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I get asked all the time about tools and resources for monitoring social media. The paid options are getting more relevant (and more affordable) but there are still some free tools available that are worth checking out.
So if the first rule is…(say it with me) Listening, then the first group of tools should be about listening. (The first rule of fight club is..) Sorry. I digressed. You’ll find that the vast majority of tools are built around Twitter, but there are a few that listen in on Facebook too. I’m always looking for something that will allow me to monitor blogs and forums too. The best PAID solution I have found for that is lithium.com (formally ScoutLabs). Its reasonable priced if your a social media professional. I’m also using TweetReach right now, but I just started, so the jury is out. Back to the free stuff:
socialmention.com: Gives you a list with link of mentions about your brand, product, company or competitor, but gives you a measure of sentiment, strength, passion and reach and easy understanding of how each is calculated. It also has a feature similar to GoogleAlerts, SocialAlerts. Tracks most social networks.
48ers.com: Facebook listening tool makes it easier to hear what fans and nonfans alike are saying. Tracks most social networks including Facebook and blogs.
monitter.com: A great tool to compare your product or brand to a competitor. Or checkout keywords. Also love that you can see tweets within a particular area like a zip code. Great for local tracking. Tracks Twitter only.
collecta.com: Just like the name suggests, a one-stop shop for tracking brands, keywords, key people. Checks most social networks including Facebook and blogs. Handy if your trying to get a feel for the overall chatter about a particular brand, topic or person.
All these programs allow you to schedule tweets and monitor multiple accounts. The differences between them are largely personal preference and price point.
Hootsuite.com I’m slightly biased here: this is what I use. Has a freemium model as well as a “professional” model. If your just tracking one or two streams, the freemium model is probably fine. You can set up to 10 streams per tab, to monitor Twitter lists, keywords, and more. You can schedule tweets and Facebook (Profiles & Pages) and LinkedIn, FourSq, postings (and comments) all from one place. What I love about Hootesuite is that it integrates Facebook Pages and Google Analytics along with insight into followers, mentions, and clicks into the paid model. Great starter for analytics. In the paid model, there is also a way to share and give assignments to others. Great if your working as a team. Another cool feature is the ability to email a tweet to someone else. You can’t BELIEVE how handy that is! Webbased. Desktop. App (Iphone, BB, Droid). Your choice.
Co-Tweet.com: A lot of brands use CoTweet. Its a clean, simple interface. Not a lot to distract, which can refreshing. The free model offers collaboration, which Hootsuite doesn’t offer in its freemium offering. The enterprise/paid model supports Facebook, Twitter. The paid version also has analytics; though I haven’t used them personally. Here’s my beef with this product: it doesn’t make listening in very easy, which explains why some of these brands miss opportunities. It has some of the same features as Hootsuite: assignments, email a tweet, plus the ability to archive a tweet which is very handy. Webbased. App (Iphone). Your Choice.
TweetDeck: Combines monitoring with proactive scheduling for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, FourSq. Create multiple streams for tracking competitors, keywords, etc. There’s a cool feature to allow you to record YouTube vids right from the deck. I mean it does practically everything EXCEPT offer analytics, but its a sweet, slick format. Manage multiple accounts. Desktop. App (Iphone, Ipad, Droid). Your Choice.
TweetEffect: This free, no subscription tool allows you to type in a Twitter handle and see what tweets had an effect on followers, either in the plus column or the negative column. A simple tool, great for seeing cause/effect of certain Tweets.
NutShell: From the folks behind ConstantContact email. I’m using it and loving it. I tell it what to monitor and it sends it to my email box. Plus, I see who started following me and who stopped. Very handy. Its free now, let’s see how long that lasts.
Tell us about your favorite free social media monitoring tools!