Showing Our Social Colors. Cool? Yes, But So What?

Since its BETA launch in November, SocialEars has created a lot of buzz in the HR marketplace.
Most people who see it say, "Wow, that is so cool!"

But then come questions like, "What's the business value?"

It reminds me of the World Wide Web in 1995 (check out PeopleSoft in 1996) when companies first started to introduce websites. Wow, that's cool! What's the business value? (Yes, people did ask.) Those that pioneered the Web were in prime shape when their audiences finally “got” it and climbed aboard en masse. The rest had to scramble to catch up.

For marketers and PR pros, social listening and analytics software is every bit as game-changing as the Web. Or, as I like to say, software that helps you listen, discover and engage. 

At its core, SocialEars, like many social listening software products, is about listening to the social conversations, discovering trending topics and the media outlets and people participating in and influencing those discussions, being able to read their shared and authored “content” and most importantly – joining in conversations and engaging the right people.

While talking with the CEO of a leading social recruiting firm, he echoed a line that we’ve repeated to our own clients: “media relations in the age of social media isn’t rocket science, but it takes time and effort to ensure you’re engaging the influencers that want to hear your story.”

How true! More than ever, companies need to:
  1. Author a steady stream of original online content
  2. Promote / share this content via their social properties
  3. Share and comment on other thought leaders’ content, and 
  4. Get thought leaders (we call them social voices) to share and comment on their content.
SocialEars Tag Cloud Shows What's Trending
As recently as five years ago, doing this effectively wasn't really possible. Sure, you could scan through online magazines and carry out “brute force” searches for topics, as well as the people who covered your products – but it was incredibly time-consuming. Then came social media and an overwhelming “fire hose” of information. Analyzing this big data was a challenge beyond most companies’ ability – unless they had the computing power of IBM’s Big Blue.

Now we have cloud computing, which finally makes it possible to handle big data but has created a new problem: noise. With millions of bytes of information being pumped through these fire hoses daily, making sense of it all has become a real challenge. Computing power and algorithms alone can't yet solve this problem. This is where people with industry-specific expertise are needed – as well as the ability to choose which data to analyze.

Social listening and analytics software makes all of this possible. Our SocialEars software is uniquely qualified to capture and present such information in the human capital marketplace because it sits on top of HRmarketer's information databases that focus on media outlets, press contacts, analysts, and social "voices" (consultants, HR professionals, vendors, and thought leaders) in the HR marketplace. And for each of these sources we track the "content" they author and/or share via their media outlets, social networks, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Facebook (coming in a few weeks) and blogs. All told, it's analyzing thousands of highly targeted fire hoses and millions of  pieces of data.  

Again, what’s the business value?

SocialEars: Listen - Discover - Engage
Let’s say you’re preparing campaigns to market a HR product launch. There’s no point in crafting the greatest press announcement on Earth if you send it to journalists who don’t cover your space. Or analysts. Or if you miss the HR blogger with 500 followers who have been dreaming of the very product you’re about to unveil. SocialEars allows you to quickly find the people that have an interest in your topic, gives you access to their recent authored or shared content and allows you to engage with them.
The value goes beyond marketing and PR. Market research firms and even HR professionals are finding SocialEars of value as they discover peers, solution providers and consultants with influence or expertise on particular subjects. Vendors are researching topics for white papers and webcasts at blazing speed. Many of our customers are revealing new ways to use this information each week.

Just this week we introduced some colorful new tag clouds that reveal whether or not a particular HR topic is trending up, down, or flat -- and related sparklines to show those trends over six-month time frames. We can do this with literally thousands of topics.

Here’s the bottom line: social analytics makes it possible to make sense of an increasingly complex marketplace and deliver more effective marketing and media relations. And you can navigate vast amounts of information in hours, as opposed to weeks or months.

Now that's really cool.

Post by HRmarketer / SocialEars Founder and CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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