A lot of the companies we are working with are very interested to know more about the level and nature of the coverage they are getting across social media sites, and the impact this could be having on their reputations. They may have detected coverage they don’t like, or they may sense that something is being said in forums that could be holding back take-up of their services. Or else they might want to know how their competitors are getting involved.
We are finding that search engines, or even official monitoring services, are not as effective as a specialist researcher going deep into forums manually and diving into blogs, for example, to find out what is actually going on.
Even Google comes up with the wrong results sometimes when you are looking for something. Clients really appreciate receiving bespoke reports which are specifically relevant to a particular topic, knowing that it has been researched by people in the know, rather than automatically served up by web crawlers thatdon’t understand the nuances of business sectors or the sensitivities of issues.
When I say specialist researchers, we use people who have written for publications like Prospect or the Economist, to research online topics. We believe it needs that level of expertise to extract real value and insights for companies.
The sheer volume of data and information being generated by social media is enormous. However within this data there is often gold dust that can give you opportunities and help inform the development of wider communications programmes and also help you with ideas for new product and service developments.
But it is important to remember that there are so many areas now where automated search cannot reach. That is why personal expert manual insights – although time-consuming – are critical.