I see some great questions on Twitter. Rob’s question is something that many wonder about because there are so many options.
There are a staggering 100 plus social media monitoring platforms out there. That means that your research could be a daunting task. Nathan Gilliatt has a list, but more have launched since then. Do you have specific reasons for monitoring social media? That answer will narrow down the options a lot.
I recommend that you consider these five things:
- Purpose & Features
- Sources & Depth of Information
- Interface & Workflow
- Analytical Options
- Price point
1. The tools range greatly in purpose and features. Here’s a quick list that’s nowhere near comprehensive:
- do it yourself tool versus a service
- focus on a specific area such as public relations, marketing or advertising
- a reseller or collaboration with an existing tool
- some have automatic sentiment & tone & some don’t
2. The tools also vary greatly in the types of sources being collected from and amount of information gathered in regard to each ‘conversation’.
- mainstream media
- social media – blogs, social networks, wikis, video, photosharing, etc
- amount of information gathered related to each piece of conversation
- is historical data available & how far back
3. The interface is important because you’ll be using the tool on a regular basis.
- setting up searches – how flexible is it
- viewing & using the data – are you able to drill for what you need at a granular level
- is there a workflow that allows for multiple people to access and act on the search results
4. Ultimately the strength of the ability to measure & analyze the conversations is the most important piece. Listening & engagement is one thing, but metrics are becoming more important. It’s all about the bottom line & how it’s moving the needle.
5. There is a huge range in price across these tools ranging from free to thousands of dollars a month. A budget will help you focus on the ones that are in your range.
I should maybe add customer service to the list. These are web 2.0 companies so you maybe would assume that they are all listening & participating, but that’s not necessarily the case. But I’ll leave that one for you to test yourself.
What other aspects are important? If you’ve recently chosen a social media monitoring platform what factors affected your decision?