Taking theRadian6 Webinar Training and Appling it to Real Search

One of the questions we get often and something we fiercely recommend to everyone whether they become our clients or not, is that they must monitor the social media sphere to see what people are saying.

Now at Dragon Search are we pretty uniquely blessed, that we can still assign a real person to every account and because we are so hands on, we can have a human based monitoring in place. It’s not perfect, but it does allow us to not only keep an eye on everything, but gives us those unique opportunities to respond and engage in the conversations for a complete online marketing social strategy .

Still, we know that as both DSM and the medium of social media grows, that our human touch will not be able to keep up with real time and so we have spent considerable time looking at the various monitoring tools. Generally, the industry has declared the proven winner: Radian6 as the most comprehensive monitoring tool about.

Radian 6 Webinars for Training

Now, I have usually prided myself in being able to figure out most programs through simple trial and error. I like being self taught. However, despite being the best monitoring tool on the market, I had to admit and realize that whoever worked on the programming and usability of Radain6 does not share the same logic as myself. That’s not to say that they are wrong, but I could not figure out how to navigate the inner workings on my own, so I have registered and sat through a training webinar today.

Hence, before I forget what my notes mean, I am determined to play within the dashboard that confuses me and get a handle on this tool.  As with all things I test, I use my very familiar “litmus” and return to the world that I know best; adoption issues on the web.

For the purpose of this training/evaluation/ review; I tried to keep my queries both broad and then very targeted. So, while I choose the more general terms such as “adoption’ and “birthmothers”, I also looked at my personal branding with both my ten year old “internet persona” and my own name, and then some hot issue topics that I know are being talked about.

 Hence, my Radian6 Search Terms are:

Radian6 Logic is About Widgets

Thankfully, based on the Radian6 training, I know that their logic is all about widgets! So those After adding the above, I select the first widget the “Conversation Cloud” and got these result for the last 14 days.


I am not too surprised by the results, as yes, most of the terms there are ones that are discussed within the keywords I am searching for. I am, however, a bit surprised that Birthmothers are almost bigger, hence, spoke about more than just general “adoption” term.  I mean, I know that adoption bloggers on the whole, we say write the word adoption like 10 million times!

Then, I went back and added more keywords:

Then, I ran the Conversation Cloud again:


Again, I am a little surprised.

By adding more general adoption terms, the birthmother gains more strength? Meanwhile, if that was the case, I am so surprised that I do not see the words that I or many other people in adoption world use like : grief, loss or sadness. Interesting.

Eventually, I have added even more terms and the final cloud seems much more representational to me, but what is also to note: based on my keyword choices, I did very effectively change the results!  No matter how wonderful a tool might be, it is still a tool and can be altered based on the desired outcome. I can see that some could use Radent6 to change perceptions and that would not be 100% true.


So then I ran the Topic Analysis Widget. And for the last 14 days I get a big fat pie chart of 482 posts about my keywords. But that is not telling me anything great besides the number because I had all the keywords grouped under a brand. Not good! If I do run it and break it down by segments, then I see that most of the conversations are on blogs, which I do expect:radian6-social-network-pie-chart

Anyway, at this point I am not happy with the results because I don’t have pretty color in my pie chart and the subtle shading is just not working for me, so I’m going back to the keyword query! Luckily I can just add new “groups” and move my query terms to them and don’t have to type that much more!  Though it did not seem to break up my results or add more info to it…. and I added more keywords, so I feel confused!

But, I move to the next widget anyway which is the “topic Trends” and using the same keywords and 2 week period, I get this very “green” chart that shows this:

So, since I tend to know what’s going on, I was quite interested in the big curve on all the mediums that happened at the end of the graphs which was the beginning of this week.  I do like that you can pull up the particular posts and threads in the “River of News”.  I have to say that looking at the River of News for just Tweets alone was really, really interesting. I consider adoption “my niche” and that I am very well connected in it.  Looking at all the Tweets pulled just for one day really helps me see that no matter how “on top” of this one area, I am, there is a heck of a lot more conversations happening online about adoption then I see in my networks. Overwhelmingly, I see many, many people using the simple words “I was adopted” on Twitter and then talking about how that affects them.  Hence, I see now that that would be a good search for me to use when looking for new people to follow on twitter and to send news too.

What I DON”T like about this is that it’s really one color and hard to see. But that can be because I have hardly messed with Radian 6 and I have not customized it enough?? I actually am not as concerned about the colors as I am that it seems that it is taking all the “groups I just made’ are feeling into one block of information? I want more colors!

Colors Improve the Radian6 Results

So I go back and play around a bit more and eventually I get it.. a bit difficult, again my logic verses their logic, but I begin to see how they have designed this thing.  I figure out where my keyword groups can come into play so I can have colors.


There is defiantly more to see when you can use the tools better

I did, in playing with it though, mess up on the names.. and the top lighter purple is not social media searches for me, but for the general “adoptee” terms: “adopted person, I was adopted and adult adoptee” which is supported by the results above on Twitter/Micromedia. Of course, then I see that the lovely mustard colored area is all about ME? Really? I got to see THAT river of news!  I remove the segmentation, so I can get a clear picture. I am expecting to see that I tweet and talk about adoption online just all too much and indeed that is the case.

What is rather surprising is that based on the search keywords I had started with and then continued, my personal reach is not as far as I might have thought, yet, overall I generate a incredulous percentage of the adoption talk online IF I was to believe this Radian6 report. And that’s the scary part.. I can’t believe it.  I mean,  it might be fun to think that.. but it’s just not true. I know it’s not.  

I’m still too tempted and there is one more widget to play with and that is “Your Topics Profile’s Influencer”. Considering that I used my name as a search term, I am expecting that I shall be the top influencer of me. That’s really stupid, and so I want to break out my name terms, but I can’t. It’s also going to take up to 30 minutes to get those results, so I do not like it that much right now.

Social Media Analysis Needs More than Graphics

Overall, I am thinking that I like pie charts better than the bar graphs because then you get labels, but these last three charts pretty much just show the same thing in different forms. The question becomes what more to do with this besides just making pretty reports!

And for me, that really becomes the crux behind any new tool or social network or site.   If I knew nothing about social media or nothing about adoption, I might be impressed by what was provided to me by colorful charts and pretty graphics. I guess if I just was into crunching numbers and worrying about metrics, then it could amuse me, but I am much more interested in the why there is a huge spike overall on February 16th! And then, when I see what people are talking about, I want to know Who is talking and where and so, from my perspective, what is the most useful aspect of Radian6 is the “River of News”. 

And so, while I continue to wait to see if I am truly the top influencer of my own little world, I am exporting the full report for the last 30 days on my terms in a river of news, because THAT is what I want and that is what I need and that will allow me to expand my reach and find new people who care enough about adoption issues and THAT is what social media is really about.

And so, yes, for our brands, as long as Radian6 can keep up with the ever changing scope of social networking, and gather up what is being said, it is a very useful tool, but I have to say, so is Google search. In fact, that might have to be my next experiment:

What can Radian6 Find in Social Networks that Google Searches Cannot?



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