Emerging Technology

WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK: Monitor your social media constantly – or pay someone else to

Patrick Stafford /

Social media monitoring company BuzzNumbers was picked up by Sentia Media last week – the company which until recently ran under the brand Media Monitors.

It’s not only a good deal for company founder Nick Holmes a Court, but a confirmation of just how important social media monitoring is for everyday business.

The amount of comments being made about your business online could be staggering. And there are simply too many avenues to keep track of – Twitter and Facebook are just the start.

Social media monitoring software and services are popping up everywhere, and BuzzNumbers’ success shows just how important it is to your business – some of the country’s biggest businesses are clients.

If you’re not monitoring your social media, then you should be. It’s easy enough to do yourself. If you’re a little bigger and don’t know what to do, then BuzzNumbers serves as an example – there are plenty of companies and consultancies willing to do it for you.

Know when to involve the community

The Diaspora project began when four New York University students prompted a Kickstarter campaign back in 2010. It earned $200,000 despite a modest $10,000 goal, and even Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg threw in a few bucks.

But earlier this week the remaining students behind the project announced it would hand control back to the community, saying that although they would remain involved, the users would take over.

It’s an interesting development. And a potential lesson for SMEs.

When your community has a life of its own, it’s important to realise when they should have input and when you should guide the project’s own decisions. And that can relate to anything, be it a product, a website, or anything else.

Community involvement is important in your products. Realise when to involve them and make your products better.

Be aware of the offshore threat

One of the saddest stories this week came when music retailer Allans Billy Hyde announced it had been placed in administration.

Rumours of the company’s collapse had been circling as early as March, but it wasn’t until last week the news became official.

Among the company’s problems, one of its biggest pressures is that it faces a significant amount of business being sourced from overseas. With instruments being so cheap in American stores, customers have been buying guitars and other instruments for as much as 50% off the Australian retail price.

There isn’t much that can be done here apart from simply be aware of what’s happening. Allans Billy Hyde had an online presence, but it was thin.

Businesses in industries exposed to online retailing from offshore sites should do as much as they can to remain relevant – even if they can’t stop the flow offshore.

Don’t let Twitter squatters beat you to it

Bankwest ran into a spot of trouble earlier this week when someone was impersonating a Bankwest executive on Twitter. It actually managed to run for a while before the account was shut down.

It’s yet another reminder why businesses need to not only monitor their social media, but make sure they immediately register Twitter and other social media accounts for executives and products.

If you haven’t registered your Twitter handle, then do it; either for yourself or your business. It doesn’t matter if you’ll never use it – just make sure it’s there if you do.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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