When my sister was learning to cross the road, family lore has it that she dutifully stood back from the kerb, listened, looked, then walked across with ears cocked, checking left and right just as she should. They thought she had it cracked – until after a couple of weeks of this, she turned to my mother and asked: “But what am I listening for Mummy?”
We’re all agreed that you should be listening to what’s being said within your community and about your brand, on whatever platform it appears. And there is a proliferation of tools to aid your listening, some paid for, some free. But how should you listen? What should you be listening for? And what should you do after you’ve listened?
As you’d expect, there’s a lot of advice out there. I’ve had a look around, and I’m going to publish a series of three posts – firstly, on the tools, secondly: how to listen and respond, and finally on case studies which demonstrate the rewards of getting it right.
Tools to help you listen
Firstly, that tools list. It’s not exhaustive, so please add any more you find via comments, and don’t forget to mention if they are free or paid. Thanks to Clay McDaniel in 13 Essential Social-Media ‘Listening Tools’: MarketingProfs Articles, and Jake Hird for his post on econsultancy.com
[Update 23 June 09: Anna Banks published this excellent article on what her 'dream' social media monitoring tool would contain. Really good pointers for what to look for when doing your research.]
· Addict-o-matic – Allows you to create a custom-made page to display search results
· BackType- a comments search and tracking engine
· Bloglines – A web-based personal news aggregator that can be used in place of a desktop client
· Blogpulse – A service of Nielsen BuzzMetrics. It analyzes and reports on daily trends within the blogosphere.
· BoardTracker – A useful tool for scanning and tracking within forums
· Commentful – This service watches comments/follow-ups on Blog posts and similar content such as Flickr or Digg
· FriendFeed Search – Scans all FriendFeed activity
· Google Alerts –Daily or real-time alerts emailed to you whenever a specific keyword (chosen by you) is mentioned
· HowSociable? – A simple way for you to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social web.
· Icerocket – Searches a variety of online services, including Twitter, blogs, videos and MySpace.
· Jodange – tracks consumer sentiment about your brand or product across the Web
· Keotag – Keyword searches across the internet landscape.
· Lexicon – searches Facebook walls for keywords and provides a snapshot of the chatter volume around those terms
· Monitter – provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere
· Newstin.com – a multilanguage news aggregator that functions natively in 10 languages and can be combined with machine translation to track news on detailed topics from news and blog sources around the world
· Omgili - for tracking bulletin boards
· Samepoint – A conversation search engine
· Socialmention – billed as the Google Alerts for social media
. Social Buzz- Social Media Search Engine for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
· Surchur– An interactive dashboard covering search engines and most social media sites.
· Technorati – Search engine and monitoring tool for user-generated media and blogs
· Tinker – Real-time conversations from social media sources such as Twitter and Facebook.
· Trendrr – uses comparison graphing to show relationships and discover trends in real time
· Tweetburner – lets you track the clicks on those magically shortened links, giving you some hard numbers.
· TweetDeck – Not only a great way to manage your Twitter account, but the keyword search means you can see what people are saying about you.
· Tweetmeme – monitors Twitter tweets for links and determines which ones are becoming popular, then posts them on a constantly updated page.
· Twendz – piggybacks off Twitter Search to monitor and provide user sentiment for the real-time Twitterstream—70 tweets at a time.
· Twitter Search – Twitter’s very own search tool is a great resource. Can be subscribed to as an RSS ffed.
· UberVU – Track and engage with user sentiment across the likes of, FriendFeed, Digg, Picasa, Twitter and Flickr.
· wikiAlarm – Alerts you to when a Wikipedia entry has been changed.
· Yahoo! Sideline – A TweetDeck-esque tool from Yahoo. Monitor, search and engage with the Twittersphere.
· TruCast – provides in-depth, keyword-based monitoring of the social Web with an emphasis on blogs and forums
· Radian6 and Cision – pulls information from the social Web, and analyzes and provides consumer sentiment ratings for your brand. When paired with CisionPoint from Cision, the evolved Bacon’s of today, Radian6′s dashboard can provide a wealth of information
· Techrigy SM2 is a social-media monitoring and analysis solution for PR and marketing folks
· Collective Intellect – a real-time intelligence platform, based on advanced artificial intelligence. Its solution provides automatic categorization of conversations based on CI’s proprietary filtering technology
· Brandwatch – online reputation management and brand trand tracking via keywords analysis
(Update 6th July 09:
. Viral Heat – a newcomer to the market, just coming out of Beat. See Techcrunch’s article. A lot cheaper than most paid-for apps, this affordable social media measurement product scours social video sites including YouTube, Hulu and Vimeo, and Twitter to deliver real-time results of consumer generated content on these sites. One major drawback is that the site doesn’t allow you to track other social networks where brands are commonly mentioned, such as blogs, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Flickr. The startup says that it has plans to incorporate blogs, sites and social networks into its dashboard over the next few months and will not be planning to change its pricing structure when these services are added. Anyone who has any experience of Viral Heat, please do comment and let us know what its like. )
For a list of 67 social media/web/reputation management tools and sites, please also look at Marc Meyer’s post on Social Media Today – not all of these are on-topic for this post though, and I just didn’t have the space here to list them all.
Update 1 Sept 09: Amusing ansd informative blogpost about the deficiencies of buzz monitoring tools. Make sure you read the comments below too! http://no-mans-blog.com/2009/08/05/the-problems-with-social-media-monitoring-technologies/
Update 19 Oct 09 – FreshNetwork’s excellent list of free buzz monitoring tools http://blog.freshnetworks.com/2009/10/getting-started-1-do-you-know-what-people-are-saying-about-you/
I’d just like to emphasise that none of these tools come with any recommendations (or otherwise) from eModeration, though there are some reviews on the original sites (see links above). Please do add any comments below if you feel there is anything missed or you’d like to add your own experience of these tools.
Tomorrow I’ll be looking at how you should be listening to what’s being said out there.