Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp, London – The Story of the Day

Wow! Thanks again to everyone who attended the first Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp in London yesterday. It seems that pretty much everyone left the venue with new insights...

Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp, London, 2010 - Nathan GilliattWow! Thanks again to everyone who attended the first Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp in London yesterday. It seems that pretty much everyone left the venue with new insights into monitoring and buzzing with ideas. We’ve been overwhelmed by all the positive feedback on Twitter – so, thanks again.  Special thanks also to our lead Presenters Nathan Gilliatt (Social Target) Marshall Sponder (Webmetricsguru), Philip Sheldrake (Influence Crowd) and Katy Howell (Immediate Future) who really put some work in, plus our fantastic sponsors Meltwater Buzz, Synthesio, Brandwatch and Integrasco and exhibitors Whitevector and Social Radar.

We’ve already posted some pics from the Bootcamp on Flickr and we will be posting up video clips from the day over the coming days/weeks (there’s a lot of film!). Murray Newlands has already posted some video feedback on his marketing blog. A download of the Tweets from the day is available here with a chart for the top Tweeters here (thanks to @jas for those). We’ll be updating this post as more stuff goes online today and as the bloggers get active 😉

In case you missed it here’s a summary of the day – including most of the presentations:

Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp – The Story of the Day

We started the day with Nathan Gilliatt speaking on the topics of “Getting started with Social Media Monitoring” and “How to “Choose the Right Social Media Monitoring Tool”. He explained the importance of knowing what you want to monitor and why, before you start monitoring. He also explained the “5 Modes of Listening” (i.e. Monitor, Measure, Alert, Search, Mine) and suggested that by using a combination of these you can engage in “3D Listening”  <- a new buzz-term, we think.

In between Nathan’s sessions Mike Anderson, MD of Meltwater Buzz, UK, gave a sneak preview of the all-new Meltwater Buzz monitoring dashboard which launches today (presentation below). Meltwater, who previously white-labelled SM2 from Techrigy/Alterian, have been busy developing their own solution since they acquired Buzzgain earlier in the year. It looks an impressive new entry into the market.

We also had a short presentation from Michelle Chmielewski about Synthesio, the French monitoring company (and lead sponsor of the Bootcamp, alongside Meltwater Buzz). Michelle does a fine line in fun, quirky and insightful viral videos – so it was great to see her in real life. She confirmed Synthesio’s credentials as a great solution for companies needing multi-language monitoring.

Next up was Marshall Sponder – the consummate social media analyst. His first task was to explore the potential for “Social Media Monitoring on a Shoesting” (see preso below). He was pretty dismissive of most free tools (including any combination of Yahoo Pipes, Drupal’s Tattler module, Netvibes, RSS or iGoogle), SocialMention was praised for its real-time value and simplicity, but he cited the two best free tools as Ubervu and ViralHeat. Both of these, he said, offer capabilities similar to the leading paid solutions and offer significant cost savings over them. Marshall also pointed out that any paid monitoring (i.e. agency work) would require a paid solution, to ensure the quality of data, and support.

At the end of the morning session, Aleksander Stensby from Integrasco gave us an indication of what a social media analyst does every day. Possibly the main theme of the day – stressed by both Nathan and Marshall – and demonstrated here by Aleks, was that effective social media monitoring requires seriously intelligent human analysis. Aleks’ slide of the 2-page search algorithm used to produce accurate results for Shell the mobile company Orange (see his presentation below) make the point abundantly clear.

The afternoon started with an extremely brave (given the London-wide Internet outage yesterday) live demo from Mark Rogers of Market Sentinel. His team have developed an influencer analysis and mapping tool that enables users to see “who matters on what topic, in any language, in any country”. We only saw part of the solution, but what we saw looked impressive. Skyttle launches today and you can apply for a demo at

Next up bounded the enthusiastic Philip Sheldrake to explain How to Identify Influencers and Build Relationships with Them”. What is Influence? Is it your Google PageRank? The number of followers on Twitter? Or is it a clever calculation of reach times re-tweets divided by the total number of tweets in your industry squared? “It’s all bullshit!” was Philips resounding answer. He demolished the influence calculations of SocialMention and Klout as “measuring what you can, not what you should” and explained that a real measurement required looking at Six Influence Flows and being influence-centric (see his presentation below).

Marshall Sponder then took to the stage again to explain “How to Monitor Sentiment and Benefit from the Insight it Provides”. He pointed out that after testing many of the leading solutions (e.g. Radian6, SM2, Crimson Hexagon) against each other, they all produced radially different sentiment results. Sentiment detection is “flakey”. He pointed to solutions that employ machine learning algorithms to within specific industries and can therefore offer better accuracy rates than current services or perhaps even humans (who often disagree on gradations of sentiment). In this battle, Crimson Hexagon get Marshall’s vote. The problem with sentiment, Marshall said, is that “actually, if you listen to real life conversations, people don’t say what they mean”. Great point!

Giles Palmer from Brandwatch then gave us a brief but valuable insight into what one of the UK’s top monitoring services does for it’s clients. In one example, out of 100,000 posts tracked over 6 months, Brandwatch highlighted 4500 as relevant for the client and 2000 (2%) were acted upon, i.e. responded to. “This is manageable with human responses” he explained, also saying “non-human responses will make you look like an idiot”.

Finally, Katy Howell from Immediate Future came on to explain “How to Measure the Success of your Social Media Campaigns”. She provided a highly valuable and detailed description of how one of the UK’s leading agencies works with major brands to plan their monitoring and measurement activities. By identifying smart goals (within categories: awareness, attention, action), setting meaningful KPIs, measuring the ROI, either in cash terms or “fuzzy ROI” (e.g. cost savings, or the value of “lifetime engagement” of a maven) and creating a clear plan – including measurement tools for each activity – it’s possible to measure the value of social media campaigns. Benchmarking over time is critical and you should “be prepared to fail”, since it’s an iterative, real-time learning process. Unfortunately we can’t share Katy’s presentation as it contained sensitive IP. You had to be there folks!

We’ll be running more Bootcamps around the world later in 2010 – and, of course, our main conference Monitoring Social Media, in London in the autumn. If you’d like to be kept up-to-date about our events, you can register for info here. If you’re interested in getting involved as a speaker or sponsor, contact us .

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  1. Aleksander Stensby Reply

    Great recap Luke! Thanks for all your efforts in organizing such a great event! Already looking forward to the next bootcamp!

    Just a quick note, the search expressions in my presentation was not for Shell but rather an illustrative example of brand taxonomy for Orange the operator. The category one shows form factor of Sony Ericsson handsets:)

    Cheers, and thanks again for a superb event!

  2. Josephine Shaw Reply

    Thanks for an excellent day. One of the best conferences I’ve been too for ages 🙂 and all the better because it didn’t shirk from telling it like it is. Been exploring it here

  3. Jas Dhaliwal Reply

    For everyone asking, you can capture and archive tweets and create pie charts with this free tool:


  4. Juan Ortiz Reply

    Great! time to abosorve all the wornderfull new knowledge 🙂

    Good level at most of the presentations, it was for sure a well spent day! Keep it up:)


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  6. Marc Bone Reply

    Very interesting day Luke, only disappointment is that my short hand couldn’t keep up with Katy Howell’s presentation. Missed more than I captured, but savouring what I did…

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