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5 Near Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

Posted on Dec 18th, 2009
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    When it comes to businesses leveraging the social web to communicate with customers and improve brand awareness, there’s some good news and there’s some bad news.

    The good news: 86% of professionals have adopted social media in some way, according to a recent survey by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education.

    The bad news: A whopping 84% of survey respondents who’ve adopted social media don’t measure their social media programs.

    Even worse: 40% weren’t even sure they could monitor social media ROI.

    Thankfully, there are a host of free or low cost tools available to help companies and organizations track social media success. Use one or more of these 5 social media monitoring tools to gauge how well your efforts are working.

    1. Trackur

    This social media monitoring tool from ORM expert Andy Beal tracks nearly every element of online media, from blogs, RSS feeds and Tweets, to images and video. Trackur provides the ability to not only view conversations about a brand, but also view the increasing or decreasing volume of the conversation. That way, users can be alerted to any spikes in buzz from a product launch or a negative event. Plus, Trackur offers analysis of any website mentioning a term being monitored, allowing users to distinguish how influential that site is. Monthly subscriptions to Trackur start at $18 per month.


    2. PostRank Analytics

    PostRank provides engagement scores to gauge how well pieces of content (i.e., a blog post, a news article) convinced users to take action (i.e., re-Tweet, a blog post comment, an RSS view). But beyond that, this social media monitoring tool shows the messages and comments from other sites that are contributing to the engagement score. In addition to individual pieces of content, this free service also maps out engagement activity and number of page views for entire blogs or websites per day.   PostRank also offers integration with Google Analytics.  Cost is $9 per month to track 5 sites. The image below illustrates a single post analysis with both engagement metrics and pageviews.


    3. Google Alerts

    This free tool from Google provides email updates of the latest relevant Google search results. It’s as simple as choosing a search term, determining the type of search results to be tracked (news, blogs, web, video, etc.), selecting update frequency and entering an email address. Google Alerts is one of the easiest ways to monitor brand mentions for both company and product names. Plus, the tool can be leveraged to monitor competitor mentions.

    Google Alerts

    4. Social Mention

    Similar to Google Alerts, Social Mention – a real-time search engine – aggregates search results from blogs, microblogs, videos, bookmarks and other social sites. But this free monitoring tool goes a step beyond that. Social Mention provides a social ranking score based on popularity for every search (i.e., how often the search term is mentioned, if the sentiment is positive/neutral/negative). All of this data can even be compiled into a CVS or Excel spreadsheet.

    Social Mention

    5. TechrigySM2

    SM2 is a software solution designed specifically for PR and Marketing Agencies to monitor and measure social media. The “freemium” version of this full featured social media monitoring service allows you to create up to 5 profiles and each query is limited to storing up to 1,000 search results. There are many features with setup and reports as you can see in the screen shot below. Along with standard help and FAQ resources, there’s a Ning powered Techrigy social network or Community of users that you can tap into and share information.


    Incidentally, we did an interview with Connie Bensen, Director of Social Media and Community Strategy at Alterian, the company that owns TechrigySM2 earlier this month.

    Whether you leverage one of these low cost or free tools to get started or other tools like Collective Intellect, Cymphony, Converseon, ScoutLabs or Radian6, it’s critical to track social media efforts and tie results back to the goals of your business. Because the scary truth is this: When cut-backs rear their ugly heads, the first programs to go are those that can’t illustrate measurable results and link them back to organizational goals. Don’t find yourself in that 84% of Mzinga and Babson Executive Education survey respondents who don’t measure the effect of social media.