Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Listen To Your Social Media Network With TrendingTarget

Porter Novelli is aiming to further enhance the social media toolbox by adding a social media listening tool called TrendingTarget that will track social media conversations around a specific audience rather than specific keywords.

Unlike with a keyword search, TrendingTarget finds your audience for you and then lets you know what terms they are using to talk about you. This is a completely different approach from a keyword search which requires you to know what words they are using to discuss your brand (or company, or topic).

TrendingTarget is not the first system designed to try to give users a snapshot of what is being said about them via social network sites but it is the first to take a different approach to the method. For now it only works with Twitter, but the company says they intend to expand its reach in the coming months. (Facebook would seem like a better source going forward, but perhaps there are more obstacles to overcome when dealing with Facebook than Twitter.)

If you want to see a sample of how TrendingTarget works you can check it out at

“What’s powerful about an audience-first approach is that you don’t have to guide the tool; instead, the tool guides you,” said Gary Stockman, CEO of Porter Novelli. “In keyword search you have to anticipate what the audience is talking about: your product, brand, your competitor’s product, your competitor’s brand. You wind up with these exhaustive lists of keywords. Unfortunately, if you haven’t anticipated what the audience might be talking about, you might not hear what they’re saying.”

By listening to the full range of an audience’s conversations, he said, you not only know when they’re talking about your company, but you also know when they’re talking about a competitor or interesting trends that might help you make inroads for future online conversations or marketing campaigns.

Israel Mirsky, the company’s evp of emerging media and technology, declined to disclose specifics (the so-called “special sauce”) on how they identify the people who comprise the key consumers groups. But he said they used publicly available information in people’s profiles and online posts to assemble an initial list and then vetted the list to make sure spammers and other low-quality accounts were not included.

But TrendingTarget is entering an already crowded field, with companies like Radian6, Bluefin Labs, and Crimson Hexagon promising to glean consumer insights from social signals. According to TechCrunch's Crunchbase, more than 40 startups are tagged with "social media monitoring."

Click here to read the entire AdWeek story about TrendingTarget.

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