Antony’s Map, Monitor and Engage mantra was a great rule of thumb for brand marketers looking to take their first steps in social media. Unlike most 1-line solutions it has the benefit of being usable and meaningful; providing an actionable plan for sometimes very hesitant marketers. First of all work out who your community is, then track what they’re saying about you (and everything else) and then – and only then – consider how to engage with them. Easy!
It (or this approach at least) also led to few practical mapping/monitoring tools, often called “webmaps” such as Jon‘s and one from Spannerworks. I’ve heard of two or three others, and just today seen this interesting post from a staffer at VML, who are using their seer solution to alert brands to problems (unhappy conversations) so action can be taken. The Wall Street Journal discussed how Seer was used by Addidas to spot a problem with its Predator boot which led them to provide customers with care advice. Perhaps it would be preferable for customers to be having those conversations directly with the brand but this is a good second best.
More importantly than the fact they’re clearly getting better press coverage, VML certainly has won the battle for the coolest (if not strikingly useful) visualisation.