Scaling Issues In Social Media Monitoring

Radian6 recently introduced a few new features to its social media monitoring platform. The company  explained them well on the Radian6 blog so I won’t go into details, but in a nutshell:

  • You can change font sizes on widgets
  • You can segment trend charts by media type, language and region
  • You can now copy and move reporting widgets between dashboards and users

These are minor changes for a product that is constantly evolving. The first change is very minor and the second is a step in the right direction. The third, however,  signals a continued trend of Radian6 offering features designed to improve collaboration among teams.

Volume and coordination are big challenges for large companies. As more and more large companies adopt social media, workflow features are becoming increasingly crucial to this kind of tool.  For social media monitoring to make it at an enterprise level, tools like Radian6 need to continue to add features that deal with scale.

In the meantime, here are five tips for scaling your listening:

  1. Sampling – when large volumes of discussion mean that reviewing every search result is completely unfeasible, consider sampling a percentage of posts. If there are 500 a day, perhaps you look at 50 or 100 of them. Statistically, you should get an accurate sample.
  2. Rank by influence – most of the major social media monitoring tools offer ways to rank or sort posts by various measures of influence. You may consider ‘skimming’ the most influential posts from the top of the pile, and dealing with those that have traction before moving through the list.
  3. Automation – I’m resistant to automated analysis, especially around sentiment (the English language is so complex), but in cases of massive scale, there may be no alternative but to allow some level of automation.
  4. Workflow – processes are helpful within organizations of any size, but within large organizations they are critical. Lay out who is responsible on given days or at given times; what the process is for monitoring and (if necessary) responding; a triage process to help determine what requires action; all of the decision points that arise through the process. It can drastically cut the time needed to deal with individual online discussions.
  5. Pull Together a Team – at a certain point, you can no longer do it all yourself. Check out Amber Naslund’s excellent ebook on building a social media team for a fantastic resource on how to pull together the resources you need to scale up.

How have you dealt with scaling issues in social media monitoring? What other features would you like to see in monitoring tools to make that scaling easier?

  • Dave,

    Brilliant tidbits for scaling and work collaboration! Thank you for highlighting our newest features. We hope this helps our existing customers. Our tool is evolving because of the feedback we receive from our community. So, please keep it coming!

  • Hi Dave,

    As usual, you’re practical and helpful! I especially agree with the bit about workflow. I’m not much for over processing things, but some structure and guardrails for internal workflow are really critical as you scale.

    Thanks for sharing the ebook, too. I enjoyed putting it together and seeing how many people were finding it useful. That’s what it’s all about.

    Amber

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  • Dave – this is a helpful post for those just starting to build listening platforms, and for those that have done it a few times.

    One of the areas I know we’ve found most challenging is around that idea of ranking influentials in the social media space. We also use Radian6, and their influencer widget is helpful. However, the one thing that widget doesn’t take into account is importance to the company. It does offer you the opportunity to give more importance to on topic posts, but sometimes there are instances where what comes out of that equation wouldn’t necessarily move the needle across the board.

    Sorry, that’s a long way of saying that if a company is trying to define influencers in its particular space, I’d spend some time on sites like Technorati trying to supplement the content from tools like Radian6.

    One other point…I’m a big fan of the sampling idea, especially for listening platforms that pull in lots of results. It’s something that traditional monitoring firms, like Metrica in the UK, have toyed with. Wonder if we’ll see some sort of model develop in social media?

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  • Dave very helpful and good tips, and thanks for the update on Radian6. Two points – another option besides automation is outsourcing to a low-cost high English capacity country such as Bangladesh. As far as a Team goes, at the Social Media Academy we advocate a Social Media Team as a cross functional team for coordination, with the “work” still being done in each functional unit. Thanks for the reference to the ebook.

    Walter Adamson @g2m
    Social Media Academy, Australia
    http://xeesm.com/walter