Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Automated Twitter Service for SMB's

PaperG, which is behind the PaperG ad offering and PlaceLocal automated SMB display ad creation is announcing a new tool that helps SMBs confront the “Twitter firehose” in an automated way. The tool is Polly.IM:

Here’s a quick description of how it works:

Polly.IM monitors Twitter for mentions of the business, categorizes the tweet, and suggests an appropriate, customizable response. For example, the service can help businesses thank customers for checking-in, send coupons to new followers, and respond to comments about the business.

The business owner signs up and can create a range of responses (many are “templated”) to send to customers under various circumstances. These can be entirely customized as well. A customer mentions or checks in at a local business and an automated response goes out (not necessarily real time however): “Thanks for the mention, here’s 20% your meal on your next visit.”

PaperG CEO Victor Wong told me that Polly.IM is using semantic/natural language processing to figure out what’s being said and which of the pre-determined responses to use. Wong said that in a three-month test the there were relatively few errors or problem responses.

A human can always monitor Polly.IM and intervene to ensure that the right response goes out or to provide a very specific answer to an ambiguous or problem tweet. Wong told me that if the system truly doesn’t understand the essence of the statement it won’t respond.

Currently an account is only permitted to send one tweet per day — in the current free version, which clearly implies a premium version with enhanced capabilities and features. PaperG also envisions resellers and agencies using the tool. That is probably a more likely scenario than direct SMB adoption.

Polly.IM now joins a diverse group of products that includes Needium, LocalResponse, Roost and JoinLocal, all seeking to move beyond more passive “listening” into structured, proactive engagement and prospecting via social media. The big question that surrounds these products is the degree to which social media can be “outsourced” and the degree to which it needs to be actively managed by the SMB itself.

Posted via email from Randy's Stuff

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