Social media analysis is a huge growth area right now, as brands start to graduate from the days where merely having a presence was enough, to actively seeking ways to measure and monitor their social media activity. Consumers, similarly, may want an easy way to find and interpret social media data.
I met Lance R. Vick, founder and lead engineer of Tawlk, at the Voxeo Venture Lounge event, and he took me through a demo of his product. I was also fortunate enough to catch his presentation at BarCamp Orlando this month, and I’ve been exploring some applications of the product. Tawlk’s mission statement – “Search and Analyze the Social Web” gets to the core of social’s current measurement dilemma, and it has several features that are unique when compared to other sites in the sentiment analysis space, like SocialMention – Tawlk continuously updates data in real-time and scores it with its unique algorithm, allows multimedia content like photos and videos to be viewed from within its results, and, amazingly, has made its sentiment analysis and data collection techniques open source. The entire platform has been built by a small core team consisting of one full-time and two part-time members.
New to sentiment analysis? Here are a few examples of how to use a tool like this:
Example 1: Simple Brand Monitoring
A business evaluating its social media presence and reputation will want to know a few critical things:
- What people are saying about you, so you can respond if necessary
- Where they’re saying it, so you can properly allocate your time among channels
- How positive/negative the sentiment about your brand is running
Tawlk can address all of these items. Input your brand name and you’ll see a string of mentions scrolling across your screen in real-time (which could be kept open on an extra monitor by a dedicated social media employee, or displayed in a meeting room or other public area to keep all company employees aware of relevant brand chatter).
For example, some recent multimedia mentions of Voxeo:
Each item is labeled by source – all major social sites are included, such as WordPress, Digg, Flickr, YouTube, Picasa, Reddit, Twitter, Imgur, Identica and more – and can be filtered by type, so if you are only interested in posts, links, videos or images referencing your brand you can screen the content. In the left sidebar, the site additionally measures sentiment and keeps a running tally of the ratio of positive to negative sentiment about your brand. If you determine that you receive a significant number of questions requiring the same response, or get many common queries for customer service, this can suggest certain courses of action like implementing autoresponders that provide assistance and links to additional information. (For more information on how Voxeo supports this kind of automation on Twitter, check out our whitepaper.)
Example 2: Lead Generation
There are many people expressing a need – and looking for help – on social media. For example, suppose you offer web design, search-engine optimization or domain name services. A simple search for posts containing the words “new website” on Tawlk yielded several blurbs like the following:
Using additional modifiers, like the words “need” and “recommend” – e.g., “need new website”, “need a web designer”, “recommend a web designer” - could be used to find cases such as blogs where a quality, thoughtful comment might result in a new customer.
Example 3: Stock Market Ideas
In March, a study came out from the University of California suggesting Twitter data could ‘predict’ stock prices by scanning the volume of tweets and what they linked to. The chart on the right shows a comparison between all mentions of the word Apple and Apple Computer’s stock ticker AAPL. Sentiment is similar, while the stock ticker is considerably less popular. However, the amplification is higher for the stock ticker, meaning those posts are more often re-shared. Trending this data over time and in comparison to the stock price would be an interesting exercise. While not designed to provide investment advice, a tool like Tawlk could be used to examine a number of relationships to determine if they had any correlation between the stock’s price and their magnitude, for example:
- Discrepancies in sentiment between the stock ticker (traders) and the company name (consumers)
- Sudden increases in popularity for the stock ticker
- Slow or sudden increases in popularity for the company name
- Sentiment, popularity or amplification of the company name versus sentiment, popularity or amplification of competitors
Swing traders might be interested in analyzing rapid changes in popularity of stock tickers when combined with sentiment, to see if these correlate to price changes, to time future trades accordingly; everyday investors might be more interested in changes in popularity or sentiment for the company names of stocks they hold.
In contrast to enteprise-level players like Voxeo partner RightNow, Tawlk is currently in public beta and seeking funding to build out a range of new free features, relevancy improvements and subscription upgrade options priced at the lower end of the market.
Try it out: http://www.tawlk.com/
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