Monitoring the web for business intelligence has come of age, the basic tools are available to discover filtered data about brands and communities, and enough brands understand the value of monitoring. Yet monitoring features within semantic technologies alone do not help companies to get to the last mile of using semantic data for engagement. Rather than technology, best practices for using filtered semantic data have to be developed in the industry in order for companies to gain the most benefits from engagement within a web 2.0 world.
Forrester coined the phrase listening platforms to describe the social media monitoring industry, and also suggested that the feature set of such platforms is expanding. I agree, but I also think the industry is moving beyond listening to engagement, developing technologies and practices that enable companies to solve particular problems within the enterprise; including:
*Product development & management
*Business & competitive intelligence
*Brand building (thought leadership)
*Intermedia agenda setting
*Promotion (SEO, sales 2.0)
These business issues were already resolved independent of social media with existing infrastructure and people. The next stage of development in the use of semantic technologies is their integration or extension with CRM, business intelligence, and business process management tools. Leading brands are pushing the industry to develop the platform, but the majority of the industry is still trailing behind on monitoring. The reason for the disconnect between the development of the technologies and the perceived need for their use, is that companies have to work on building the infrastructure, practices and culture to succeed with the process of engagement.
The Search Engine Optimization Professionals Organization (SEMPO) drew attention and expanded the industry by professionals coming together to develop best practices for the community. The semantic technology industry will be able to grow the use of its tools, by developing standards and best practices for brands to follow:
*Resolving political battles
*Getting the budget by proving ROI
*Ethical engagement: Transparency practices that work
*Social media training for everyone
*Transforming existing infrastructure & people into engagement
Mike Spataro wrote a post calling for an industry association yesterday and in that post he pulled together some additional reasons the vendors should come together:
- what constitutes a social media data source?
- which author attributes should be included in defining influence?
- what are acceptable minimum standards for sentiment analysis?
- how to define community vs. individual influence?
- how social media data complements other forms of corporate research?
- what are acceptable standards for social media engagement?
A new industry association the Semantic Engagement Software Vendors Association (SESVA) or Mike Spataro’s The Social Media Standards Association would bring software vendors from the social media monitoring industry, CRM industry and business intelligence industry together to work on best practices for all brands within the industry, and help to promote the use of such tools by brands.