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8/22/2012
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New Tool Helps SMBs Listen To Social Sentiment

Special edition of SDL's product, SM2, lets users listen for any number of keywords, then analyze sentiment based on words in context, tone, and emotion.

6 Social Sites Sitting On The Cutting Edge
6 Social Sites Sitting On The Cutting Edge
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In his recent story Top 5 Social Struggles For SMBs, Kevin Casey noted that, based on research from the SMB Group, small and midsize businesses are using social media more than ever but don't have much in the way of strategy. A new offering from the customer experience management software company SDL might address three of the five hurdles SMBs face in using social networking.

As part of its research, the SMB Group asked respondents to name the top five impediments to getting value from social business. "Too tough to measure," "ill-fitting tools and services," and "confusing customer sentiment" were three of the challenges named. (For the other two, check out Kevin's article.)

[ Read Sentiment Analysis: How Companies Now Listen To The Web. ]

Earlier this month SDL introduced an edition of its SM2 social media business intelligence platform configured specifically for SMBs or for departments in larger enterprises. SM2 enables users to "listen" for any number of keywords, and then analyze sentiment based on words in context, tone, and emotion, among other factors. Customizable reports and dashboards let organizations put the data in context and develop strategy around it.

This technology is not new, but it can be intimidating for smaller businesses trying to make sense of social, especially when it comes to deployment and cost.

"At the end of the day, we all need to know what customers and competitors are saying about the brand, who's influential and how to develop strategies to engage in those conversations," Warren Sukernek, VP of SDL's social intelligence division, told The BrainYard in an interview. "This is important whether we're talking about small business around the corner or a global organization or anything in between."

The SMB edition of SM2 includes all of the functionality of the enterprise version. The difference is in the payment options and time to deploy. SM2 is offered in two new editions and can be purchased online so customers can quickly get started using the platform.

"SMBs that are time-constrained and time crunched can learn about the product and tools online and order right away," said Sukernek. "It's not a light or watered-down version--it's the same version that enterprises get. SMBs can listen to social conversations in real time and get detailed reports in the same manner that enterprises do."

The SM2 platform includes tools for sentiment analysis, and lets users build customized reports and dashboards and filter data and sources to focus on the most important channels, create custom alerts, and track industry-specific or region-specific terms, according to the company. The platform offers unlimited keyword searches using SM2's social media database, which tracks 60 million new conversations each day from 250 million distinct sources and includes five years of historical data, said the company.

Sukernek said the way SDL makes all of this affordable for SMBs is to offer a "smaller-size" license. "SMBs may have less content that they need to find than, say, a large consumer brand, so as a result we've been able to tailor the license to meet their needs, but, other than that, it's the same," he said.

The new SMB edition is priced starting at $255 per month. Monthly, quarterly, or yearly plans are available. SMBs can upgrade to the enterprise edition of SM2 and maintain all of their reports and dashboards if their needs change.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

SMBs have saved big buying software on a subscription model. The new, all-digital Cloud Beyond SaaS issue of InformationWeek SMB shows how to determine if infrastructure services can pay off, too. Also in this issue: One startup's experience with infrastructure-as-a-service shows how the numbers stack up for IaaS vs. internal IT. (Free registration required.)

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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 7:23:07 PM
re: New Tool Helps SMBs Listen To Social Sentiment
Thanks for your comment. You make some really great points. I think the great thing about social media for SMBs is that they can make use of the technology relatively cheaply. It seems, though, that it often doesn't take long before the data that's accrued or that should be accrued is too much for the free tools (and available staff) that are out there. I guess that's what you call a good problem to have, but one that SMBs are seeking a reasonable solution for.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Daft Gadgets
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Daft Gadgets,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 4:15:19 PM
re: New Tool Helps SMBs Listen To Social Sentiment
You Really get what you put in. Small businesses go to social media because they need to invest time instead of money. Social interaction takes time and entrepreneurs are always trying to remove their time from their income, so it seems counter intuitive. If you love what you do, social is the way to go since its not always like work. This of course is true for everything though.
warrenss
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warrenss,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2012 | 2:58:15 AM
re: New Tool Helps SMBs Listen To Social Sentiment
Deb, thanks for the article. I appreciated talking to you about the challenges facing SMBs in the social space.
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