Can you hear 2012?

Might as well hop on the prognostication bus, seeing lots of exciting moves in the social CRM space shaping up. By no means exhaustive, here’s what has caught my eye and what I think it means for folks in the listening game.

A more unified social CRM stack is coming. While I hope the bigger players will launch something killer in 2012, most are getting closer in terms of where the category is headed and how we can pull the big data known as social media.

Moving Beyond the “How Manys”

Socialreport.com and Fliptop are giving back time to enterprise social managers. If you’re responsible for umpteen social accounts (and the reporting of those accounts) you know it’s a tedious task that would drive interns to drink. These folks are very good at aggregating the counting metrics and even provide some basic insights.

Connecting Social

Salesforce.com is all-in on this. Recent updates to Radian6 and the overall socialification of force.com are pushing the idea into their customers’ minds. I expect Benioff’s crew to start making sales orgs think seriously about social and what they could do beyond the transactionally-obvious.

Lithium‘s social monitoring tool integrates well with their communities. Perfect to unite conversations across social channels.

Enabling Engagement

LinkedIn made great strides in 2011, giving company and group page owners increased visibility into management and engagement. Their new “sign-in” functionality should prove extremely powerful for event planners, corporate recruiters, and marketing professionals. Can you say, “fish in a barrel?”

HootSuite. Man, they kicked ass in 2011. You can no longer compare them to TweetDeck. Whole new game for the Owls, focusing on the totality of what listening and engagement can enable an enterprise to do through social. I am sad, though, that they bought TwapperKeeper, but only in the sense of losing that fun name! HootSuite now offers an archiving option.

Influence

If you’re not managing influence in a contextual fashion, you’re wrong. I like offerings from Fliptop, Meteor and Traackr. We’ll be seeing more of this as a social management focus.

Motivate & Reward

Game concepts, or gamification, will be a hot topic in 2012. Big players like Badgeville and Bunchball have refined their wares and have been integrating them across Salesforce.com, Omniture, Jive and other big platforms. If you’re managing social, you will need to consider how game concepts can surface data and inspire influence, loyalty and engagement with your audiences.

Deep Dives

If you haven’t heard of Attensity, their natural language processing (NLP) technology has been exploring customer sentiment since long before Twitter came on the scene. Their product map for 2012 is very strong on positioning social at the center of a 360° view of the customer.

Keep tabs on offerings from GoodData and Greenplum. Either services or technology, both of these players have their eye on social as a major data source. Pay attention.

Anyway, these are a few of the social listening and measuring technologies we’ll hear a lot about in the new year. I don’t even get into the realm of monitizing social. That I’ll save for another post, but relies heavily on connecting the dots thru the data surfaced with many of these tools. In the meantime, if you work with a large organization in the B2B space and have cracked this nut, lemme know ;-)

Disclosure: I work at EMC. We are customers of Salesforce.com, SocialReport and Attensity and have evaluated many of the tools listed here. Greenplum is part of EMC. I personally, am part of HootSuite’s affiliate program and am in the midst of a pilot of their enterprise tool for EMC. I will not benefit financially from any potential sale.

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  • I agree with you Keith, LinkedIn really did a great job in this 2011 and hope they will continue to provide great services and features in this this 2012. Happy New Year!

  • Great year end review Keith! Happy New Year! I love LinkedIn this 2011 and I will continue to trust the site.