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

7/14/11Follow @gthuang

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information, such as who the top influencers are? In Krush’s case, brands can try to harness the trend-setters to help them design new products and get ahead of the fashion curve. In SocMetrics’ case, companies can reach out to top influencers in targeted demographic areas (moms or singles, say) and send them tailored messages about their brand or products.

But is there even a sustainable business model for social analytics, or social commerce for that matter? Are people really saying things that are valuable enough to build businesses around? Rodenstein, for one, would say yes—and I would guess his view reflects that of most companies in the sector.

“There are a lot of organic ways that products and brands and purchasing decisions get talked about. Someone says they just got this [new product], they want to brag, they’re excited about it. People ask for recommendations, and they talk about negative experiences,” he says. “You can try to use it in a proactive, offensive way to score points, but also brands are playing defense, and they need to know what’s being said about them. It’s sustainable in the sense that it’s only going to increase.”

Finally, I asked Rodenstein a few broader questions about some of the entrenched social-media tech giants:

What does he think of Google+? “It’s bold,” he says. It’s being plugged on every Google page and is the first product in a while to carry the full Google name. So time will tell.

And Twitter’s progress? “I’m a huge fan, but they haven’t catered to the mainstream,” he says. “They’ve done so little in the last four years to evolve the product.” (Simple things like following people’s conversations is still hard for most users, he says.)

Lastly, is Facebook vulnerable to the next cool thing? He paused.

“No.”

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 or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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