SocMetrics Leads Growing Cluster of Boston Startups Trying to Cash In on Social Media Tech

7/14/11Follow @gthuang

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scoring system, in that it’s open and uses a software-as-a-service model aimed at businesses, rather than an e-mail registration model aimed more at consumers, says Rodenstein. The scoring by specific topics is another differentiator, which bolsters SocMetrics’ claim that its influencer scores are more accurate and meaningful than Klout’s and other competitors.

Beyond that, SocMetrics says its software helps businesses understand who their most promising advocates are, and how to encourage them to promote certain messages and actions. The software can also help customers monitor how a marketing campaign is going (what the top influencers in different categories are saying, for instance) and compare how different brands are faring. SocMetrics has a few dozen customers—mostly PR and social media firms, advertising and marketing agencies, and a few brands, Rodenstein says. The company is self-funded so far.

SocMetrics is certainly not the only game in town. Besides well-known marketing firms like Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT) and HubSpot, a number of other Boston-area companies are working on different elements of the social analytics equation. Crimson Hexagon focuses on helping companies understand customer sentiment by analyzing the text of social media conversations; it has recently been pushing into healthcare and financial services markets. Lexalytics also tracks sentiment, but is more broadly interested in the meaning of text and has been pushing into search, travel, and legal applications.

Meanwhile, Buzzient develops industrial-strength software to track sentiment about specific products, and is particularly deep in Twitter analytics for applications in gaming, finance, and life sciences. And Oneforty, which started as a Twitter app store, is now focused on social media for businesses—including tools for advertising, analytics, brand tracking, marketing, and customer relationship management.

And then there are a couple of local startups coming at the problem from other angles in specific niches. Bluefin Labs, out of the MIT Media Lab, focuses on social-media reactions to TV and entertainment in real time; the company released its first product last week, aimed at helping TV networks, brands, and agencies analyze viewers’ responses to ads and content. Meanwhile, Krush is focused on retail marketing and is trying to own the “product graph” by enabling young people to create and follow micro-trends in apparel, fashion, and accessories via social media.

All of this raises a few deeper questions. What should companies do with all this … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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