5 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools You Should Be Using in 2012

Thursday, May 03, 2012
SCoucill

I am going to start by assuming that social media is already a key part of your marketing strategy (if it’s not, please watch the video below, and take a giant leap into the present).

Now, for those of you who are active in social media, I’m sure many of you will attest, implementing social media marketing ‘effectively’ is a rather time consuming process. And when time’s a commodity that many small (and large) businesses lack, it helps to have tools to streamline this process. Beyond just creating a Facebook page or Twitter account you need to have the time to monitor what people are saying about your business so you can start a conversation.

I’ve always loved the saying “If you’re not talking about you, than someone else is”, which couldn’t be closer to the truth when it comes to being present online.  The bottom line is if you can’t see what people are saying (the good, the bad and the ugly) and where they’re saying it, how are you supposed to engage in the conversation that is key to building an online community?

So to make your life easier, I’ve highlighted five tools to help you connect with the right people online, track the conversations that matter most to your brand and that will hopefully decrease the amount of time you spend online monitoring your social platforms.

1. Google alerts

Yes, it seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised by how many people are not using this FREE and useful tool. If you are in charge of your company’s marketing/communications function, than signing up to receive Google alerts should come as a no brainer.

Not only are Google alerts one of the easiest things to use, but, if set up properly with queries and keywords, can deliver some pretty impressive results. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the email updates to start rolling into your inbox.

TIP: Start with keywords that include your company name, products, and your URL.

2. Search.twitter.com

The best way to start by finding the ‘right’ people to connect with your brand is by conducting a search. I often find this tool very helpful. Here you can search for keywords or phrases and view those mentions (from up to two weeks ago) as they occur on Twitter. This is the first step you should take to help build a targeted list of influencers.

TIP: Start to follow the key influencers that could impact your brand and start a conversation, retweet their articles/posts and look for ways to provide answers to any questions they may have.

3. Hoosaid.com

Similar to above, Hoosaid acts as the Google search engine for social media sites. The service provides an easy, fast and effective way to find and target the key people who influence your industry online.

Consider this example: you are looking for people who are influential in “search engine optimization” (or #SEO), simply type in “SEO” (one word) into the search bar and watch as the search results bring in people who didn’t just say the word “SEO”, and otherwise are not influential in the subject, but has actually brought in a list of people who are influencers in “SEO”.

4. Social Mention

Marketed as the Google alerts (GA) of social media and is as simple to use, Social Mention (SM) is a great tool for small businesses that don’t have the budget to pay big bucks for social media monitoring sites like Sysomos or Radian 6.

All you need to do is create alerts and wait for the analytic reports to come in to your email. The difference between GA and Social Mention is that SM features the most common indicators of social media activity (strength, sentiment, passion and reach), in addition to; allowing you to track trends, which gives you data that you can use to target your social media strategy based on what is relevant to your community.

5. Timely

The fifth and final site that I love to use, aside from my beloved Hootsuite, is Timely. This service maximizes the effectiveness of your social media tweets by analyzing your previous tweets to find out when they performed the best. Using this information, plus a few other things, they then hold onto your tweets and release them to the twittosphere when they think the tweets will garner the most attention.

Genius? I think so. Additionally, Timely has analytics in place to keep you up-to-speed with the performance of your tweets – super helpful for understanding what is working and what isn’t.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that there are new platforms emerging everyday that are going to claim to make social media monitoring easier for you. Listed above are just a few platforms that I’ve found useful, but it’s up to you to decide which platforms work best for you.

If there are any platforms that you’ve found helpful, please share them with me via sharing a link on  Twitter or by posting a comment below.

Till next post, happy tweeting, posting, pinning and liking!

To find out more, get in touch!

Simone Coucill, PR and Communications Manager