5 Must Have Social Media Monitoring Tools

By | April 23, 2010 at 5:32 am

A review of the tools that businesses can use to monitor and respond to social media

Straight from the horse’s mouth – that is the biggest blessing of the social media. It is the voice of the end-consumer rather than an influencer who is paid to give an opinion. It is also the biggest curse – there are simply too many horses neighing.

Thankfully, entrepreneurs have been quick to spot the opportunity and today the Net is awash with tools that allow business owners to measure how customers are responding to both new and existing products and services.

Broadly speaking, social media monitoring tools can be separated into two categories – one, that measure momentum, which is the change in surfer traffic around the product or service homepage. And two, that measures the sentiment or tone of what people are saying in social media.

In the case traffic monitoring, whether or not you are on a budget, Google Analytics, is perhaps the best tool to measure traffic for small business. It is free for up to 5 million page views a month if you are not using AdWords, and free for unlimited traffic if you are. Yet at the same time it offers a complete set of traffic monitoring from both social and non-social network, as well a benchmarking and geographic monitoring.

SocialMention

SocialMention measures both tone and reach

Going beyond Google Analytics, Statsmix (free, but in beta) too offers traffic monitoring but as an aggregator. Unlike Analytics, which measures traffic to the homepage, Statsmix monitors traffic across multiple services including YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook giving you a bigger picture of your product  in the Internet universe.

Sentiment monitoring, on the other hand, is a different ball game.

First, to begin with, you need to know what you need to monitor. For example, while most social monitoring tools will monitor popular blog sites and twitter, they will not monitor reviews on popular shopping sites like Amazon. If you are hawking a product on Amazon, you would want a tool that monitors shopping sites.

Once the target media has been identified, the best way forward would be to identify solutions that allow basic services free, and charge a varying fee for different service levels. One such product is Trackur, which offers powerful features such as filtering, sentiment tagging, by influence and media selection, for free. Moreover, as needs increases, Trackur allows its users to migrate to more sophisticated premium plans, which peaks at $297 a month.

However, what Trackur does not measure is the overall strength of the sentiment it identifies. The free SocialMention not only measures the strength of the sentiment, but also the reach of the influencers across the social media universe.

But the epitome of social media monitoring is the engagement of the participants – a feature offered by few, and usually paid services. One such service is the Radian6 platform which has been recently been upgraded with the new Engagement Console. The Engagement Console allows the user to identify and classify influencers and even competitors, monitor their social activity, respond to them on their social platform, and maintain a history of the interaction.

The Radian6 solution thus addresses the issue that has been bothering users of social media monitoring tools since their inception – how to identify and deal with the fake from the real. After all, in the social media universe, some of the horses are paid donkeys in disguise.

  • marksysomos

    Another social media monitoring service worth exploring is Sysomos Heartbeat, which features automated sentiment, geo-demographics, workflow management, integration with Salesforce.com and the ability to identify and engage with opinion leaders and key influencers.

    Mark

    Mark Evans
    Director of Communications
    Sysomos Inc
    @sysomos