Top Ten Free Tools for Monitoring Social Media
Monitoring Social Media Marketing< helps you analyze and understand which of your social media activities is working and measure the success of your overall social media efforts. In our previous post Tracking Social Media: Introduction to Social Media Monitoring we introduced five different options to monitor social media and achieve a comprehensive monitoring. In this post we list the top ten free tools for monitoring social media, tools that will help you achieve some of the goals we stated in our previous post.
Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
There are a lot of free tools online that allow you to gauge your social media effectiveness without spending a dime. Most of these do, however, require some amount of work on your partâin terms of going to a particular site, entering search terms, and analyzing the data or links that comes back.
Below we have broken down the top ten free search tools into the following categories: general survey tools, general analytics, blog sites, micro-blog sites, social bookmarks, and alerts. By and large the chief benefit of the paid tools over these free tools (which we will review in a later post) is that a comprehensive paid tool allows you to do a search with one tool and that tool often also supplies some amount of analysis and even a graphical display.
Below are ten top free tools that allow you to monitor the social web for your brand, product, or industry. Each tool allows you to do this in a slightly different way as we explain below.
A. General Survey Tools:
1. How Sociable
A good place to start is How Sociable, which offers so-called brand visibility metrics and allows you to simply type in your brand name and receive a score across a range of social mediaâFacebook, Google Images, LinkedIn, etc. The instructions on its main page state simply: âType in a brand name. Find out how visible it is on the social web.â Once youâve typed in your brand you then see a clear page with more than twenty boxes and scores, scores like âFacebook People Scoreâ and âGoogle Blog Posts Score.â Itâs a great benchmark for your brand and you can certainly check out your competitors here too. Each of the boxes and related scores lets you drill down and see mentions as well, which is quite helpful.
2. Social Mention
A social media search engine that offers searches across multiple platforms (like blogs and microblogs) together with a âsocial rank.â Search results give you direct links to articles as well as a measure of sentiment, most frequent hashtags used and a list of users who are making the most comments about the keyword searched. Social Mention, with a slogan that reads âReal-time social media search and analysis,â has been compared to Google Alerts as it can send you email alerts on whatever you are monitoring. Social Mention also gives you data that can be broken or sorted into categories such as the ratio of mentions that are positive to the amount that are negative, percentage of people who talk about your brand and will do so repeatedly, and a measure of the range of influence your brand has. The results page scores in four main areas: strength, passion, sentiment, and reach. The results also show keywords associated with the brand and sources for mentions. Social mention is a good way to start to analyze keywords and plan ad campaigns with its âSources,â âHashtags,â and âUsersâ headings.
B. General Analytics
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you deep insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Though Analytics as a tool does not let you monitor the social web directly, it does let you track traffic that results from social media. You can analyze results by using content analysis to check the referring URLs that point to your site. In the area of free monitoring tools online, Analytics is the biggest player by far.
Whostalkin is a free search engine for social media. You just enter your brand, or monitored word, and the tool will return a comprehensive list of search results. If you are after results from a particular source, just click the source on the left side of the page to filter results. WhosTalkin.com is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations surrounding the topics that they care aboutâitâs not numbers oriented like other free tools, but will quickly show where your brand appears, whether on blogs or Myspace.
C. Blog Sites
Technorati is a search engine for searching blogs and a good place to conduct a search of blog posts. Technorati also assigns a widely respected rankings of blogsâthe Technorati 100. Along with Googleâs blog search tool, Technorati is a premier place to search blog posts.
D. Micro-blog Sites
The native Twitter search is a great way to see what people are tweeting about. You can simply search and save a search on a variety of topics. With the extreme popularity and widespread use of Twitter, conducting a search inside Twitter is a great way to see where your brand is popping up.
Also the following applications slice and dice Twitter searching from slightly different angles. In addition to searching directly within Twitter.com, you can also turn to a range of free searches such as the following:
- Twitstat: http://www.twitstat.com/cloud.html
- Hashtags: http://hashtags.org/
- TweetScan: http://tweetscan.com/
- TweetBeep: http://tweetbeep.com/
- TweetMeme: http://tweetmeme.com/
- TwitScoop: http://www.twitscoop.com/
- Twilert: http://www.twilert.com/
You can also try Optify’s free Twitter for Business application which provides you with the full Twitter functionality (tweets, search, monitor), in addition to unique features such as campaign management, and results tracking.
E. Social Bookmarks
Delicious is a social bookmarking service, which means you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. For search purposes, Delicious can show you the most popular bookmarks being saved across many areas of interest. If you search under your brand name also youâll quickly see how many users have bookmarked your site and various online links and blogs and just what words people have used to bookmark those sites. You can also see a list of top tags and gauge how users think of your brand that way.
Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from all over the web. With Digg people collectively determine the value of content and Digg has in some ways changed the way people consume information online. Everything on Digg is submitted by people in the Digg community. Once something is submitted, other people see it and Digg, or choose, what they like best. Searching in Digg affords you a view into this layer of selection online and will show you, again, where your brand is showing up and being recognized by users. Maybe a particular post on your corporate blog? Maybe a product review in a magazine? Digg will show you.
FriendFeed is a free social aggregator. With FriendFeed people take all of their social accounts, such as YouTube, Delicious, Twitter, Flickr and blogs and pull them together into a single feed. You can conduct searches on your brand throughout all social networks at once using this search engine. Aside from learning about the latest video or tweet related to your topic, you can analyze comments that people make under them.
10. Google Alerts
Google Alerts may be the free tool with the broadest reach: Sign up for Googleâs regularly scheduled free email alerts and you can see just when words you specify that can include your brand or company (or whatever term you specify) pop up in a variety of contextsâfrom images to blog posts. Google Alerts is the free, simple and effective way of finding out whatâs being said about your brand online. You can choose to have your alerts delivered as they happen, or on a less frequent basis like daily or weekly. Setting up Google Alerts for your brand name as well as names of your key competitors is definitely step one in your social media monitoring efforts.
Optify is not a monitoring tool and therefore not on this list. Optify is a marketing optimization software that will help you optimize your online marketing and online presence. Using the monitoring tools listed above, you will know who’s talking about you, your product, or your industry, but to understand what needs to be done in order to take advantage of these mentioning, you will need to use Optify.
We had room for only 10 free tools. Share your thoughts, and let us know what free tools you found to be most effective.