12 Social Media Monitoring Tools Reviewed

Jul 31 2010 by Jason Schubring | 73 Comments

12 Social Media Monitoring Tools Reviewed

After several months of researching, testing, and using various tools for social media monitoring and response, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my findings. It was fun to dive into these tools, but I hope the information in this article will save you time and help you quickly find the tool that’s right for your needs.

Why Bother Monitoring Social Media?

Even if you or your clients have "decided" not to actively participate in social media, it’s really not a choice. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does social media. Either you can fill the vacuum with your perspective, or your customers and competitors will fill it for you. The choice is clear.

Monitoring helps with branding and marketing and can help identify quality control or customer care problems that may have gone unnoticed.

Monitoring is only one piece of the puzzle, however. It’s important to find out who is saying what, and where the conversation is happening so you can respond appropriately.

Terminology

There are few terms you’ll need to be familiar with before we talk about the tools, so let’s take a moment to cover them before we jump into the details.

Influence

If you find there are customers who have a strong opinion of your brand, it’s important to understand the influence of those customers.

  • How many followers do they have?
  • Do they get retweets?
  • How many external links point to their blog?
  • How many comments do their blog posts attract?

Several of the free tools listed below include this measurement to assist in your monitoring and response efforts. All of the paid options include it.

Sentiment

Are the comments positive or negative? Most current tools attempt to assign sentiment to a post automatically. While this is helpful for brands with tons of mentions, it’s only about 70% accurate in most cases[1], so manual verification and spot-checking is encouraged across the board before making any decisions based on influence data.

Volume

This is simply the amount of "buzz" that exists. Many monitoring tools give the ability to chart volume for specific keywords over time. This gives you a great way to measure the impact of your marketing efforts and social media campaigns, especially when combined with sentiment. A lot can be learned about your brand and your customers by investigating spikes in social media volumes.

Workflow

Workflow is the process of assigning, tracking and responding to social media, typically in a team environment. An effective workflow can prevent double responses and missed opportunities.

Now that we have an understanding of the purpose and the terminology surrounding social media monitoring, let’s take a look at some tools that can help you monitor your presence.

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts

An oldie but a goodie! Google Alerts allows you to set up keyword searches for the name of your company or competitors, for example, and receive updates in your email inbox or through an RSS feed.

When combined with iGoogle, you can create a pretty nice consolidated page that contains the latest findings for your selected keywords. When it comes to monitoring social media, this is the least you should be doing; it’s free and an absolute snap to set up.

2. Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter Advanced Search

By using the advanced features in Twitter’s search tool, you can use simple Boolean logic (true or false conditions) to perform some pretty powerful searches.

Once you set up your search, you can save the query as an RSS feed so you can keep up to date on the latest news.

3. Icerocket

Icerocket

Used by many, Icerocket helps you keep watch over Twitter, blogs, web, news, images and more. Features include a topic cloud and basic listing of mentions. This social media monitoring tool also offers the ability to bookmark your search results for later reference.

Although helpful, some users might find the interface and the style of the search results pages a little archaic compared to the other options.

4. Addict-o-matic

Addict-o-matic

This tool is a consolidated page with search matches across blogs, Twitter, Digg, Flickr and more. Featuring an appealing interface and one-page dashboard, Addict-o-matic is one of the best free tools available for summarizing all your "buzz" in one place.

5. Boardtracker

Boardtracker

Boardtracker focuses on grabbing "buzz" from message boards and forums. Features include a topic cloud and influencer list. There are ads mixed in with your search results which may turn off some users. A premium version is offered. If your target customers are more active on message boards than other channels, this could be the right tool for you.

6. Twazzup

Twazzup

Of the Twitter-focused monitoring tools I’ve come across, Twazzup does a great job of getting everything on one page. Sentiment, top links, and influencers are available.

The ranking of influencers, however, seems a little mysterious. A quick check of Klout scores on profiles for a few key topics didn’t reflect a high level of influence, so Twazzup must be using a different calculation.

7. Social Mention

Social Mention

This social media monitoring tool features an interesting combination of easy-to-read metrics including reach, sentiment, passion, and strength (volume/day). Social Mention tracks blogs, blog comments, Twitter, mainstream news, images, video, and audio. Searches can be saved as an RSS feed so you can easily stay up-to-date.

8. HootSuite

HootSuite

HootSuite is a popular tool that can be used to manage multiple accounts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, Foursquare and LinkedIn. Although HootSuite could be categorized as an account management tool rather than a monitoring tool, I believe it deserves mention here because of its large user base and powerful functionality.

You can push updates to one or more profiles, track click-through, deploy timed updates, monitor your social media buzz across multiple web services, and assign tasks among team members based on roles. If you use HootSuite, you’ll want to use an additional tool to supplement monitoring of forums and blogs. HootSuite apps for both iPhone and Android are available.

9. Seesmic

Seesmic

If you try HootSuite, you’ll find the interface of Seesmic fairly familiar. The similarity doesn’t end there. They also share the capability to manage multiple accounts across all the popular social media outlets. Seesmic gives up some ground to HootSuite, however, on the team collaboration and workflow front.

10. TweetDeck

TweetDeck

Another account management tool, TweetDeck is available as an application for Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone and iPad. You can use TweetDeck to manage profiles across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare and Google Buzz. If you’ve used the other tools on this list, the multi-column format will feel familiar.

TweetDeck is lacking a good workflow, so it is not for those who will be collaborating with a team. In addition, because it needs to be installed on your system instead of being able to run in a Web browser, many people won’t be able to use it in a secure corporate environment.

11. Scoutlabs ($249/mo)

Scoutlabs

Scoutlabs has a great clean interface and overall excellent features for volume trending, sentiment-tracking, learning about key quotes (based on sentiment), and managing workflow for response management. Unlimited results helps protect you from increased monthly cost due to unexpected spikes in volume.

It’s a great option for agencies and freelancers because you can give clients access to a dashboard with your logo on it, branding the service as your own. Note that it can be a challenge to output some graphs and reports which may be an issue if you want to produce reports for your clients.

12. Radian6 ($500/mo)

Radian6

Radian6 is a powerhouse that gives you the ability to slice-and-dice your data until your head spins. Integrated workflow, alerts, sentiment, monitoring across blogs, forums, news, Twitter, and more is what this social media monitoring tool has to offer.

The amount of monthly volume can influence pricing which is a little scary for companies that may experience wild swings in monthly volume. This is not the type of solution you should set up and hand over to your clients; it provides you with a wealth of information so you can become the go-to expert for them. If you invest the time to learn this tool, you can discover insights that will make you a hero to your clients.

References

  1. Is Automated Sentiment Analysis Reliable?

Related Content

About the Author

Jason Schubring has built more than 100 Websites and delivered e-mail campaigns for companies of all sizes. His strategic, design, and Web development background creates a unique perspective on effectively combining digital and traditional marketing. To connect with him, follow him on Twitter @jasonschubring or find him on LinkedIn.

73 Comments

Mark Evans

July 31st, 2010

Jason,

Have you taken a look at Sysomos, which offers two social media monitoring services: Heartbeat (monitoring and measurement) and MAP (analytics and in-depth reporting)? If you’d like a demo, let me know.

Mark
Director of Communications
Sysomos Inc.

SHRINK

July 31st, 2010

Thanks for the great post… so many useful options. Have you tried SocialOomph or CoTweet? We currently use those, but are in the market for others.

Kaushik

July 31st, 2010

I would like to add Topsy http://topsy.com/ and Ubervu http://www.ubervu.com/ for Twitter monitoring.

With Topsy you can use search operator “site:domain-name” to search within a domain, exactly the same way we do on Google. Results can be sorted by tweets and within time frames.

Ubervu is an Analytic tool which is useful for further analysis.

Sachin

July 31st, 2010

thanks for this useful post…i have used few of these but many are new…thanks a lot

Jeff Schoolcraft

July 31st, 2010

One of the things we focused on when we built BrandPulse (http://getbrandpulse.com) was workflow. We saw social media monitoring as a two step process: 1. triage, 2. treatment. It works well on your own or if you have a staff to support you.

In the triage phase you quickly run through your search results ticking off the ones you need to deal with, good or bad or otherwise.

In the treatment phase, maybe when you have a bit more time or perspective, you hit the dashboard and start processing results.

Murlu

July 31st, 2010

Excellent collection of tools.

Don’t forget to not only keep track of the positive talk but also negative for if or when you need to do damage control hehe

leaflette

July 31st, 2010

Jason Schubring you have compiled a very nice list of tools. and saving my time for these kind of trend nowadays.
Thanks, and yes, you can use Twitterfeed.com as well, colaborate with your feedburner account. :)

Kristof

July 31st, 2010

Hi Jason – Thanks for the post. I like to reco taking a look at TweetReports. A free Twitter search (with extensive results) with advanced analytics and reporting for paid accounts. Has a free trial and even free accounts have cool features.

Sam

July 31st, 2010

You should check out http://www.actionly.com, it’s a great Social Media dashboard that tracks Google Buzz, Twitter, Facebook, News, Blogs, Flickr and Youtube. Plans start at only $125/mo and you can export all the data in excel. Very easy to navigate dashboard.

Connie Bensen

August 1st, 2010

Hi Jason,
We have the Alterian SM2 which aggregates all the sources (Twitter, Facebook, blogs & even LinkedIn). Then you can see the influence, sentiment, volume and workflow for all of the conversations across all the channels.

There is a Freemium version to try at http://alteriansm2.com and also a professional version. I have also written 6 white papers on the ROI of monitoring social media. They can be found there also.

Thanks for helping inform people that listening is a ‘must’.
Connie Bensen
Director of Community Strategy, Alterian
@cbensen

katchja

August 1st, 2010

This is a really good selection actually, there are plenty of other apps and tools that may help and that one may use to additionally to the 12 ones presented here. I would be really curious to meet more people who do use Radian (which is a bit overpriced – I guess).

Gilbert L

August 1st, 2010

Another nifty socil media tool is Kurrently (http://www.kurrently.com), a real-time search engine for Facebook and Twitter.

Jay Philips

August 1st, 2010

Great list of tools. I’m a huge fan of Tweetdeck.

Wp

August 1st, 2010

Thanks, you introduced me to quite a few new monitoring sites.

I always use tweetdeck for FB and twitter, but might try out twazzup now.

Michelle

August 2nd, 2010

I’m also a big fan of NetVibes. I have 3 different dashboards now, one for each mood I could be in lol
Check out Ben Burbary’s wiki, too (http://wiki.kenburbary.com/social-meda-monitoring-wiki) and Nathan Gilliatt for any in-depth web monitoring

Michelle @Synthesio

Steve Cranston

August 2nd, 2010

Thanks for the reviews, although I notice none of the tools you mention appeared to produce ROI measurements. Is this not the Holly Grail of SMI data and what will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff?

Any good advice on who is providing best of bread ROI measurement tools in Social Media tracking?

Thanks,
Steve
@Media_ROI

Lauren Vargas

August 2nd, 2010

Thank you for rounding out this list of tools with a review of our tool. We appreciate the shout out! It is important to note that there is no single one magic tool. The tool or combination of tools (more likely) a company will choose should mesh with business culture and align with measurable business objectives.

Lauren Vargas
Sr. Community Manager at Radian6
@VargasL

Jakub Drahokoupil

August 2nd, 2010

@Steve Crantson: Have a look at upcoming Sysomos Audience. It seems like it would be an interesting tool.
As far as ROI goes, I am currently testing http://www.postrank.com which also provides (or tries to provide) ROI based on engagement. However the problem I see with ROI is that it is something that each organization bases on different metrics. I am preparing an article about it. There are currently no standards as how to calculate ROI in social media (Connie Bensen’s whitepapers are must read stuff though :-). In web analytics, it is simple, the ROI is basically revenue and campaign costs, in social media it varies in my opinion depending on objectives of specific social media strategy. So in the end, one will have to calculate ROI manually using the data provided by monitoring tools.

Paul

August 2nd, 2010

Great list. I’d like to add http://www.tweetmypitch.com it isn’t monitoring but is a useful Twitter app.

Thanks,

Paul

garyasanchez

August 2nd, 2010

I’d love to see examples of how people are creating and using reports from these services.

Jason Schubring

August 2nd, 2010

Thanks all for the comments. One of the biggest challenges with calculating ROI is that those who are running the campaigns don’t present a measurable *call to action*.

Too many companies (and agencies) launch campaigns that create buzz and “warm fuzzies” about the brand… but it’s hard to measure those.

Just like any other medium, it’s important to track the setup cost, ongoing management cost, etc. and then compare against the direct sales/sign-ups/etc. the campaign generates.

It’s amazing how many people fail to setup a specific, measurable call-to-action and then complain that they can’t measure social media campaign ROI. It’s not the medium that’s at fault if that’s the case… it’s the strategy.

Pascal

August 2nd, 2010

You can also check out InfoGlutton. Our social media monitoring platform is currently in Beta. It provides sentiment analysis, analytics, volume trends and we keep all mentions in a database for chronological analysis, export, etc. If anybody would like to give it a try and provide us with feedback, feel free to contact us: http://www.infoglutton.com/contact.html

Pascal Soucy
co-founder, InfoGlutton

Sam

August 2nd, 2010

You can check out our site – Actionly is a Social Media Monitoring dashboard and listening platform. On Actionly you can monitor what people are saying about your brand, products or industry terms on various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Flickr, Youtube, News and Google Buzz. We help you make sense of all the chatter by showing key messages, sentiments, top influencers so you can engage and grow your brand on Social Media.

Pippa

August 2nd, 2010

I’ve tried tweetdeck but as my computer has just been reinstalled, I was thinking about a change, thanks for the timely post, I might just try out some of the others this time round. Thanks

Mohamed Abdallaoui

August 3rd, 2010

Nice article. I would like to present http://www.TraceBuzz.nl.

Jason Keller

August 3rd, 2010

Thanks Jason for the list of social media monitoring tools! I tried a few of the free tools out there (including the ones you’ve mentioned in the article), but was left wanting more. Tried out Brand Monitor: http://brandmonitor.position2.com/ (paid) and have been using this tool for a while. I’m quite pleasantly surprised with their sentiment analysis capability (80%+) and data coverage. The amount of data they index and analyze per minute is huge and includes a wide range of sites, blogs and twitter. You might want to check it out – perhaps tell us how it fares vs the rest?

Babar Bhatti

August 3rd, 2010

There is considerable difference between professional monitoring and other, mostly free tools. Enterprise grade products allow teams to work together, provide better data and advanced capabilities. MutualMind, for instance, comes at a flat price (no surprises) and offers monitoring, engagement and an integrated analytics dashboard.

Zak

August 4th, 2010

Hi Jason, great write-up of some of the players out there.. social media monitoring has really exploded in the past couple of years and rightly so!

Moreover Technologies (http://w.moreover.com/) are also worth considering in this space, as we’ve been there since the start monitoring news, and now offering a complete news and social solution.

Great post and thanks for highlighting the need for a comprehensive monitoring tool.

Zak
@moreovertech

Luke

August 4th, 2010

I knew Hootsuite would be on this, I tried to go from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite but it just didn’t happen, I dislike Hootsuit allot but I suppose that is down to my personal preference :-)

Giles (Webconomist)

August 5th, 2010

A great list here. The challenge we see from our clients is understanding “what to do with it all” when they monitor. We have our own tool going into beta this fall to join the crowd of over 40 monitoring solutions. But I think the challenge will remain for clients with what to do with it, how to make sense of it and understanding what really matters with what you uncover.

Sarah Wallace

August 8th, 2010

Jason, thanks for this post.

I am surprised you didn’t mention the most robust Radian6 or ViralHeat or ScoutLabs… There’s also a vendor in NH called JitterJam.

luke

August 15th, 2010

I knew Hootsuite would be on this, I tried to go from Tweetdeck to Hootsuite but it just didn’t happen, I dislike Hootsuit allot but I suppose that is down to my personal preference :-)~~~~~

MeiMei Fox

August 17th, 2010

Super helpful article. I’m trying out Radian6 now, and concur with your point that if you got up to speed with how to use it, that would be a very valuable skill to your consulting clients.

I didn’t know about a few of the other tools. Really outstanding post!

-MeiMei

Lanette

September 6th, 2010

Love the post. I can’t believe all the great tools we have at our fingertips. It sure makes our jobs easier. I have to agree Radian6 should be included in the list.
Thanks for the great read,
Lanette

Vitaly

September 12th, 2010

Here is another tool that I think should make this list: Social Report (http://www.socialreport.com) Very similar to google website analytics except that it works on social network accounts.

Rejani

October 5th, 2010

I need a tool to search and monitor results on facebook.. Any suggestions????

juliana crispo

October 21st, 2010

You forgot Meltwater Buzz. Tracks anything and everything user generated globally-

Bill HOLLAND

October 26th, 2010

Jason:

Terrific introduction. Please resist the call by others to include more tools unless you drop a corresponding number. For beginners, the need is for a managable amount of data–not a complete inventory.

Thanks.

Bill Holland

Sara

October 27th, 2010

Thanks for the post and all the comments, really useful! Greetings from Spain ;-)

Pradeep

November 8th, 2010

This wiki link is quite authoritative in covering the market.
http://wiki.kenburbary.com/social-meda-monitoring-wiki

Sweta

November 30th, 2010

Having worked on Twitter management tool, Buzzom.com for two years, we have recently launched Simplify360 http://simplify360.com which offer Social listening, sentiment analysis and engagement, Social Media Campaigns, Team collaboration and much more.

Nate

December 1st, 2010

Web Liquid (www.webliquidgroup.com) just published a comparison of Google Alerts to Brandwatch (our preferred brand monitoring tool) including a coverage, speed and mention quality comparison: http://bit.ly/eRRmju

Thought you might find it interesting!

Stella Lewis

December 7th, 2010

Hi,
I love this article. I found very valuable information in it.
It is very useful.
Thanks

Sam Lawrence

December 8th, 2010

There are hundreds of posts on this exact topic or very similar ones. Maybe it’s time we build a database that lists all the tools available to SM Marketers and keep it regularly maintained. Even a Wiki would work, although you’d have competitive issues. It would probably have to be maintained by an independent group of Marketing Professionals, all of whom had priority access by the companies to maintain testing. It would be a big project, but I guarantee, you could charge Agencies a subscription fee to have access to the database when they’re shopping for solutions. It would be like Consumer Reports, but just for this industry.

Jay Hammans

December 8th, 2010

This is a great article; glad I found it and thanks for the research start!

Kalvin

December 28th, 2010

Very useful. Great article.

Lisa

January 13th, 2011

Great article. Very informative and helpful. But I’d like to add http://www.twilert.com as a very useful and reliable twitter monitoring tool. sends you emails with tweets about your keywords every day (or as often as you want). give it a try!

Khyne

January 14th, 2011

Great list of tools. Socila media is fast becoming more and more important and the cosil media consultant will become more and more common place.

Angela Jeffrey

January 20th, 2011

Really helpful article, thanks!

Tyler

January 25th, 2011

Great article – thanks! You should also check out our solution at http://www.visibletechnologies.com.

Scott

January 28th, 2011

Thanks for the great list.

You should review Artesian Solutions.

http://www.artesiansolutions.com

A Powerhouse using Symantic surveillance easily as good as Radian6, but integrated with IBM Cognos 10 analytics and salesforce.com means you get monitoring across all online content, plus all the benefits Cognos 10 collaboration blogs, wikis, profiles, actions, not to mention industry leading dashboards and analytics.

You couldn’t wish for more.

Gauri Narayan

February 3rd, 2011

on the other end of the spectrum is http://www.trackthisnow.com which allows for a $5 per month rudimentary media monitoring across 20 different sources. there is also http://www.glerts.com/beta which adds analytics to your google alerts for free

Matt

February 19th, 2011

Thanks for your post about these social media monitoring tools. I’d come across most of them before, but have also found netvibes.com useful – and a recently released tool, PR Filter (http://prfilter.com/) is good too.

Z Jacobs

February 20th, 2011

Ive switched recently to using hootsuite from tweeteck. Id like to actually find a tool as good as radian 6 but more cost efficient as this is a top priced tool, anyone any ideas?

Rich DeFabritus

February 28th, 2011

I use Radian6, Hootsuite, and Involver’s monitoring app. I would have to say of the free tools, SocialMention seems to pull the most (relevant) content. I also like the stats it provides.

Radian6 is fancy looking, a little more challenging for the newbie though, which many smaller businesses will be – and less likely to have dedicated resources. Remember guys, you have to keep it simple – SMBs know their business, not social media or marketing.

Have to wonder what the future of paid monitoring and analytics holds…

Richard

March 3rd, 2011

Check out tweet-monitor.com

Yankee Jim

March 23rd, 2011

what would be best option if just monitoring LinkedIn discussions?

MO International

March 23rd, 2011

Great article-Thanks for sharing

Anshul Jain

March 23rd, 2011

Nice article. There are some other paid tools out there as well. ThoughtBuzz is one based out of Asia. It would be great if you could do a comparison between 4-5 paid tools.

nicholas

April 22nd, 2011

Which social media monitoring tool are able to monitor positive and negative feedbacks on a multilingual basis? Can anyone please suggest? It appears the tools above are mostly on subscription basis, are there any that I could download and run it off my own server with analytics and report?

Paul Tobey

June 8th, 2011

Sysomos is a great option, but too pricey for our specific client base. I’m looking for a solution that is comparable to Sysomos that small business and medium sized business can afford. Please contact me via linkedin if you a solution I can promote. http://ca.linkedin.com/in/paultobey10

Subhendu Sen

June 10th, 2011

TweetDeck looks awesome. I’m going to use it. Thanks for your info.

Cimeon-

June 21st, 2011

I just want to add http://truthfeed.com
An interesting and unique approach to monitoring Twitter and Facebook.

Pascal

July 22nd, 2011

Hi Jason,

You also have missed our 2.0 Web Observer from Cogia, http://www.cogia.de. We are one of the first monitoring solutions providers in Europe/Germany with a semantic search technology history since 2000 as leading local semantic search engine developer and vendor. We have been providing Web Monitoring since 2003 and Social Media Monitoring due to a project for BMW already since 2007 at that time we called it digital conversations as social media monitoring wasn’t established yet.

Stefan

August 17th, 2011

Our tool Informant (http://informant.se/) can monitor Facebook, Twitter, Google Blogs and Google Indexing.

chatmeter

August 24th, 2011

This is another great Free tool for Social Media Monitoring

Aditi

August 29th, 2011

Hi Jason,
Have you tried this product called Webfluenz Monitor?(http://webfluenz.com) It comes with impressive sentiment, influencer and geographic analytics presented on a clean easily comprehensible dashboard.

Viet Hoang

October 16th, 2011

Hi Jason!
Thanks a lot for sharing this! Personally I’m using Tweetdeck and I think it’s good enough for small organizations with limited activity? For bigger companies, there are more sophisticated tools such as the D9 from Digimind Inc (http://www.Digimind.com). All major networks are supported and it helps you to monitor the entire social media environment with just one click.

Monty

October 23rd, 2011

Please do an update on this article. This is great information. However, reading through the comments I realize that there are other social media monitoring tools out there, hence my request for an update.

designersiva

October 31st, 2011

nice but no one can give complete solutions

wanna.to

November 25th, 2011

Thanks for sharing.
http://www.wanna.to is kind of twitter trend discovery system – you can take a look what twitter users wanna to do. There are statistics for user ‘wannas’ by wanna/action – for day, month and hour. More statistics will be added soon. It is not only for Twitter users, anyone could say what he wants directly on the site.

Karen Beau

June 13th, 2012

I’m a fan of Hootsuite for pushing out content and managing engagement. Their design is also pretty great -so many other tools are just plain annoying to look at. We also use bringshare.com (website above) to measure all of our internet marketing. Hootsuite allows us to implement our social media marketing, while bringshare.com allows us to measure it -putting our paid search, seo, email marketing and social media analytics into pretty, side-by-side dashboards. It’s definitely the next tool to review!

Martin Kang

October 9th, 2012

Please also consider including SocialMotus. We’re a new, free social management tool platform for businesses and individuals. We’re building some innovative and powerful conversion tracking and social management features including priority messages inbox, targeted Twitter followers discovery, sales conversions by posts and much more.

You can review it by signing up for free here http://www.socialmotus.com or emailing me for more information.

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