HOW TO CHOOSE A SOCIAL
MEDIA MONITORING TOOL
GUIDE by eDigital
Looking for a Social Media Monitoring Software (SMM) but not
sure what to review and how to pick the best social media
monitoring tool (SMM)?
The increasing importance of Social Media conversations in the
process of shaping brand sentiment, brand reputation and influencing
consumer behaviour is now crucial for any business success.
Companies do not longer control conversations and more importantly
have recognised it. Coca-cola for example has mentioned, it do not
have the extensive resources to monitor and control all global
conversations. Other brands try to engage key influencers and
control key topics which they believe are important for its brand
health and success.
A Social Media Monitoring tool (SMM) come in handy when you want
to automate some of the process of finding those key
conversations, influencing consumer behaviour and also having
a high level feeling of your brand sentiment and reputation across the
web. This is extremely important in case of media crisis or any other
public topic affecting your brand.
To help companies to listen and monitor key social media
conversations, a great range of tools/software/platforms (more than
250 according to Ideya Research) are in the market designed to help
analyse the vast quantity of Social Media Buzz. It has also, however
created a highly complicated choice for marketing professionals and
brand managers in identifying and contracting the most appropriate
ones for their brand needs.
I welcome vendors to comment on this article and provide more
information about their tool and what it make it unique. (Let's
see how quickly and effectively they are monitoring their brand).
Out of the 250 Social Monitoring Tools in the market, here are some
26 Social Media monitoring tools (SMM) that are in my radar:
1. Adobe Social
3. @ Walmart Labs (Former: One Riot)
7. Buzz Metrics - Nielsen
13. Lithium Technologies ( Former: ScoutLabs)
14. Radian6 (Now part of SalesForce)
16. SDL SM2 (Former: Alterian)
22. Twelvefold Media (Former: BuzzLogic)
25. Visible Technologies
The below review criteria was made for one of my client's needs and
you might want to give each factor your own importance (weight)
depending on what your needs are and what exactly you need to
accomplish with the SMM Social Media Monitoring Platform. I
believe the below criteria covers all key areas to consider before
committing to a Social Monitoring Tool contract.
How to review a Social Media Monitoring
Before we move into the factors to consider, you need to know what
you want to achieve with the tool (objectives) and how you are going
to measure its ROI.
Start from the basic - What is a Social Media Monitoring tool
A tool/software (custom build web spiders) that detects when and where your
brand has been mentioned on the web and has the ability to understand the
importance (influence/popularity) and sentiment of the mention in order to
gain actionable insights to help your brand's social media engagement
Social Media Monitoring tools benefits
Identify risks and issues at an early stage before they become
a media chaos.
Identify existing and emerging brand influencers.
Benchmark and measure sentiment against your competitors
Spot new consumer behaviour, preferences.
Identify new social media platforms where conversations about
your brands are happening.
Identify business generation leads.
Quickly identify customer dissatisfaction at an early stage.
Identify purchase considerations and help with customer
Improve product/service development.
Identify gaps in the market
Identify potential talent that can work at your company.
Selection Criteria - Factors to consider
How is the content aggregated? Third party? Own system?
How often? Real time?
You might want a tool that aggregates social media
conversations in real time using their own system as
"immediacy" will be key to shape your brands' conversations.
2. SENTIMENT ANALYSIS
Is "Sentiment Analysis" automated?
What's the algorithm? How is it being formed?
Can the vendor show some examples related to your brand
where automated sentiment analysis is performed? did it make
sense? are they meaningful?
Can you and your team members be alerted (via txt or email)
when social media conversations from key influencers bring
some sort of "bad sentiment" about your brand? Can the tool
allow you to respond immediately and easily?
3. DATA RETRIEVAL
How long is content archived? is back data available? To which
year? If so, what are the extra cost?
This is key as sometimes you might want to compare social
media buzz between different dates withouth paying too much
Some of the Social Media monitoring tools might archived
content for a specific period of time 6 months/one year so you
need to ensure you have systems in place to archived the
conversations in case you want to go back to them later on. In
some cases it might be too much information so you might
want to prioritize what exact conversations (keywords) you
want to keep in your companies records (maybe just brand
terms and not generic terms).
4. DATA COVERAGE
Can the vendor offer an example coverage for a specific brand
term you would like to monitor within a specific country and
time range? Lets say you want your Social Media Monitoring
vendor to give you an example of Data coverage for the term
"Iphone 5" within Australia during the period of July 1st to July
Getting an specific test will allow you to compare results within
different vendors and have a great indicative on which tool
might bring more relevant results.
5. DATA REACH
For some brands, most of the social media buzz happens
inside private Facebook conversations. There is no Social
Media Monitoring tool that will allow you to track these
Facebook conversations that mentioned your brand's name.
You would like to check with your Social Media Monitoring
Vendor what other social media conversations the vendor
cannot monitor: ie. Intranets, Instagram, any other.
Ask your vendor what data cleansing strategies are in place to
address spam, splogs, duplicate content? If results from
duplicate content are found…would you have pay for them?
7. SEARCH TYPES
Is boolean logic available when constructing searches? ie
Does the tool allows for other way to construct searches?
This is important as it will allow you to get the exact
conversations you want to monitor and filter out the ones you
do not really care.
8. SEARCH RESULTS SPEED
This is key. You might find some tools are quiet slow. You want
to double check they are fast when bringing results. How long
(on average) does it take to retrieve results for your brand's
most popular term? within an specific country and time range?
Get that tested before signing up.
9. METRICS AVAILABLE
What specific metrics are standard in the system?
Do the tool offer sentiment analysis? At micro level? Post
Check how the sentiment analysis was constructed by the
vendor and see if it makes sense for your brand social media
Can the sentiment analysis be tweak by the tool user?
10. DATA PRESENTATION, CUSTOMAZATION, AUTOMATION,
What dashboard features are available in the standard tool
Can dashboards be customised by users?
Are drill down capabilities available for all analaytics on the
Can reports be automatically delivered and share across the
11. ENGAGEMENT - SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSE
What workflow capabilities the tool offers? Can specific
conversations be assign to other users? You might want the
tool to spot customers in distress (while using your
product/service) or customers venting out bad commentary
about your brand and pass that quickly to your customer
service team for immediate follow up.
Does the tool allow for user to engage directly with content
Can "owned" content (ie your brand website, Facebook page,
twitter) be managed by the Social Media Monitoring tool user.
Can multiple Facebook pages be monitored?
Once a conversation is engaged and completed, what reports
the tool can offer?
Can Real time social conversation alerts be sent to specific
users? Or franchisees' emails ( non-tool users)?
12. SPECIFIC INDUSTRY BASED FEATURES
Is there anything in your the Social Media Monitoring Tool set
up for set up for your specific industry? If so, ask the vendor to
I know some such as Venue Labs are made for franchisee
based brick and mortar businesses for example.
What additional types of data can be integrated in the system?
Google Analytics? Email database? CRM?, Sales Force?, etc
14. REPORTING CAPABILITIES
Does the standard version allow for reports to be generated?
Can reports be automatically produced?
Can reports be customized? At what level?
15. GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE
Can the tool just track conversations happening in Australia or
in a specific City in Australia? How?
Would it pick up Australian based conversations happening in
different languages? Any extra costs?
16. PRICING STRUCTURE
There are three key main pricing structure most of the Social
Media Monitoring tools offer: Volume based pricing, Search
based pricing and flat rate.
You need to compare which structure might be best in the long
term. You might want to start playing for specific keywords
monitoring regardless volume or you might want to pay by
volume regardless the amount of keywords you want to
monitor. The last alternative is to pay a flat rate that gives you
access to a specific amount of volume and number of
keywords to monitor during a specific time period.
Is there any trail period? Can we try the tool for a month?
How the cost varies depending on amount of members
accessing the tool?
17. TOOL SET UP (INSTALLATION)
Is there any specific system requirement needed?
You might want to check with your IT department there is no
issues to install the tool in your computers.
Is training included on the tool costs? How many training
hours? If not, what are the training costs?
19. VALUE ADDED SERVICES
Is tool installation and configuration costs included?
Is customer service available just at business hours or 24
Is there any success retail franchise based Australian client
case study you can offer? If not, why not retail franchise based
Australian clients have not bought your tool?
21. MINIMUM CONTRACT PERIOD
What's the minimum contract period.
Can the Social Media Monitoring vendor allow you for a test
22. CONTRACT TERMINATION NOTIFICATION
Is there anything you have to be aware when deciding to
terminate a contract with the Social Media Monitoring tool
When contract finish, is it clear how to store the data used
during contract period? do you have to pay any extra cost?
23. TOP USP'S
Out of all the above criteria, which top two does your tool
position as the best in the market?
I welcome your feedback and any other factor you believe can be
added into the process of reviewing a Social Media Monitoring tool.
Mauricio Escobar Mármol@ eDigitaloffers support on Social
Media, Digital Marketing and Online Media.
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