Engagement 2.0: A Social Media Marriage

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Today is a special day in the history of Biz360 and a culmination of our efforts over the past 10 years. We are thrilled to announce our new merger with Attensity, a cutting-edge voice of customer company, forming a new product Attensity360. From our humble beginnings in year 2000, when You Mon Tsang and team feverishly raised a Series A round amidst of the destruction of September 11th (watch video interview 1 and video 2), to operating in a heated industry with dozens of new competitors springing up monthly, our entire existence has been synonymous with product and thought leadership, and it only makes sense that we are opening a new chapter today. This chapter is called Open Enterprise.

What is open enterprise and how will we tackle it? Open Enterprise, Enterprise 2.0, Social CRM… These words have peppered online news, blogosphere and micromedia. However, they are not just buzzwords, as they represent an industry seeking answers to real questions that enterprises are asking. It is no secret that the social media measurement and monitoring industry is hot – very, very hot. Collectively as a socially-wired society, we have created oodles of social media content, which represents a serious bounty for companies that know how to use this information for research (industry and customer level), customer feedback, customer service, community building and engagement. The problem is, when social media volumes are large (and they will only get larger), engagement doesn’t scale well. If you have just a couple of hundred mentions of your topic name, a social media manager can probably struggle through manual assignment of those mentions to the right functional experts within the organization: sales, PR, marketing, customer service, engineering, etc. But what happens when there are thousands of social media mentions? What if you want to monitor and measure not just mentions of yourself and your competitors, but also want to listen to and engage with everyone talking about your product type or industry? What if you want to actually do something with those social media mentions? Do you hire a team of community managers or do you try to automate? I think the right solution is to do both. I think the solution is to have a system that extracts enough information from a tweet or a blogpost to automatically decide what to do with it and how to route it, based on content, tone, intensity and influence. At the same time, it’s important to remember, as Nathan Gilliatt and Jason Falls have pointed out repeatedly, that the buck still stops with the human (although with creation of Attensity360, we are aiming to alleviate the problem that Jason highlights, i.e. that none of the monitoring platforms know what to do with the information). Community managers, analysts and customer service advocates will still need to be there to interpret the results, create insight-driven strategies and add the human side to social media engagement. However, the right automated response system will make their lives considerably easier and will allow them to spend more time actually touching customers, peers and influencers, instead of manually assigning, queuing and triaging most relevant mentions.

Scaling listening and engagement for enterprise-wide actionability is exactly what we are doing here with Attensity360. We are combining the best of breed in monitoring and listening with the best of breed in voice of customer automation. Biz360 is able to fetch, index and display a staggering amount of social media data and measure sentiment on it, while Attensity’s advanced NLP analytics allow to extract actionable information out of unstructured data, in order to classify and route across the enterprise. To illustrate the staggering amount of social media that Biz360 has worked with, check out a perfect social media use case IdolStats, in which we used social media to drive predictions about outcomes of reality show American Idol. Together, the “marriage 2.0? of these two companies will finally provide an end-to-end, rich and customer-centric process called LARA: Listen across customer conversation channels, Analyze accurately and efficiently, Relate this information to other information, and Act on this information.

Imagine a scenario: you are a very large brand who has 10,000 social media mentions a day, and even though you have a couple of community mangers listening, responding and assigning tickets to the rest of the organization, the workflow assignment and tracking process is still very manual: each mention has to be read and routed to the right people within the organization. There is simply no way that 10,000 mentions can all be answered, and definitely no way that they can be answered in real-time. With a semi-automated platform like Attensity360, the messages will be classified by type (question, complaint, feedback – positive or negative, etc), by functional area (customer service, marketing, sales, PR, engineering), by influence and impact (who is this person and how far does his message spread), and content (what does the message actually say). After the classification is complete, some of the more routine messages will get an immediate automated response, leveraging internal and external knowledge bases, such as user forums and company’s technical resources. Some more complex instances will require a high-touch solution: engagement right from inside the Attensity360 dashboard.

For a complete view of the customer, in a true SocialCRM fashion, we will not only track and classify the current conversations between a brand and a person across multiple networks, but also track, classify and make part of the customer record all historical conversations. Imagine if you could merge the data about a customer or prospect across social networks that (s)he active on, with the internal CRM data that the company has about this person. Imagine if you could see triggers each time that person talked about a particular topic, and activate the right person within the organization to interact. Now imagine if all this data became part of the customer record automagically, providing context around each social media interaction right from your dashboard. With Attensity360, we are one step closer to this; together we are taking things from listening and measurement to scalable and robust actionability and engagement.

Beyond customer support, sales and social marketing, a deep analysis platform like Attensity360 is also key for market research and providing feedback to engineering and product teams. Semantic analysis around keywords and key phrases can help drive product decisions, as salient product attributes, along with sentiment around those attributes, surface.

I am excited about this for many reasons: as an employee of Biz360 (and now Attensity360), as well as a customer of the platform. No need to belabor the obvious former point, but it does to make sense to spend a couple of minutes on the latter point. As a social media practitioner and as someone who monitors and measures social media on a regular basis (for a social media monitoring platform, nonetheless – take that for a mouthful!), I know firsthand what marketers and social media managers and consultants are looking for in their product. I have been lucky to be in an extremely interesting and professionally rewarding position to be the ideal customer for the product I am advocating. This has allowed me to provide trusted and customer-centric input for the product roadmap, as well as become a credible and passionate source for the social media community at large. And let me tell you, as an end-user I couldn’t be more excited about this paradigm shift in enterprise-wide social engagement. As I spent many afternoons dreaming up the perfect product with the marketing, engineering and product folks at Biz360, a better engagement system has been at the top of our list. I strongly believe that Attensity360 is a serious game-changer, and I am extremely excited to be here.

Time to break out the champagne… and then back to work listening and engaging!

Maria Ogneva

Director, Social Media – Attensity360

@themaria @attensity360

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Maria Ogneva
I'm the Head of Community for Yammer, the enterprise social network used by 100,000 organizations, including more than 80% of the Fortune 500. At Yammer, she is in charge of social media and community programs, fostering internal and external education and engagement. You can follow her on Twitter at @themaria or on her blog, and Yammer at @yammer and company blog.

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