January 12, 2011

Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business


A screen grab from Sysomos.

A comparison of the major monitoring & engagement services: Radian6, Lithium, Attensity360 & 17 more

Target audience: Brands, corporations, mid-size to large businesses. See Socialbrite’s series on social media monitoring:
Guide to monitoring social media conversations
20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools
10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits

By J.D. Lasica and Kim Bale
Socialmedia.biz

The online landscape is saturated with more than 200 tools and platforms claiming to be able to help you track and assess mentions of your business or brand in social media channels. While there remains a lot of churn in the field, a number of listening platforms have evolved to help you go beyond basic monitoring into an integrated approach that helps inform multiple parts of your business: product development, customer support, public outreach, lead generation, market research and campaign measurement.

Born as a way to respond to crises and manage brand reputation, social media monitoring, or brand monitoring — which ties into social media measurement and analysis — is finally maturing into a business process that helps the bottom line.

A comparison of pricing, features & clients you rarely see on the open Web.Today we’ll turn the tables on these companies and offer some business intelligence that you rarely see available on the open Web: a comparison of social media monitoring vendors, with descriptions of their strengths, clients and pricing. Many offer end-to-end solutions, providing not just tracking capabilities but a rich set of analytics and response tools to help you grow your business and engage with individuals who influence broad swaths of the market.

Social media monitoring vendors come in all shapes and flavors. Some cater to small business with modest budgets that want to handle monitoring analysis internally. Others service global corporations that want access to expert analysts as well as a robust suite of social tools that plug into business processes. So this roundup is admittedly mixing apples and oranges. (See our discussion of social CRM below.)

To draw some distinctions, we’ve broken this package into two groupings:

• 20+ social media monitoring & engagement vendors for business (below)
10 lower-priced monitoring services for nonprofits & organizations (on our sister site, Sociabrite.org)

Monitoring should plug into your business processes

Companies that will succeed in the 21st century will be social businesses, committed to forging deep and meaningful relationships with their customers. So use the new year as a fresh impetus to create a Social Media Plan (Socialmedia.biz can help with that), begin monitoring and consider evaluating an outside vendor by signing up for a free trial.

Keep in mind: Listening to conversations and gathering data is only one phase of a multi-step process that also involves engagement, metrics and acting on what you learn. As Jeff Nolan writes, “In its most pure form, social media monitoring is both listening and responding to social channels.”

Here is our guide to the Top 20 Social Media Monitoring Vendors for Business. Have your own favorites? Please add them in the comments below! And if you have any corrections or updates to the information here, please share that as well.

 

Radian6/Salesforce Cloud: A proven solution for big brands

1Radian 6, purchased by Salesforce in 2011, works with brands to help them listen more intelligently to your consumers, competitors and influencers with the goal of growing your business via detailed, real-time insights. Beyond their monitoring dashboard, which tracks mentions on more than 100 million social media sites, they offer an engagement console that allows you to coordinate your internal responses to external activity by immediately updating your blog and Twitter and Facebook accounts all in one spot. Fully automated. Cost: The dashboard starts at $600/month, though registered nonprofits can apply for two free uses per year under the company’s Giving Back program. They also offer free trials to students and educators for research and project purposes. Radian6 uses a monthly subscription based pricing model, with the monthly fee varying depending on the number of topics monitored each month. Clients: Red Cross, Adobe, AAA, Cirque du Soleil, H&R Block, March of Dimes, Microsoft, Pepsi, Southwest Airlines — a wide range of clients. Owner: Independent. Also: See our interview with the CEO of Radian6.

collective-intellect

Collective Intellect: Social media intelligence gathering

2Boulder, Colo.-based Collective Intellect, which started out by providing monitoring to financial firms, has evolved into a top-tier player in the marketplace of social media intelligence gathering. Using a combination of self-serve client dashboards and human analysis, Collective Intellect offers a robust monitoring and measurement tool suited to mid-size to large companies with its Social CRM Insights platform. It applies spam management techniques and text analysis to clean data sets, delivering customers rich intelligence.Cost: Pricing starts at $300/month and scales based on specific client needs, according to published reports. Clients: General Mills, NBC Universal, Pepsi, Walmart, Unilever, Advertising Age, CBS, Dole, MTV Networks, MillerCoors, Paramount, Verizon Wireless, Viacom, Hasbro, Siemens. Owner: Independent.

lithium

Lithium: Adjust your campaign on the fly

3Lithium monitors your search-specific mentions and sentiment in social media outlets and outputs them into easy-to-read graphs and numbers resembling the stock market. Lithium will aggregate information from a variety of platforms including blog posts and comments, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and many others, and it’ll assess emotions surrounding your brand pre-, mid- and post campaign so you can adjust your strategies accordingly. We miss ScoutLabs, which is now part of Lithium. Cost: Base plan of $249/month for five users and five searches. Free 14-day trial. Clients: Best Buy, BT, Barnes & Noble, FICO, Disney Online, Stubhub, Motorola, Coca Cola, Focus Features, Netflix. Owner: Independent. Lithium bought ScoutLabs in May 2010.

Sysomos: Manage conversations in real time

4Sysomos’s Heartbeat is a real-time monitoring and measurement tool that provides constantly updated snapshots of social media conversations delivered using a variety of user-friendly graphics. Heartbeat organizes conversations, manages workflow, facilitates collaboration and provides ways to engage with key influencers. For more, see ReadWrite review. Sysomos also offers a Media Analysis Platform. Cost: Entry-level price of $500/month. Clients: IBM, HSBC, Roche, Ketchum, Sony Ericsson, Philips, ConAgra, Edelman, Shell Oil, Nokia, Sapient, Citi, Interbrand. Owner: Marketwire. Continue reading

November 9, 2010

10 ways to create a social media dashboard

HootSuite
Hootsuite: Among the best of breed.

How to manage the multiple online conversations for your business

By Kim Bale and J.D. Lasica

With the torrent of social media conversations coming at us today, how do you manage the flow?

The answer used to be: Painstakingly and one conversation at a time. But a new crop of social media tools aims to tamp down the social media gusher by letting you update, manage and maintain several communication outlets at once. (While it’s sometimes hard to know what counts as a social media dashboard, we’re not including a wide range of customer relationship management (CRM) or social media monitoring tools here.)

When selecting a dashboard for personal or professional use, you should consider such items as cost, analytics and which social networks they support, among other things. Our list is meant to feature some of the breakout social media dashboards in the space and highlight their distinguishing features to make the selection process a bit easier.

 

Threadsy

Threadsy: Unify your email, social networks

1Threadsy is an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard that allows organizations to connect through multiple email accounts as well as Facebook and Twitter. Free to use, Threadsy is great for managing your brand from one clean dashboard across the big names in social media platforms. With no fees and no downloads, this service should make a splash in the space for both personal use and use by your business or organization.

myweboo

Myweboo: Organize your information streams

2Haven’t heard of Myweboo? That’s OK. This upstart startup invites users to discover, browse and read popular streams and share them with friends and followers. You or your organization can choose from a wide variety of “applications” to connect to and stream to a dashboard from categories like news, social, fashion, photo and video. These streams can be viewed together of filtered from “My Dashboard” and then easily shared via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Delicious and other networks. You’re in complete control of which sites will make up your dashboard. Free to use, Myweboo is run by an appealing brother-and-sister pair of young tech stars.

hootsuite

Hootsuite: Integrate all your platforms

3Our personal favorite is Hootsuite because of the depth of its products and services. You can update multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and more) from a computer or iPhone, Android or Blackberry. A team of users can track results of their interactions and create a dashboard that will work efficiently with their preferred social streams. Hootsuite offers two versions. One is free and aggregates up to five social network and two RSS feeds; it stores stat history for 30 days and is ad supported. For $5.99 a month, your organization can enjoy unlimited capabilities for a single user, with each additional user costing $10 per month. Continue reading

November 4, 2010

Spredfast: A tool to organize your conversations

spredfast

 

This is part of our ongoing series on social media tools for businesses.

Guest post by James Young
VP of Products, Spredfast

Doing social media right takes time. My colleagues and I engage in multiple social networks, some that you probably also use: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, a blog and a few other networks.

Conversing with people in all of these places, and creating interesting, value-added content for each is a time-consuming business. It gets worse when you consider that you have to duplicate efforts across different social networks.

With Spredfast, I can do two things that make this so much more efficient. First, I can pull in all of the conversation taking place across all of the networks into one place, read through it and participate where I want to. Each and every day, I look for all of the people who have mentioned us or retweeted our tweets, and I thank them. I can do it easily right from my listening dashboard.

social inbox

Planning content on weekly basis

Next, I can plan out the content I want to publish, schedule it out for the next few weeks, create the content (or, one day when we grow, assign it to someone to create), choose the social network or networks I want each piece to go to and save it. Spredfast will publish it on the schedule I’ve set. Typically, I will get a week’s worth of content ready to go ahead of time, and then spend the majority of my remaining time just engaging with individuals. Continue reading