originally posted on Concept Hub
I recall long ago when we, social media evangelist, warned brands that consumers would be talking about them and that those conversations would be more influential than any marketing material. Now there are stats after stats showing that to be the case and many people have either outsourced brand monitoring or brought in tools such as Radian6 to monitor conversations around their brand.
But what if no one is talking about your brand or your competitors? Does that mean that there is no insight you can get from online conversations?
Not necessarily. I would suggest that although brand mentions may not be central to conversations, the services needed may still be part of the conversations.
Take health care as an example. Do a social media search for any medical facility and you will find very few review and conversations, yet search for symptoms and diagnosis and you will find communities of people talking about their experiences.
Although there are many ways to measure conversations, the challenge brand managers will face is which conversations to measure.
Again, using health care as another example. A common acronym used is ENT for ears, nose and throat. If one were to search for ENT alone they would find all kinds of results for Entertainment News Tonight. It is important to gather keywords together as a way to filter out the conversations that are irrelevant and even more important to know if the audience you are trying to tap into are even using the same acronym or words that you think they are using.
Beyond that, even if you are tapped into all the right word combinations and working with tools that tap into the influential conversations, are you sure that you are listening to real people with real motivations. Many sites that show up as user-generated content are either spam sites that are using all kinds of tricks to sell advertising or sites that are modeled after media sites where the content is more like a published article than a conversation.
To really get to know the people who you want to connect with, I believe the best thing to do is to “rub virtual elbows” with the most relevant people.
This means sorting through the conversations to identify who is talking about what is important for you to hear? What are they saying and to whom are they saying it to? Whereas monitoring tools can start pointing you in the right direction, it still takes human eyes and insights to gather the real meaning of what is being said and how it can influence your brand.
Recently Mashable posted an article that provided a glimpse into the future of brand monitoring and the semantic web.
… cluster analysis works on the basis of math, but it can’t differentiate apple (the fruit) from Apple (the company). Semantic technology, he says, can add additional insight because of its ability to identify entities and nuances in language.
But the semantic web has a long way to go and in the meantime, millions of conversations that can provide insights for you or your competitors are happening online every day. Until we can get our computers to think like humans the best brand monitoring you will have will be actual humans tapping into the conversations of other humans. It may sound like a lot of work, but so is throwing darts at a target with a blindfold on.
originally posted on Concept Hub
This is the final post of the Very Near Future of the Web series, and possibly the most intimating for me to write. The reason is the crystal ball is still very fuzzy when it comes to the Semantic Web as far as how close we are and how it will evolve.
What is the Semantic Web? It is what many refer to as Web 3.0. It is the vision of computers or machines that have existed long before we all had computer technology in the palm of our hands.
The semantic web is a vision of information that is understandable by computers, so that they can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, sharing, and combining information on the web. (Source Wikipedia)
I.robot It is all the sci-fi plots of the past coming to life.
So how close are we to allowing computers work and think alongside us?
This past week Semantic Web The Blog posted interviews with some well-known thought leaders in this space and each one of them had a different idea of how far we’ve come.
Like many of the other innovations that have been discussed the past several weeks on this blog, I believe that the semantic web will seamlessly become part of our lives.
Let’s look at what the web can do for us already.
* Amazon.com and Netflix can make pretty good recommendations based on past purchasing behavior of you and people who “are most like you.”
* Pandora.com has an amazing engine that allows you to create a custom radio station by inputting songs or artists that you like and then giving songs a thumbs up or down, adjusting the algorithms so that you get your own personalized station.
* StumbleUpon does the same thing, but for the entire web! You can customize your web surfing experiences, or narrow it for just images or customize you video surfing experiences. Beyond that, StumbleUpon now takes your social network’s preferences in consideration and tells you how similar you are to other people in their network. I do believe people who want to see the future of the web need to pay more attention to StumbleUpon.
* Delicious can recommend which tags you should use when you save a link.
* Ads are being served based on who we are and what kind of mood we are in. We will be seeing the same thing with search in the very very near future.
Basically, the web is learning about who we are and what we want.
I first heard of the Semantic Web a few years ago and ever since have been trying to wrap my mind around it. However, it seems that in the past several months the ideology has been getting more and more mainstream attention.
Earlier this year, the ABC launched three new socially networked digital radio websites — ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz, and ABC Country — which aggregate content from several different sources, including MusicBrainz, YouTube, Last.fm and Wikipedia. It is not only a new approach for a content-rich organization such as the ABC, it illustrates the possibilities of Semantic Web technology. The artists’ pages on the site, which form the core functionality, automatically pull in content from around the Web. (Source Computer World)
Read Write Web has been doing a great job of covering the evolution of the Semantic Web. A few weeks ago they listed their picks for the top 10 Semantic Web products. Most likely the only one on the list you would might have heard of is Google.
So we have reached the point where the concepts of the Semantic Web are not just in theory or in sci-fi plots but are rapidly being integrated into our lives.
What does that mean as far as how we related to the web?
1. Information will be interlinked throughout several pages. As a marketer, you must be part of those links, which means being part of several communities.
2. Your community connections will greatly impact your web experience.
What that means for a marketer is they have to be part of several communities if they are going to get any attention on the web.
3. Your web experience will be personalized based on how you use the web and what information you chose to share on the web. What that means for marketers is they have to know what is important to the people they are trying to reach.
Basically, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and other such communities have only the appetizers for what is to come… in the very near future