As a small business, if you are going to engage in social media, and I hope you do, there is a difference in “doing social media” and using it as an effective tool.
If you are going to use social media as an effective tool, one of the things you will have to do is track or monitor your actions and various interactions you have had.
In the interest of authenticity, I am not doing what I am talking about. There is no excuse really; I have been too busy. All that changes.
That being said, I have been aware of some of the influence my social media actions, albeit not documenting them. Shame on me!
So, I have taken a look at different options that are availalbe for monitoring social media, particular your interaction with customers.
It’s important that before you begin your social media monitoring, you should make sure you have a strategy in place.
Enterprise Social Media Monitoring
Enterprise social media monitoring is simply paying for a platform, or in most cases, a centrailzed dashboard which tracks your different social media channels. This is very convenient.
Most large social media marketing firms as well as large corporations who have internal social media marketing staff members take advantage of this option. It makes sense too. It is easy to train new staff members and everything is at your fingertips.
Of course, they have to pay to use these products.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud ran by Salesforce.com, formerly Radian6, this is a comprehensive, robust environment to monitior everything social media also filled with tons of resources for your social media strategies. There is no evidence of what the prices are as you will need to contact them about the package you are interested in using.
Lithium was formerly Scout Labs. Again, it is a robust solution without a published price.
Sprout Social is another one of these Enterprise Social Media Monitoring soutions. Sprout, however, has all of their prices published on their website in a packages format. Sprout Social offers a free trial, and their prices are very affordable for most small businesses. They are definitely worth taking a look.
Another product similar to Sprout Social is Raven Social Media Monitoring tools.
Free social media monitoring tools
There is a plethora of free tools available to help you monitor your social media presence. That being said, I haven’t seen one that has a comprehensive, robust environment as the ones we mentioned above in the article.
It’s important to note that many of these tools are separate, not tied to one location such as a dashboard.
Dashboards and other options
- Cyfe — free and premium options
- Hootsuite — Seesmic is now part of Hootsuite
- Tweet Deck — more for monitoring and engaging, no real analytics
- Netvibes — free option for individuals, upgrade for certain features
- RSS Feeds combined with searches from Google, yahoo and Bing — Feedly is replacing Google Reader which is being phased out.
- Open Source dashboard
- Search Engines: Social Mention, IceRocket, Addictomatic, Twazzup
- Google Documents
As always, if you need help with your social media, contact me!
Social Media Examiner