you just need to create the plan. Vanity metrics won’t help, really try and build a path for each fan. Problem isn’t that we don’t have enough data to measure ROI, we have way too much. It’s about deciding what pieces to use.
Mike: Vanity metrics do not translate to engagement. Health of a community is not just the number.
Ro, how does Disqus make $?
Ro: We have a freemium model.
How do you plan to compete with FB comments?
Ro: Disqus actually got a 30% bump the day of the Facebook comments announcement. We see some fringing, but we’ve been growing more since they came out. When we first integrated Facebook Connect, we thought it would dominate but it didn’t. People like to compartmentalize and not use one thing for everything.
Any key points about measuring?
Mike: Businesses have different success metrics. For example, The Economist has a smaller follower numbers but a significantly more engaged audience than the NYTimes. Social drove subscriptions, and for media subscriptions are a success metric. Brands are harder, they don’t have a conversion metric.
What’s the benefit of HootSuite certification?
Julien: HootSuite University certification is to get people through basic training on how to use the product. It also exposes you to some job boards.
Katie: CoTweet integrates it right into feed.
Julien: Klout is a powerful tool, but it is an algorithm so be careful.
Lastly, Mike Fraietta presented this month’s hi-5, all hand selected to make your life much easier:
Important tip from Mike: Ask Grandma, “does this make sense to you?”