May 18, 2010

Biz360: Tracking business intelligence

Social media smarts for business from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Monitoring, analytics and more for companies of all sizes

JD Lasica“If you’re a brand, you simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines any longer. This is the reality: People are going to talk about you regardless of whether you’re in the room. So you might as well get with the program, start by listening, and start understanding what people are saying about you, your industry, your products and your competitors.”

That spot-on summary in a nutshell comes courtesy of Maria Ogneva, director of social media for Biz360, the social media monitoring provider acquired by Attensity last month.

I’m fans of both Maria — you’re following her at @themaria on Twitter, yes? — who’s a stalwart on the Bay Area tech scene, but also of Biz360, for a simple reason: Small and mid-size businesses need an affordable solution to help them keep abreast of conversations on the social Web. At last word, Biz360 offers a nice package that begins at $399/month, letting you track 10 topics by one user.

The service monitors every meaningful nook and cranny “where conversations are happening,” Maria says. That includes blogs, microblogs like Twitter and identi.ca, forums and discussion boards, the public portion of Facebook, online news sites, and video and photo sites.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

“You need to listen to customer input and tailor your brand strategy based on what you hear.”
— Maria Ogneva

“Social media challenges the silo mentality we’ve been used to in the corporate world,” Maria says, because social media cuts across everything: market research, marketing, customer support, HR, PR. Maria and I are convinced that social media will have an increasingly significant impact on businesses’ development of products and services. “You want to understand what your customers want and need — there are market research implications there,” she says. “You need to listen to customer input and tailor your brand strategy based on what you hear.”

Who uses Biz360? Brand managers, agencies, marketers, market researchers and customer service reps, among others, she says. For HP, likely its biggest client, Biz360 helps track brand and product messages in several languages. A typical customer will be able to see coverage, or mentions, of their company, key products or services; “velocity” (mentions over the course of time); sentiment and engagement metrics: how many people are retweeting you, how many are engaging with your brand?

Biz360 is on my short list of monitoring services I recommend to Socialmedia.biz clients. ‘Nuff said, watch the video.

Maria also had this assessment of South by Southwest, where we conducted the interview plopped on the Austin Convention Center hallway: “Being in the social media space, all of your colleagues and friends take off once a year and go to SxSW.” Very true. Thanks to the SxSW team for the press pass that let me conduct a series of interviews there.

Postscript

Maria Ogneva left a comment, which IntenseDebate promptly swallowed, so I’ll post it here. (I didn’t get a chance to verify recent changes at Biz360 before the post went up):

Thanks, JD for an opportunity to chat with you at SXSW! You really made me sound articulate with your blog post :)

I do want to clarify a couple of things to your viewers re: sources we monitor. At the time of the interview, we were adding video, photo, G-Buzz and potentially other microblogging platforms like identi.ca – they were on the roadmap. At the time of this post, we have added video and G-Buzz, with photo and other microformats remaining on the roadmap for the future, as they remain secondary in terms of richness of data. Adding YouTube increased our reach quite a bit – as we all know it’s the 2nd largest search engine in the world :). We also added an impressive collection of online news content that’s typically hard to get because they don’t have RSS feeds.

Thanks again for the opportunity to chat about social media and monitoring, an area of passion for me :)

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JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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