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7 Social Media Monitoring Tools Reviewed

Contributor:
justinflitter
justinflitter
Source: http://justinflitter.com

As a Social Media Community Manager for a Web 2.0 company, naturally I want to find out whats going on around our brands, our competitors and the industry in general.

I want to be able to create reports that match up interactions with customer purchases to see ROI, and our effectiveness.

I want to hear what people are saying in a more interactive and fulfilling environment with sentiment and influence metrics so I know where to spend my time and perhaps who needs a free t-shirt, stuff like that.

In addition I want to be able to visually see activity levels (#'s of tweets, blog posts, and comments) that match my keyword searches and be able to compare against competitors, industry topics and for sentiment and influence factors.

Over the last week I have looked at the following; Paid products Radian6 - Techrigy SM2 - Scoutlabs - Sysomos - Trackur- Free Products  Social Mention - TweetReach

Hopefully I'll be able to give you a little insight into each of these applications.

radian6

Radian6 is certainly the most grunty application. It's expensive too. But dont let that put you off, if you have the budget why not get the most bang for your buck. I'm even convinced it could actually increase your ROI for social media just by logging in.

Radian6 allows you to set up multiple dashboards where, once you have set up your Topic Profiles you can create Conversation Clouds, Rivers of News, Topic Trends, Topic analysis and Influence viewer widgets.

Here's a snapshot of the Radian6 Dashboard.

Radian6

The top right bar graph shows a comparison segmenting out what proportion of your results come from each media source twitter or blogs etc.

Radian6 comes complete with a great series of tutorial videos, but overall this is a very simple application which I had set up and running in less than 30 min.

The reporting is detailed and easily allows you to drill down to the details you need.

Pricing starts at $500 for up to 10,000 search results per month through to $1500 per month for 50,000 search results.

I rate it 7/10 because its expensive and it took me 3 weeks of asking to actually get sent a login email.

SM2

TechrigySM2 is the next application I've looked at. After talking with John Tonini from TechrigySM2 I signed up for the "Freemium" version.
It's not quiet as intuitive as Radian6 and the UI took me longer to navigate and learn. There are baked in video tutorials, which enables you to see the dashboard your working while watching the clip.

SM2

You can see the map overlay option above and the demographics (graph below) which  are nice unique features to this app.

SM2 demographics

Pricing starts at $600 per month for 20,000 results through to $4,800 for 500,000 stored results.

I rate it 6/10

As with Radian6 there must be some intensive data warehousing and databases behind these tools so I appreciate the costs but there is one shortcoming.

While tags, sentiment, influence and tone are a key features of both applications you can't actually assign a dollar value to a particular interaction.

For instance. You should be able to import a .csv file containing names of your customers which are then checked against your stored results. Or you could have a simple $ symbol with a slider allowing you to easily assign value to that interaction if you know that person had subsequently purchased or referred business to you.

This metric could also me matched to the level of engagement ie. did they check out your site after reading a comment on a post from one of your staff or did you directly engage them on Twitter or their blog.

Ascertaining true value of social media requires a much easier method of determining and equating for follow through.

Scoutlabs

With Scoutlabs you get 1 months free trial but you have to submit your credit card first, just remember to cancel if its not for you.

I really like this app. Its simple to use and has some handy features. Its no where near the complexity of the previous two and has some pretty simple graphs but it works. I especially like the simple overlay feature in the graphs so you can compare data trends.  The other apps have this too but I like these better :)

Setting up searches is easy and I had a basic dashboard running in fifteen minuets. Lets check out the interface

Scoutlabs

Notice the BUZZ rating right at the top. Its a unique field. I need to read up more on what the calculation or weighting settings are for this as some of my searches resulted in large negative BUZZ scores. Maybe this feature would focus your attention on the BUZZ score too much?

The right hand list of associated key words is nice and can help you see whats currently trending well.

Pricing starts at $99 per month for 5 concurrent searches to $749 per month for 125 concurrent searches so its more than reasonable on the budget, just as useful as any other but perhaps not as intensive. It's a very useful striped down version  as Radian6 or SM2.

I rate it 7/10 for sensible pricing and a nicely functional UI

Sysomos

Apart from the fact I cant pronounce this word I actually have not yet sampled this app. It's not available on a trial or freemium as I'm waiting for a demo, NZ time :).

I'm listing it here as it was referred to me by someone on Twitter and the website looks well designed so I have hopes. The pricing is also nice at $500 per month with unlimited search results.

So stay tuned ill have this up as soon as they get back to me

Trackur

The cheapest of the premium apps I'm looking is Trackur, but I'm still only sampling the free trial, its fully featured though.

Basically you have 5 things you can do with Trackur.

Create searches, view results, search by influence, apply a simple sentiment rating and view a simple graph.

Here's the deck, this is my influence refined search result.

trackur

You can expand the results and easily flag each one good, bad or ugly I guess.

trackur

Pricing starts at $18 per month for 3 searches updated twice a day through to $197 per month for 150 searches updated every 30 minuets.

So if you're after a bare bones app that does the simple stuff well this ones probably going to cater to you.

I rate it 6/10

Social mention

Social Mention is a free key word tracker that displays key stats like sentiment in a nice dashboard. The difference between Social mention and the paid services is that Social mention does not store any data for you so the dashboard is a instant snapshot of up to the last 30 days activity.

socialmention

The left hand column has top keywords, top users, top hashtags, post rank and sources. This information is very useful. There's more information here than in some of the paid services...

The downsides are you're often waiting for it to run the search each time you change your view and you can't save, bookmark or score your results.

Price is Free

I rate it 8/10

Tweetreach

As the name says TweetReach is only concerned with your Tweets. You enter a keyword and it scans for results from the last 50 Tweets matching that key word. You can pay for the 30 day report but that just gives you a pdf  extract of all your tweets, not particularly useful.

tweetreach

Now if one of your famous quotes suddenly went viral on twitter and was retweeted a bunch of times this report would be interesting reading. Possibly a great way to know who you need to send #followfriday tweets to :)

Given that we have Social Mention I cant see much use/value for this. Sorry guys

I rate it 4/10.

Wrap-up

So that's it. I hope you got a snapshot of a few of the nice monitoring apps that are on the market at the moment.

Given that the market is developing rapidly I'd say they will all be running regular updates, adding new features and perhaps even my ROI tagger idea from up the page.

Every application has its purpose and does it well. On some the UI needs to be improved before it becomes really useful but generally I have been impressed with what you can do and find out :)

MY PICK

Scoutlabs

Overall my favorite was the Scoutlabs tool. Its pricing equally matches what you get, it has a nice simple UI that works for me and I'm getting all the data I want in quick time.

I'd love to hear your comments.

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