When there are so many features that work so well, it's hard to know where to start.
Crimson Hexagon's ForSight platform is very powerful, adaptable, easy to understand, and just endlessly useful. Coming from a medium sized corporation, I can't imagine a large organization conducting market research on the social web without it.
The breadth of the dataset across social networks, the years' worth of historical data, the deep network analysis of the Affinities/Segments feature, the ability to track topics and trends across time - each of these features alone would be enough, but together they create an indispensable tool for businesses looking to identify opportunities in the marketplace. Plus, it all comes in an intuitive, slick, user-friendly interface.
I have personally built over a hundred monitors for our company and clients that range from the very simple to the very complex, which translates to easily two hundred plus hours of usage. The customization it offers to power users is enormous. Though I think companies would be best off with at least one heavy user on their teams (rather than many light users), even the simplest of monitors, able to be set up by anyone in minutes, can reveal so much information.
I want to specifically single out the natural language analysis capabilities of ForSight. I am consistently impressed with the algorithm's ability to sort nuanced posts into coherent categories. Many times it has proven itself far more capable than I was prepared to give it credit for.
It's also a highly scalable tool. We make plenty of ad-hoc monitors that bring in a small number of targeted posts (a few thousand), but as you bring in more posts, up into the millions, ForSight's parsing and analytical capabilities only become more powerful.
In the last few months, their processing speed has increased, and most buzz (simple) monitors I make are now ready in minutes. More complex monitors can still take a few hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the monitor and the size of the data pool.
The folks at Crimson Hexagon are constantly updating and refining the product and adding useful new features that now seem essential. As an organization, they are very receptive to user feedback and very clearly interested in hearing exactly how their customers are using the product, what is working for them, and what could be better. Their support team, too, is super, super responsive, sympathetic, respectful, and helpful.
Demographic data could definitely go deeper; at the moment it's limited to gender analysis and volume by country or US state. There are some seemingly basic controls missing, such as the ability to sort post lists (by date, by source, by category - any of these would be very helpful). It would be nice if filters could be applied to every section, including Twitter, Authors, and Affinities. Sometimes you have to work to filter out spambot accounts on Twitter: even if the accounts are now suspended, their tweets remain in Crimson Hexagon's archives. But that might just be a natural hazard of working with Twitter.
If you plan to make extensive use of it, I recommend having an expert on your team who is capable of wielding it to its full capabilities, both on the build and analysis side. It's pretty intuitive for casual users, but the cleanest, richest, most precise data will come from someone who understands ForSight's capabilities from experience. Support is also great at answering questions about its abilities the extent that is necessary.
Also, this is not a "fire and forget" tool. Using it requires an ongoing investment of time, which should be a priority. We have had internal teams request monitors, only to admit that they "never found the time" to look at the results.
We have used Crimson Hexagon's ForSight platform for so many purposes it's hard to keep track of them all. Market research, publicity outreach to influencers, identifying keywords for metadata optimization, acquisition research, ad/publicity campaign tracking, evaluation of the social platforms of prospects, finding popular blogs and forums and places of "deeper" conversation - the list goes on. We've even used it, internally and externally, just to impress people with the insights we're capable of mining. When people see what you can discover with this tool, they know you're serious about utilizing social.
We have impressed clients, improved marketing and publicity campaigns, and gained a better understanding of dozens of markets and communities thanks to ForSight.
I should note that we do not use it for brand management, sentiment analysis, or social monitoring, simply because those functions do not make sense for our uses (we are a B2B company and have little direct interaction with consumers).