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Three lessons from six months at Sysomos

Six months ago I joined the Enterprise Social Media Specialist team at Sysomos. Time flies, and when you work in an industry as fast as social media, and for a company with innovation at its very core, there is something new to learn almost every week. Since I sat at my desk for the first time back in May we have launched a new user interface and bought two companies, to name some milestones.

So, to mark the date and celebrate some wins, here’s a short list with the most interesting things I have learned during this time -other than how big dodgeball is in Canada.

1) Boolean Syntax is your Best Friend

Before coming to Sysomos I was only somewhat familiar with Boolean syntax. I knew it existed, and that you could do some stuff with it in Google.

Now I have discovered the true power of the Boolean logic applied to text search. It’s basically what allows us to make a search as broad or specific as we need. In a way, it’s what gives us the option to add context to keywords to get only relevant results.

Thanks to Boolean syntax we can find all conversations that mention iPhone, Android and Firefox OS; or we can find only conversations from people saying that they are impressed with the quality of the pictures taken with an LG Android device in poor light conditions. Really, it’s that amazing.

2) Managing Expectations is Key Long Term

When it comes to client relations, one of the biggest things I’ve learned from my team is the importance of managing expectations since the very first call.

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the value of telling people what you can’t do for them, but I find that it’s the foundation of a healthy long-term relationship in which the client knows they can trust you and you know that there won’t be any frustrating surprises. Once the limitations talk is out of the way you can focus on all the amazing things you can do for them.

3) Visual Recognition is Here

As much as I love Boolean syntax there is a catch: it relies on keywords. And while most of the internet is text-based and we can analyze millions of conversations a day that way, the truth is that “today’s conversation is increasingly visual”, to quote one of my bosses.

So when we got the news that Sysomos had acquired GazeMetrix and they showed us what that technology can do, we got understandably excited. Visual recognition is not the next thing, it’s already here.

Instead of searching for the words “coca-cola”, now we can upload Coca-Cola’s logo and find pictures where that logo is present even if there is no text to help us find it. And it’s not just that: we can see if the Coca-Cola logo appears in images where there are hamburgers, or cars, or bottles, or pizza. You get the point.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from Sysomos Gaze is the vast amount of content that flies under the radar simply because we don’t didn’t have the technology to find it. And how all this content can help brands understand things like how people are using their products or what other things they like, do or buy -which communication teams can use to improve their messaging.

What Will be Next?

The best part is that this is just the beginning. Social media platforms keep evolving (just look at the last few weeks at Twitter!) and companies are getting more social-savvy every day, which means there will be a lot more to learn during the next six months. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

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