Three Free Social Monitoring Tools Worth Exploration
We live in a world where the entire globe can have access to your name, IP address, photo and all of your public information with a simple search.
Now social media takes it one step further. I not only can find your past exploits online, but I can hear the conversations that the entire globe is having about you, right now, with a simple click (and maybe some typing too).
Twazzup, Addict-o-matic and SocialMention are three free platforms that allow you to measure your social media mettle—or more simply put, see all of the buzz or conversations surrounding your brand online, at any time. Never heard of these platforms? No worries, I’ve got your back!
Twazzup, as stated by ReadWriteWeb , is a bridge between Twitter and a search engine. Sticking with the “stay with what you know” mantra, Twazzup mostly plays in the Twitter sandbox, but plays very well there. From logging Tweets per hour to giving mug shots of the top influencers of any search, Twazzup gives you a full-circle view of how your brand is performing in the Twitter space.
Addict-o-matic, with the least D.A.R.E.-friendly tagline, “Inhale the Web,” is exactly the first thing you should think of when you say the words “social search.” Addict-o-matic lets you see how your brand is being presented on a number of different social platforms all in one page. With all search engines, aggregation sites like Digg, Flickr and YouTube for media-phile searchers, Addict-o-matic literally takes the platform we just reviewed, ItsTrending.com, and puts a more comprehensive spin on it.
SocialMention, with its simplistic and very professional design, would seem to be the most mature of the three platforms at first glance. All jokes aside, while the other two platforms are either very straightforward (Twazzup), or comparing their data to narcotics (Addict-o-Matic), SocialMention sticks to words that have been made popular by today’s social media thought leaders. Measuring things like “sentiment,” “passion” and “reach”—then having the ability to quantify such usually subjective terms—makes SocialMention the platform that your boss would approve of you using daily.
Enough with the intros and wit; let’s figure out what’s the best platform. We’ll start with features:
Twazzup pigeonholes itself out of the gate by being Twitter-centered. But the Twitter features it does have are nothing to sneeze at. Looking for influencers? Perhaps your topic is the Gulf oil spill. Guess what? The top 10 or so people you need to talk to are right there.
What are the links leading to your keyword search? No problem, there’s a clear list. What’s the latest news on the subject? It’s right at the top of the page. Pop-up previews of links are an added bonus that will make you smile because your life just got a little bit easier.
On the other hand, I’m a bit confused with two things. The Highlighted Tweet seems to be arbitrary. Unfortunately, for those of us who are slow, clicking on the heading doesn’t give us any insight on why that tweet is so important, but I’m sure it’ll give a boost to the tweeter. If you could only figure out how to get there…
Addict-o-Matic, with its “more is more” approach, has features that continue that line of thought. Not only can you create your own page and create a shrine for your selected keywords, you can also add tons of popular (and not so popular) social sites to give you as much or as little data overload as you require.
In terms of raw features, they keep it pretty simple; either add more info or take info away. No cool previews, but you can move any content box around to position the most important info on top.
While the ability to see what’s being posted across many social sites is awesome, there seems to be one specific 500-million pound gorilla that’s been excluded from Addict-o-Matic, even though said gorilla has spent most of the year adding social widgets to over 100,000 sites. Maybe they should call ItsTrending.com and have a meeting. This is a big exclusion for me.
SocialMention gives you tons of features to play with, but unfortunately if you’re a beginner, you’ll need to see their FAQ to catch up before you get started really appreciating what they’ve done for you. Instead of choosing one social network, or even grouping the info by network, SocialMention chooses to give you a streaming timeline including content from places like Twitter, StumbleUpon and Google Blogs. They also let you know how many mentions and how many different people are mentioning you.
The most important feature, if I may be honest, is one that I call the “tattletale” feature. Clicking on the word “negative” under the sentiment area sends you to a list of the so-called “negative” posts waiting for you to jump in the conversation at any time. They’re not very specific on how they determine why it’s negative, but check them all out and be safe instead of sorry.
While I love the feature above, I am disappointed that I can’t click on the unique authors or retweets section. It would be a huge bonus to be able to see a list of those authors. As a marketer, if I had a list of who was talking about me, it would be as easy as pie to connect and grow those relationships from there. SocialMention makes you dig through their timeline for that data—good for them, bad for me. You can export the top users, but the data still required some extra effort to turn into a hit list.
Who’s More Ninja?
All that is cool, but who should you use? How should you decide? And more importantly, what are the ninja features that nobody else is thinking about to put you ahead of the curve?
Ninja Tactic: Get in with the cool kids quickly
Twazzup lets you see who is talking about your niche quickly and painlessly. If you were being ninja, you would quickly make a list of the cool kids and find a way to add value to them ASAP.
These people are not only already talking about this niche, but they are sharing the most content about it with their networks. This is how you can create something that we call an “influence circle.” If you want to get content shared faster and farther than your account can accomplish, you need to have a relationship with the people in your industry who do just that. Especially valuable for new Twitter users with fewer relationships.
Ninja Tactic: Outcast platform awareness
Addict-o-Matic lets you get all of the latest info on a subject from tons of platforms, but you can get Facebook, Twitter and YouTube info from about a million different tools. Addict-o-Matic allows you to customize an interface and keep track of a number of sites that, to be honest, nobody else is thinking about. While SocialMention blends these platforms in a live stream, Addict-o-Matic makes it very easy to see the latest buzz from sites like Truveo, Blinkx and Twingly, which aren’t being harvested daily by most marketers/content sharers.
Use this tip to stand out in the content crowd by posting the most unique and diverse content in your niche. Right now, many marketers are reposting popular content, but to build your own reputation, you need to find/create content that comes from you, or is found by you.
Ninja Tactic: Sentiment timeline
SocialMention has a feature that should make any data-driven marketer smile. They let you export the results of your search to a .csv file. Why is this important? It’s important because most companies are not properly measuring their social sentiment at all, and those that do measure are seeing snapshots over periods of a month, at most.
A serious marketer will want data to examine change over months and possibly years to evaluate where the brand has come from, and if they’re progressing towards a predetermined goal. SocialMention allows you to use their algorithms to track easy-to-understand numbers over time, and export them into your own internal system. Once you control the data, you can manipulate it in any way that you see fit to benefit your brand, giving SocialMention another notch in the “most mature platform” belt.
Good to know that people aren’t letting the tropical storm get them down…
And the Winner Is…
SocialMention, for being the closest to a complete solution of the three.
Twazzup comes in second, but only for its focus on Twitter. If they could find a way to integrate other platforms, or partner with other niche-specific platforms for a robust solution, they could vault to the top. But at this point, you need about seven different solutions to use in conjunction with Twazzup to be completely covered.
Addict-o-matic, while awesome in name, falls short in this specific horse race. Other than its fringe social network additions, there’s not much difference between Popurls.com or Alltop.com except the search bar. Just like Twazzup, you’ll need more tools to round out your kit, and Addict-o-Matic is more of a role player than a starter.
See a feature, benefit or shortcoming that I missed? Know of an upcoming improvement that will rearrange these rankings? Is there a completely different platform that should be in the race? Let me know in the box below.
Elijah R. Young is the lead strategist and owner of Social Talk Live. He's also a business strategist who helps existing and new companies promote and grow their business. Other posts by Elijah Young »