One of the greatest things about social media today is that there are plenty of tools available to help accomplish your goals. Unfortunately, this is also one of the worst things about social media. Having so many tools at your disposal can make it difficult to discover and focus on the most important ones.
Let’s face it, the amount of social media management tools are overwhelming. Who has time to sift through them? Trying to setup an effective program while accomplishing your goals adds to the difficulty. During a recent social media speaking engagement, I was asked which monitoring tools I recommended. This seems like an easy question, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. The best social media tools for your business is directly related to your goals and budget. Some of my favorite tools cost upwards of $1,000. While these offer so much in terms of monitoring and management, these tools may be out of reach for your company’s budget. Here are my recommendations for tools to help monitor social mentions and keyword terms at different price levels:
This is a great free tool from Google that will send you an email or RSS alert for search terms that are mentioned on web pages, blogs and news articles. Pros: It’s great to keep up with what people are saying about your brand, company leaders, competitors or other relevant terms. Cons: It doesn’t search social media and it can miss content. Recommendation: If you have no budget and want to modestly keep your ear to the ground, this is a great tool to help. If you have a larger budget, there are some others that will be more robust in what they offer. No matter your budget, we recommend this supplemental tool. Getting a few free reports will give you a sense of where to begin. Remember, all of these services have room for error.
This free tool will alert you to any mentions on Twitter of keywords you select. We also like that this tool tells us if your domain is mentioned. This is helpful if you want to connect with people who share a blog post or link from your website. It’s great to see who is sharing and reach out to them when you are not tagged. Pros: There is a free version and a low-cost paid version. It searches keywords and domains. You can get multiple updates throughout the day to stay on top of Twitter conversations. Cons: It is only for Twitter, so you will need to use some other tools such as Google Alerts as well. Receiving multiple alerts from multiple companies can be kind of a pain, but it keeps you in the loop and it’s free!
This is a great tool that will search your selected keywords across multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. It sends you alerts via email or RSS. It also shows who is talking about you, which industry they are from and general sentiment, which monitors what the overall feeling is towards your brand. It even breaks down reach and average mentions per hour. Pros: It’s free and offers a chance to search more than Twitter or mentions on the web. It also gives you some advanced features such as sentiment and audience breakdown. Cons: The searches are informational but miss some mentions. Searches seem to pull old mentions which may not be relevant anymore. This is still valuable to see what was talked about, but it’s not as accurate for real-time mentions.
Paid Social Media Monitoring Tools
You know what they say: You get what you pay for. Free tools should not be overlooked, but we have found that the paid tools tend to be more accurate. They offer more of what we need for monitoring our clients reputations and reporting for our community management services and for our clients. There are some inexpensive paid tools available, and these tools often have features that make it worth the expense. Here are a few of our favorites:
We use Raven Tools at SocialNicole for many reasons. The monitoring and tracking is just one piece of the tool. Raventools allows for analytics reporting of social media channels, SEO analytics and reporting for optimization efforts. It also offers Google Analytics reporting, social media monitoring and even some management features. We don’t use everything Raven tools offers, but what we use makes it worth the money. Our clients get analytics and reporting free of charge, but if companies sign-up on their own it starts at $99/month. Pros: It’s part of a much bigger software package that we love. It provides social media, website and blog searches, and it also privides sentiment analytics. Additionally, it provides author reach (influence) which can be helpful for growing your brand. The price is excellent for everything that’s included. Cons: The entire software package will require time to learn, as well as figuring out what you do and don’t want to use. We are still learning at SocialNicole and we have been customers for over 2 years now. It also does not provide the advanced search that Trackur provides.
Trackur most closely represents Google Alerts married to Social Mention, giving you a robust tool that not only listens to the web but also to social media. We have used Trackur in the past as it has a lot of great features beyond the basic keyword search. With influence and sentiment analysis, and a broad search of hundreds of social media sites, forums and blogs, this tool may be one of the strongest tools on the market for monitoring. It’s focused and does what it does very well. Pros: It searches web pages, blogs, news articles, forums and social media channels, giving you not only the mentions, but also sentiment and influence. The influence reporting can be useful for strategy with engagement and growing brand reach, which is a huge plus. It provides basic metrics along with some analytics. Cons: It only does monitoring, and for the price, ranging from $97/month up to $447/month, it may be more than most smaller companies can manage. Because it only focuses on monitoring, you will still need a myriad of other tools to complete all of your strategy and management tasks. The cost may seem steep, but the high-end monitoring tools often cost upwards of $5000, so this is a steal if it fits your budget.
This is a new monitoring software that has come across our radar from the makers of Social Mention. It basically takes the search functions of Social Mention and adds the reporting functions as well as some extras. We are planning on testing it out to give our thoughts on the entire package. Upfront, it seems promising for those who are tightly budgeted, who would like something more robust than the free software we have mentioned. Pros: It is inexpensive, starting at $9/month and going upward to $159/month. The $39/month package will provide monitoring features, which is still reasonable. It also integrates web analytics, some scheduling and management abilities, goal tracking and a few other options. Cons: Because we have yet to use the software, we are unable to list all relevant cons. It is not clear how well the search function works or whether the results are complete. From our initial review, it does not appear to offer sentiment or influencer analysis, but for the price, you can’t necessarily complain. If you are looking for something to help you with your management, monitoring and reporting, this may be your solution. Looking for more help with social media monitoring strategies? Contact SocialNicole for a consultation today! Photo Credit