Social Media

11 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools (and 2 you have to pay for).

By Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp | Columnist

February 7, 2011 | 7 min read

Update on April 1st 2011 – has just acquired Radian6 in a $326 million deal which is one of the products recommended in this blog.

social media buzz monitoring tool

I get asked about the best way to monitor the social web a lot at conferences and events and it’s a tough question; the answer can vary massively depending on what sort of company or brand the person asking question comes from, and how much budget and time they are willing to dedicate to the activity. After a similar question was asked on the Go-Social community on LinkedIn I felt a blog was in order. The easiest place to start is to set up the relevant Google alerts for your products, brand name and key industry terms. This will pick up most web and blog mentions and then add to that a key word column in Tweetdeck, or even use Twitter Search, and that will be enough for most people. But If you want to be more thorough, there are a number of tools you can use ranging from simple and free to complex and pricey…

social media buzz monitoring tool

1. Google Alerts can give you daily or real-time email alerts when your specific keyword is mentioned.

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2. Social Mention – Like Google but for the social web (their own slogan says it all) very good tool that’s great for general research as well as social buzz monitoring.

3. Tweetdeck – A great tool for Twitter in particular. You download TweetDeck to your desktop and it’s a great way to monitor tweets and trends. TweetDeck gained traction when Twitter’s website was pretty much unusable, but despite improvements to I still swear by it.

a. Set up keyword search terms and you get a column where all the tweets mentioning you or your product are displayed.

b. For balance, I should say that Hootsuite does pretty much the same job and both have handy little iphone apps.

4. TwitterSearch – You can subscribe to searches as an RSS feed and as it’s actually an official Twitter product it is pretty good.

5. Twitterfall – More often used for live Tweet displays at events – it’s a great tool for following live debate around key words and hashtags.

6. TweetReach – Want to know how far a Twitter hashtag your company is using has gone? It tells you how many people have received tweets with your hashtag. It’s free, or there is an enhanced paid version if you need that. a. I use Tweetreach and Twitterfall at all my events to monitor the buzz we are creating.

7. Technorati Nowhere near as dominant as it used to be but if you want to know what’s going on in the blogosphere, Technorati is the granddaddy of blog searching. Basically it’s a blog search engine and monitoring tool for finding informed opinions and mentions that last longer than 140 characters.

8. Tinker – Not really competition to Google alerts but interesting and well laid out. It mixes feeds from real time-ish social media buzz on Twitter and Facebook with articles and news feeds from Reuters, and then shows you what people are tweeting about.

9. Addictomatic A cool little tool that lets you set up a webpage to track a topic, grabbing mentions from WordPress, Flickr and FriendFeed etc

10. BoardTracker – If people are saying things on forums that you need to follow, have a look at BoardTracker for scanning hundreds of thousands of forum discussions, very important if you have an online reputation management problem. Impressive if a bit technical in it’s reporting.

11. HowSociable – Now if you bought your iphone because it was pretty you will love HowSociable! It is so pretty but probably better for looking at the social media scores of big brands rather than SMEs.

a. Type in a keyword and you get a buzz score for just about every conceivable social platform. You then click through to see the mentions that generated the score and well err here it got a bit ropey for me but if I was managing a consumer brand I would use it a lot more.

12. Trackur has a limited free tool but also an $18.00 sub version. The thing I quite like about this is the ability to rank the people mentioning you or your brand in terms of influence; this allows you to prioritise who to respond to if you are struggling with an ORM problem.

13. MeltwaterBuzz Now for the big boys – if you have a brand that needs to be professionally managed and you need a serious professional tool. MeltwaterBuzz is a heavyweight (paid for) brand monitoring system

14. Radian6 These are market leaders and so are a bit more pricy and less flexible than Meltwater. This is the original heavyweight buzz monitoring tool for brand managers, good but pricy.

There are others and I am always interested in finding new ones, so post up your recommendations and let’s have a look at them. However I guess with this many key words in a blog if the guys that own these platforms don’t find the blog and complain at not being included themselves then they can’t be that good.

Is this blog useful? Share, tell us which ones you prefer – join the conversation. Gordon Go-Social on LinkedIn Be Remarkable PS thanks to Hugh from Forth Metrics for asking the question on Go-Social and Mark Longbottom from design58 for contributing a link or two.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp



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