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ImpactWatch Social Media Monitoring and Measurement – an Interview with Hannah Del Porto


Tell me about your ImpactWatch ?

ImpactWatch is a web-based media monitoring platform. I know there is a lot of eye-rolling over the crush of companies in this space, but there are a few things that set us apart. First, the product was created 9 years ago by The Bivings Group (http://bivings.com/ ), a 15 year-old Internet Communications firm. It was a one-off custom software solution for a client, but other clients quickly began asking for their own versions. ImpactWatch offers monitoring for print, broadcast, online news and social media coverage, so larger companies can track all of their mentions in one place. We also continue to offer software customizations. ImpactWatch is not a one-size-fits-all product. PR firms and corporate communications choose their own metrics and reporting options.

What was your first experience of social media?
Well, I had been blogging and using MySpace/ FaceBook socially for some time, but I first got the bug when my boss suggested that I use Twitter for ImpactWatch outreach. I wasted…I mean spent…the next three weeks obsessing over the platform. I still really enjoy it, especially #socialmedia chat on Tuesdays at noon EST. I often miss it because of other obligations, but it’s a great conversation on rotating social media topics.

Who needs social media monitoring?

I always say that if you are being talked about or WANT to be talked about on a channel, then you should be monitoring it.

Why are there so many media monitoring services?

I often see blog posts about how free monitoring tools are not enough, or tweets about how outrageous it is that some solutions cost thousands of dollars per month. The full range of monitoring services are necessary to fit the needs of everyone – from individuals looking to monitor their personal brands to mega-corporations that use social media for customer service interactions and PR campaigns.

People need to let the tool fit the job. Free tools are a great start and can be more than adequate for niche brands, individuals and some SMBs. Volume is the factor that determines what level of monitoring tool is necessary. Hundreds to thousands of mentions per day require fairly sophisticated software to be tracked, analyzed and archived. Companies that achieve this level of volume are also likely to want more advanced reporting and measurement than free tools can provide.

Which media monitoring service is best?

There is an enormous variety of features available, so I think the most important thing is for people to sit down and make a written outline of their objectives and the data/metrics needed to achieve them. It is essential to do this before doing any product research. With list in hand, customers won’t be overwhelmed by the abundance of offerings and can make sure they find a service that fits their needs. I wrote a guide to creating a media monitoring plan that may be helpful (http://www.impactwatch.com/2009/media-monitoring-101-making-a-plan/ ).

How much does social media monitoring cost?

Social media monitoring is not free. At the very least, there is the opportunity cost of the time put into reading, analyzing and responding to social media mentions. Depending on the complexity of your media monitoring needs, costs can include: human analysts to categorize coverage, social media participants who respond to the reporters/bloggers/tweeters, the cost of a social media monitoring software service and, for some companies, a cost for media content.

[(Coverage volume/mentions processed per hour) x $/hr of analyst(s)] + (reporting/participation hours x $/hr of participants) + software spend + content spend = total cost of media monitoring program

This is where small companies get nervous but fortunately, the cost of media monitoring is usually quite proportional to the size of the company. Time commitment is often the greatest cost but is limited for small companies with few mentions, and is greatly offset for large corporations by time-saving technology investment.
What do you do that is green?

Since my work is by nature mostly online, I really limit the amount of paper I use and I recycle what little is necessary. I also use compact fluorescent light bulbs, low-flow showerheads and do a lot of walking instead of driving. I am relentless in turning off unused lights and electronics. I also live in Mexico City, where we separate organic from inorganic waste, in addition to other recyclables.

What is one thing about you that not many people know?

Although I am a less-than-intimidating presence at 1.52 meters (5 feet), I hold a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do.

What’s your favorite book?

One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’ve read it in both English and the original Spanish.

What are your contact details?

My email is my first name at impactwatch.com. We have a blog http://www.impactwatch.com/blog  where I talk about social media monitoring and measurement. I also do a weekly roundup of great industry articles and reviews which is posted each Friday. I love Twitter and am at http://www.twitter.com/hcdelp .

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