It is common for consumers to seek recommendations and advice from their peers on social networks, forums, or rating and review sites when considering a purchase.
Whether or not you choose to proactively engage in social media, it is important to pay attention because what people say could affect your brand’s reputation.
Here are six free or low-cost tools to monitor social media conversations.
HowSociable measures a brand’s presence across social sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn — up to 36 in all — and computes a numerical score to quantify it.
Based on a range from zero to 10, the number — which HowSociable calls a “magnitude” score — provides an indication of the level of activity around a brand during a given week. A score of zero means there is little or no activity, while a score of 10 means the brand is immersed in the social web and is probably highly recognizable. Users can monitor the score week-by-week in order to determine if their presence within social media is growing or in decline.
HowSociable takes into account that smaller companies will have much fewer mentions than large global brands and factors that into the algorithm.
“We score the activity on a magnitude scale to ensure most brands can be compared relative to each other. Huge global brands or big news events typically have tens or hundreds of thousands of times the activity of small local businesses or individuals,” states the site.
Pricing plans for HowSociable are divided into three tiers and start at $9.00 for three months. A yearly subscription costs $99.00.
Viralheat is a social media management platform that includes robust monitoring and analytics capabilities.
The platform listens in real-time to what is said across a range of sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and video. Users can monitor their brand names, products, services, and competitors by keyword and geographic location.
Viralheat helps users identify influencers — those people who are driving conversations on the social web about a brand. It also reveals metrics such as share of voice — the amount of conversation taking place and the sites where those are happening, trends over time, and consumer sentiment.
Viralheat starts at about $10.00 per month and includes the following:
- 15 social accounts;
- Scheduled publishing;
- Facebook geo-targeting;
- Google+ page management;
- Facebook insights;
- Twitter account analytics;
- Unlimited mentions.
A newer platform making its way on the social media monitoring scene is Mention.
Mention monitors social networks, news sites, forums, blogs and many other sources in 42 languages. The platform can be accessed from anywhere, including a website app, Chrome browser app, or iOS and Android apps for mobile devices. It uses responsive web design to ensure a uniform user experience regardless of the device.
Mention sends email push notifications whenever results are discovered. Users can receive daily or weekly email digests. The platform has even been recommended as a suitable replacement for Google Alerts.
Mention offers both free and premium plans, which start at $7.00 per month. Annual subscriptions are also available.
WhosTalkin is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations based on topics. While not as full-featured as the sites listed above, it can be used to get a snapshot of conversations taking place across the social web at a given time.
The site pulls data from more than 60 social media gateways including social networks, blogs, forums, news, video, and image sites.
WhosTalkin is free to use.
Addict-o-matic searches the web for news, blog posts, videos, and images, and then uses that information to create a personalized web page for the topic.
The platform uses RSS feeds to source data from Google, Yahoo!, Technorati, Ask, YouTube, Truveo, Flickr, IceRocket, Digg, and other sites.
Addict-o-matic is also free to use.
6. Social Mention
Social Mention is a free social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the web into a single information stream.
Not only does it pull content in real-time, Social Mention analyzes the data to reveal metrics such as reach, sentiment, and share of voice. Users can also see the top sources for content, top hashtags, and top influencers. Users can subscribe to an RSS feed for topic searches and export data in CSV format.
Social Mention monitors roughly 100 social media properties directly, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, and Google.