Last week I was sent an Advertising Age article on a new proof of concept product from Microsoft designed to help marketers understand the social media conversation around their brand, organization or clients. Code name: Looking Glass.
The idea is to use the powerful Sharepoint platform as a jumping off point for communicators and marketers to monitor and action relevant social media activity. The use of Sharepoint is, in my view, a crucially important part of the announcement as it allows for the integration with existing business systems – which will further mature the use and adoption of social media, moving it into the core business function as its use within the communications function increases. The communications function is doing an outstanding job of adjusting and adopting social media for its need, but this could take it to the next level as business people start to understand the core value of social media – the data.
From the Advertising Age piece:
The idea is to connect social-media-monitoring tools to the rest of a marketer’s organization — customer databases, work orders, customer-service centers and sales data. Looking Glass will pull in a variety of feeds from platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr and work with third-party data sources as well (the folks behind it have already talked to some firms such as Meteor Solutions and Telligent). All of the data collected will connect into Microsoft’s enterprise platforms, such as Outlook and Sharepoint.
What this also means for marketers is how all that social-media information they’re drowning in becomes more actionable.
Here’s how: A marketing manager can get an e-mail alert when there’s a sudden surge of chatter about his or her brand on Twitter or Facebook, along with the sentiment of that chatter and the influence level of those blogging. That information can then be connected to a customer-relationship-management system to decide whether customer service or PR should respond. Or a cable operator’s customer service rep could monitor Twitter for outage reports and send off a repair request straight from the tool. And Looking Glass will hook up to existing customer databases, so a pharmaceutical brand manager would be able to figure out if a person throwing a hissy fit on his blog is an influential doctor or current customer.
There is also a video overview which you can see below:
So why am I excited by this?
I’ve long said that integrating social media and all the data it can produce for you into business processes such as CRM and market research can elevate the communications and marketing disciplines within the organization. This product looks to start that migration in earnest.