Radian6 - All hail to the chief!

With social media so prevalent in today's consumer experience, monitoring and listening to the social web is top priority across every genre of business, from Fortune 500 giants down to local small businesses. There are a daunting number of factors to consider when developing a solution for the hottest new industry on the planet; an industry that requires gathering and compiling data across billions of points-of-presence…naturally there will be differences of opinions on how to get the task done, not to mention creating a program that works for everyone. So, here we go…Radian6 may be top of the heap, but as mama said, there is always room for improvement.

While Radian6 pulls in an impressive amount of information, there is the not-so-small problem of finding a way to accurately filter the results in order to obtain relevant posts. At times, Radian6 seems to have difficulty discerning between common phrases, pop culture references, and abbreviations that turn up associated with a search, making it a tedious process to comb through the even filtered results, relying heavily on the "exclude keywords" element. This may not affect brands with highly unique names, but businesses with common phrasings or product offerings may find themselves reading entirely irrelevant news regarding a similar named company all the way across the globe.

Speaking of the globe, let's not forget that the Radian6 engine is sifting through the entire social web.  This means a common complaint is Radian6's inability to distinguish clearly between languages. Linguistic cross-over words become entangled in each other, adding thousands of unnecessary posts to a search result. And it’s not just languages that trip up the program. Piggy backing on the implementation of the now famous 40-character limit in Twitter, came the short code. Unfortunately, Radian6 appears to have extreme difficulty deciphering T.co and Bit.ly URL's, leaving a slew of tweeted information simply sitting out in the cold.

In spite of its shortcomings, the SalesForce.com product continues to attract big names.  Major players like Southwest Airlines, Discover and Dell to name a few.  However, there are plenty of similar platforms on the market that are gaining in popularity, giving Radian6 the motivation to up its game. Taking a more streamlined approach to social monitoring, Scout Labs and its parent company Lithium Technologies has created a compact engine that does away with the bells and whistles in favor of stronger basic search elements. The design puts major emphasis on ranking and sentiment, giving a clear snapshot of how the social web is "feeling" about any particular subject or brand. Scout Labs edges ahead of Radian6 a little more with its seamlessly web-integrated platform, whereas its competitor is flash-based, a format that many industry professionals say is slow to work with and is prone to security risks.

One last social monitoring company worth taking note of is Sysomos their MAP and Heartbeat offerings. Taking the geographical component to new heights, MAP allows an analyst to view exactly where on the map conversations are taking place regarding their brand, while Heartbeat is their heavy hitter for monitoring overall brand health and social listening. While Radian6 has recently had problems gathering complete Facebook data, which they've stated is being worked on with the highest priority, Sysomos allows for immediate engagement through their Facebook Page Central.

So, enough said… at least for the moment, let me conclude with this - even in the face of stiff competition, SalesForce.com had the foresight to gather up Radian6 early, creating a fully integrated Social Media Monitoring and Listening engine – an engine that is all in one and adds value to the total CRM experience.  And with the timely addition of Buddy Media, the SalesForce Marketing Cloud continues to be the most desired solution to modern day marketing. All hail the chief!  Well, at least for now...

S.R. Gilyeat


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