I've been researching how a company can engage in social media (or should) and I written blog entries on how companies have used platforms like Facebook effectively and how they might be tracking the success of their engagement. But as a company's social media engagement increases in complexity (e.g., increasing number of platforms, deeper relationships across a broader spectrum of clients) the job of management can be daunting. Then there is the higher function of integrating social media content and learning with other business areas (e.g., marketing, service, R&D). Then I happened upon Mel's blog entry on Microsoft LookingGlass (and an update). This blog entry is an assessment of Microsoft's LookingGlass based on what's currently available.
Tagline: "make social media actionable for businesses"
Description: LookingGlass lets companies listen to, participate in, and analyze social media. This includes mining social media sites for information and applying a 'sentiment' measure (created by Microsoft Research (MSR) and is based on a "machine-learned" model so it doesn't use any manually created rules or heuristics) - LookingGlass automatically rates each posting as positive or negative (sounds like a tough order - Chris Dannen agrees). These efforts are taken to the next level as they are integrated into other systems to put social media to use for advertising, sales, support, and other key business areas.
Example benefits include:
- Seeing a spike in activity to pinpoint how campaigns are being received
- Helping internal product teams quickly become aware of, and respond to, bugs in the products
- Comparing internal customer data with corresponding user sentiment on Twitter or other social networking sites
- Leveraging new layers of information to target investments in social media (i.e., discover new customer segments)
Implementation: Microsoft will engage an external SI (system integrator) to help with the deployment, training, and support. The estimated time is a one-day pre-installation training, one-day installation, and one-day post-installation training.
- Enables entire marketing teams to access a portfolio of social media profiles from one central platform
- Includes plans for partner development capabilities . . . we'll see how open it really is
- Available as a software-plus-service for both PCs and Macs
- I'll note, and comments to Mel's blog site this: social media is theoretically based on engagement, not a dashboard that aggregates tweets and Facebook comments for a marketing team to then analyze and respond to. I believe a social media team (with marketing, support, and R&D roots to start) that stays true to their MO can greatly benefit from tools like this to:
- Manage individuals' activities across the group to make a company's presence more uniform, and
- Better integrate their efforts with company efforts and business metrics to better validate the overall social media approach
- The product's functionality may be limited for a business that not using Microsoft's enterprise suite (thanks Leena Rao)
- Timing: Only 50 slots for the 2010 incubation period with select marketers and agencies; general release around end of 2010 or beginning of 2011
Open Question: Can this platform compete against freemium startups like Viralheat, PeopleBrowsr, Socialseek and more that offer aggregating platforms. Additionally, Salesforce.com's Service Cloud is beginning to integrate social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. Barb Mosher believes Microsoft will likely be successful in their efforts to make LookingGlass used by their customers - that it integrates with SharePoint will be a key part of that success.
Be sure to let me know if I missed something. . . and additional business tool assessments to come - Cheers