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Monitoring & Analyzing Social Media

With over 1.5 billion conversations stored, can you afford not to listen?

May 3, 2009

Are all Social Media Monitoring Tools created equal

I see some great questions on Twitter. Rob’s question is something that many wonder about because there are so many options.

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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:

  1. Purpose & Features
  2. Sources & Depth of Information
  3. Interface & Workflow
  4. Analytical Options
  5. 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?

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