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Synthesizing Social Media

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[ Social Media]

Making sense of online conversations is a tough, tough business.

Yeah, there are tons of tools and tactics to streamline the process of discovery and tracking but *synthesizing* all this information and determining what’s actionable vs. insightful vs. plain wasteful is a time-intensive task — something that in time machine-based analytics will fix, but until then, unless you’ve got budget to burn on over-priced services, your best bet is human analysis.

Which brings me back to the service and billing gap meme. Some firms think the task of synthesizing online chatter can and should be relegated to the lower ranks, if for nothing else but economic reasons. The theory being that time-intensive tasks like this should be billed at a lower hourly rate to maximize the client’s budget, the challenge to this is that when you’re engaged in conversation at the network edge, you rarely have the time to entertain processes and protocols.

More often than not, you need to find, synthesize, strategize, then react. And you need to do this relatively fast.

When that’s the case, it really messes with agency account structures, because you need quick thinking strategists on the front lines who need to be fast acting tacticians too — a skill set typically found in the senior ranks, all of whom, unfortunately, bill at a higher hourly rate.

There is no easy answer here, a lot of folks are working on this one, in the short-term this will continue to be a challenge for firms offering social media services. It’s also a warning flag for companies: in the same way you should always know who on your team is managing media conversations, you should know who on your team is managing edge conversations too.

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Mike Manuel is the founder of the award winning Media Guerrilla blog. Media Guerrilla is an insiders take on the practice of technology public relations with a focus on the issues, tactics and trends that are specific to the tech industry.

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Synthesizing Social Media
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