The Future of Social Media Monitoring: Interview with Leon Chaddock, MD of Sentiment Metrics
As founder and Managing Director of Sentiment Metrics, Leon Chaddock is one of the leaders in the social media monitoring and analysis space. Today, he works with over 400 clients globally, including many of the world’s leading brands – so I met with him recently to learn more about his company and his views on the future of social media monitoring.
You’re definitely one of the pioneers of social media monitoring in the UK. How’s the industry changed in the last decade?
Leon: Massively. When I founded this business in 2005, I had been working in the blog search engine space. I actually started using our own search engines to research holidays, products and anything else I was interested in and I began to realise the enormous value in this user generated content. Sentiment Metrics was born and initially just targeted monitoring blogs.
In these days there was no Facebook or Twitter, and the metrics we picked up in the content were very basic. At this time there was only us and one other vendor. Now apparently there is one for every day of the year, but it gives me great pride to see us still at the top of the pile, particularly in the large brand/agency enterprise sector.
We generally say there are 3 types of monitoring company: free, self-serve, or serviced. Which is Sentiment Metrics?
Leon: We cross between self-serve and serviced. Initially we were self-serve but as we have gravitated to working with enterprises we found that for them to succeed and really get value these enterprise clients needed a lot of support from us. We can offer self-serve, but increasingly we provide professional services such as report writing, setup of custom dashboards, and advice and consultancy on best practices, all built on top of our social media monitoring and analysis software.
What’s your top tip for anyone starting out in social media monitoring?
Leon: Think about why you want to monitor social media, then work backwards. Select a vendor that will work closely with you and support you to really help you get the value. It’s all very well buying into technical pieces of software, but the costs soon add up when you don’t know how to use it and how to best benchmark and report. A report by Gleanster recently highlighted us as one of the easiest to use and deploy in an enterprise without sacrificing on features, which I think is backed up by some very large enterprise wins in the last few months.
What’s the biggest mistake you see brands making with their monitoring?
Leon: Buying software, not having or devoting the resources to really set up correctly, then throwing it away and starting the whole process again. The first thing we do when we take on new clients, particularly when they move from another vendor is to get to know their business and find out what has frustrated them in the past. That way we can work with them to make sure they are set up correctly from the outset, getting the results they expect.
ROI is obviously a big deal in social media. What’s the clearest example of ROI from monitoring that you’ve seen?
Leon: ROI for our clients and partners depends on what they are trying to achieve.
For one agency client this meant retaining a 7 figure account by adding our insightful reporting to their offering.
For a recent enterprise client it has meant identifying outages in their online banking software from client reports on social media before their own systems even knew about it, saving them a small fortune in breached SLAs and administration.
Social media monitoring is an exciting industry. What’s the latest best thing? What’s coming next?
Leon: Two of the main areas we push on are real-time data and more advanced analytics.
With regards to data, we will have bigger archives and will be even closer to real-time. Two things we have made great improvements in recently. For instance we have a 25 billion social media mention archive, and also have tweets from the full twitter firehose in clients systems within 20 seconds of the tweet going live.
With our analytics, we will produce more actionable information that revolves around better natural language processing. That means better topic extraction and classifying of content authors, increased influencer metrics (we have recently integrated with Peer Index), and intention analysis such as whether a social media author is complaining, wanting to buy etc. All are areas we are pushing hard on.
What’s in the pipeline for Sentiment Metrics? Can you share any secrets with us?
Leon: The majority of work we do is on back end improvements, data curation and analysis. However we do have a new user interface coming out in the next few weeks which we will be providing free beta test accounts on. An advanced tagging and filtering engine, as well as a project called “Live” which I can’t talk about yet
We also have a couple of exciting partnerships we are just completing which will see increased reach for us as a vendor in the enterprise space, as well as offering more value by integrating in other non-social media report channels.
Disclosure: Sentiment Metrics is a partner of Our Social Times.