Since I started contributing to this blog back in June of last year, I’ve had a few postsÂ that seemed to really provide value.Â Of those, the Quick n’ Dirty Guide to Social Media Monitoring was the one that got the most traffic, comments, links, and tweets.Â Â
In that post, we discussed how to set up a very basic social media monitoring system that you could implement inÂ about a half hour or less per day,Â using only free tools like Google Alerts, Delicious, Flickr and YouTube.Â We also discussed the importance of simply claiming your brand name and space on sites like Twitter and Facebook’s Pages.Â
So let’s say you’ve been cruising along with your social media monitoring system for a while now, and are ready to step things up to the next level.Â Maybe you’re an internal marketing guy, and after a month or so of doing this monitoring activity as sort of your own personal pet project, you’re ready to start creating some kind of reporting to show your boss.Â Maybe you’re a marketing consultant, and you’re ready to pitch social media monitoring as an official service offering.Â
If you’ve been using the techniques from the first Quick ‘n Dirty Guide, you will quickly realize it’s not terribly efficient when it comes to showing someone else your work.Â For all it’s simplicity, it’s a very manual process (which is part of what keeps it very manageable).
So this week, let’s take a few minutes to talk about a few tools to help you take your social media monitoring to the next level.Â
Fortunately, if you’re still not ready (or don’t have the budget) to shell out the big bucks for a high-end monitoring tool like Radian6, Cymfony or Nielsen Online, there are some free or low-cost tools available.Â (There’s also what I’d consider a mid-range tool from ScoutLabs, but Jason has already reviewed it here, and I’ll probably be including it in the Advanced version of this post.)
First, let’s talk aboutÂ SM2 by Techrigy.Â Rather than do a detailed review, I’m going to just hit the highlights.Â SM2 is fairly feature-rich even at the “freemium” account level.Â Â You can see not only volume of brand references in social media (including microblogging apps like Twitter), but also drill down deeper into aspects of the data, including author demographic data, sentiment and emotion.Â I particularly like the “Theme Graph” that shows up as a tag cloud.Â If you’re looking to impress your analytical boss with tons of data, charts and graphs, this may be the tool for you.
Techrigy is also doing a good job of “walking the social media talk” in terms of community-building around its tool, hiringÂ Connie BensenÂ as SM2’s online community manager.
Next, let’s talk briefly about Filtrbox.Â Filtrbox also has both free and premium accounts.Â The interface for Filtrbox is more like Radian6.Â You set up keyword searches called “filters” and receive fairly simple reporting back on those filter results.Â One nice feature is their “FiltrRank” score, which helps you quickly sort the more visible, influential content from the random ranter.Â You can also flag items for follow up, making it a handy workflow tool.Â Also, if you’ve been using Google Alerts before now, you can import those searches into Filtrbox (So see? All that effort was not lost!)
Filtrbox sends a “Daily Briefing” email summarizing all the results from your filter search each day.Â Depending on the filter and number of results, that can be incredibly convenient, or overwhelming.Â
If you’re ready to take your monitoring campaign a step up from Google Alerts and Delicious, I’d recommend you create a free account for both these tools and play around with them.Â Experiment a little, and see what results you get.Â Depending on your needs, you may find that one or the other works better for where you’re at now.Â You may like a particular tool but need the paid version.Â Or you may find that both these tools together provide the best solution.Â Don’t be intimidated.Â You’ve mastered the basics–you can do this.Â
Since we’re moving up to the Intermediate level, I should probably note that you may want to check on the Facebook Page and Twitter profile you set up initially.Â You may find that a community is forming around your brand, even if you’ve done nothing but claim the space and populate it with a little exclusive content.Â If so, add checking those to your weekly activity.Â It takes less time than you think, especially if you’re just checking for inappropriate content.
And if your boss just really digs those charts and graphs (but still doesn’t want to spring for a paid tool), check out Icerocket’s Trends tool and Nielsen’s free Blogpulse tool.Â You might also find some information there that can help you sell your organization or clients on the value of social media monitoring.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, we’re going to do an Advanced Quick n’ Dirty Guide covering ScoutLabs, Radian6, Cymfony and Nielsen.