I would say influencer analysis is a big one. A lot of influencer analysis tools for social media listening can identify people who are generally influential, but not influential by topic. If you are a software company, for example, you do not care if Justin Bieber is influential. They want the people who are influential in their specific topic area. That's one.
Another one is combining influencer analysis with the ability to reconcile social media profiles with consumer profiles, so a company can see which voices influence the people who actually spend money on their products or services. It's a little bit of a spin on influencer analysis, versus the more traditional method, which is measuring how much influencers perpetuate a given message. Today a lot of influencer analysis is a little bit lightweight, but this is really turning that into something real, solid, and business-worthy. Earlier this year we saw this from a vendor called Ninja Metrics. They tend to work in spaces where it's easier to identify influencers, such as entertainment or gaming. One of the potential hurdles for this kind of scenario is reconciling disparate customer profiles, because to do this you need to know specifically who is talking on social media.
The whole issue of social data and social customer data not being paired up with legacy customer data is a giant issue -- that's one of the things people are trying to solve with tools and applications like enterprise enterprise data quality - or customer master data management. It's almost a separate practice.
Jenny Sussin is an analyst for Gartner Inc. Her primary focus is social media for CRM.
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