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Vocus Offers a Comprehensive Brand and Topic Monitoring Platform for PR Professionals

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I did a review of the comprehensive Vocus platform in March (see Vocus Provides Social Media Monitoring and Public Relations Management). Recently, I spoke with Kye Strance, the Vocus Director of Product Management, Phil Braden, VP of Product Management, and Frank Strong the Vocus Director of Public Relations for an update.  Kye said their 2010 edition has launched and met strong customer approval. After looking at it I can see why.

The Vocus Web monitoring is designed specifically for PR professionals. This is a market they have focused on since 1991. In near real time, Vocus covers traditional media, social media, and looks at blogs as a separate category from the rest of social media. Kye explained that blog content tends to be more developed and comprehensive that the quick reactions often found in social media such as Twitter, Digg, and Facebook. I would certainly agree.  With Facebook they can look at the publically accessible fan pages and with LinkedIn they can focus on the newer groups that LinkedIn has added. Vocus also finds different patterns of comment in each of these three categories, further validating the decision to treat them separately.

There are a number of useful data visualizations, a word cloud provides the top themes uncovered within each channel. To create the word cloud they aggregate the content within the target area and generate the most common words, filtering out the less meaningful common words. They you can click on the word and see the content that generated it.  The word cloud can cover each of the three categories separately or all three together. The word cloud also enables users to refine content, use the same words their customers and prospects use, in order to speak “in their own language” in future communications. Additionally, word clouds can be used to monitor the word choice of their competitors for competitive analysis.

You can also see the top influencers. These are the people creating the most action around a brand or topic. Vocus has developed an algorithm based on several factors including relevancy, social influence and volume. You can see, for example, how many tweets a person generates on topic, as well as in total, and how many retweets get generated from these tweets.  See below for an example of influential tweeters, bloggers, outlets, and reporters.

Then you can set up a profile of the top influencers in your areas of interest and add in more details. You can include links to public profiles from sources including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. You can them use this profile to help create and monitor a relationship with the influencer. When you look at traditional media you can see the top reporters and top outlets in your areas of interest.

There is also automated sentiment analysis. You can add filters to fine tune and eliminate distractions. Kye said there are often different patterns of responses. Social media responses often show up first and are more extreme. Then blogs come in a bit more balanced and traditional media even more balanced. This makes sense but it is nice to see data to support the expected results. Below you can see blogs and social media by tone.

Sometimes the patterns reflect the way a product PR campaign is managed. For example, the Apple iPad showed up first in traditional media because Apple very carefully managed a more traditional approach. Then it was picked up in social media and finally the blogs. In contrast the recent Old Spice campaign showed up first in social media as it was designed as viral campaign toward that target. Then it was picked up but traditional media and the blogs.

I like what they are doing and easily see how it is useful for PR professionals. It is nice to see a general Web 2.0 capability such as Web monitoring and see it targeted at a niche audience to better serve the particular needs of that audience. I think that Vocus has succeeded with this goal

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