Brand Monitoring is a very essential part of social media. You need to understand the impact and influence of your brand on the customers/users- and then what sentiment this influence is generating. Yes- the term to keep in mind here is- "Brand Sentiments"
- What do people say about your product/services?
- How do they feel about the new thing you have introduced?
- Is the response positive or negative?
This is what you have to monitor so that you can then give the required feed back or in some cases, get down to damage control. The responses generated on your brand name or on your keywords-and spread all over the internet- can be difficult to track. This is where Social Media monitoring tools come in. These tools are free and will give you a clear picture of audience response, so that you are up to date and don't lose any opportunity.
Here is a list to to 11 free social media monitoring tools:
1. Google Alerts:
This tool from the search giant is really helpful and easy to use. Once you sign in, you can register the keywords-brand name that you want to monitor. Google will then send you an email notification as soon as it indexes your keyword anywhere (on an article, website, blog, product review, etc). If you combine this with iGoogle , you can create an unique page that contains the latest findings for your selected keyword
So the Good Thing about this: Google Alerts provides you the access to brand and keyword/phrase mentions as they're indexed-anything new is published. The Alerts are time tested and reliable.
The Flip Side: If somebody mentions your brand name or keyword on a Note in Facebook or a Tweet, you will not know. Google Alerts does not scan Facebook or Twitter or Digg. So you are missing out on a lot of action there. Sometimes, the Alerts take nearly 24 hours to reach you. Now the time lapse is not good if your brand has been mentioned in unfavourable circumstances.
This tool is a blessing if you are having trouble monitoring the various social media platforms all at once. Tweetdeck is a tool/browser that unifies Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more. You can monitor all of them, and when your keywords are referenced (you need to store your keyword preference first), you can respond in real time. Work from anywhere, as the dashboard can be used on laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets.
The Good Thing: TweetDeck allows you to monitor multiple sites from one platform. You can send out new updates across all sites. Also immediately see the comments or feedback on your chosen keywords or even your brand name in real time. It is one of my personal favourite!
The Flip Side: TweetDeck is sort of a one man show, so, it's not for you is you work in a team. It lacks a good work flow option. Secondly, doesn't run in a web browser and needs to be installed.
This tool is often referred to as Google Alert for Twitter! Well it is actually that. You get to track Twitter conversations that mention your brand, your products, your website or blog, or your keywords. You get hourly updates. Also, even if a shortened URL is used, you will be notified if someone Tweets about you.
The Good Thing: The hourly updates by email are really helpful- you will not lose much time-customer will find your response prompt. Hence, great for online reputation management.
The Flip Side: TweetBeep is available in free and paid versions. The free version can be limiting, as it allows your Alert to be set for 10 keywords only and to receive more frequent email alerts, and for emails to including more than 50 alerts each, you need to open a paid account.
Twazzup- this cool sounding tool is another Twitter search engine. It has a good user interface and you will be furnished with any updates in real time. Sentiment, top links, and influencers are made available.
The Good Thing: It displays resulting tweets in a real-time stream, which is very good for companies. It can sort results by retweets and tweets- this is also a very useful feature.
The Flip Side: You may feel that there is too much information crammed into the display page. Also the ranking of influencers, may confuse you. The level of influence shown here does not match with Klout scores.
5. Social Mention:
Social Mention is a very powerful tool, as it monitors more than a hundred social media sites directly. Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google and the list goes on. It's very simple to use-you just have to type in your search keyword query and the chosen sphere and you will get the results mentioning you. With the results, you’ll be given with statistics of your mentions- also, you will get sentiment ratings-top keywords used for your brand- top users of your brand-reach, passion, and strength (volume/day)
The Good Thing: This is virtually the only social monitoring tool that includes a Facebook search Social Mention allows you to track and measure what people are saying about you, your brand. Also monitored is what the competitors are saying as well. Social Mention features social media alerts like Google Alerts..
The Flip Side: It does not give you real time information. So instant response cannot be conveyed.
This search tool allows you to do Real-time search for the social web. So you get to read the latest being said about your brand or keyword. What's more, it puts together the content related to your keyword, from different social platforms into a single stream.
The Good Thing: The search results are ordered according to the number of Tweets they have. So you can know what is the most talked about thing of your brand. Results can be filtered hourly. And you can trace the ones talking the most about you.
The Flip Side: Topsy shows metrics from the past 24 hours. However, the metrics -influence, velocity, momentum and peak, need to be more clearly defined. Also the duration of the metrics could have been longer.
This tool lets you search your keywords from Twitter, blogs, news, Flickr, Youtube and more. Search results are shown in individual boxes representing a social or news site. The results are put together very neatly.
The Good Thing: You can instantly create a custom page with the latest buzz on your brand. Also you may create a special box for your selected keywords. You can also add as many social sites as you want for the data.
The Flip Side: It does not include results from Facebook, Stumbleupon or Vimeo. The interface is too simple may be bland. It needs more tools to become perfect.
HowSociable measures your brand's web visibility. It is a tool for a snapshot of a brand’s visibility on several Internet social venues. It also has the ability to expand results to view sources.
The Good Thing: How 'visible' you are is answered to the fullest by HowSociable.You can also get a monthly score alert that will help you monitor your brand for over a period of time.
The Flip Side: It cannot filter results by date, and can only monitor generic visibility. You cannot add or eliminate to the search in the event of more than one result being found for a "brand".
Recently acquired by Google, the platform tracks users engagements- where they are – what they do and what are they saying. PostRank tell you all that for your brand in Real Time. It ranks the posts in your RSS feeds and assigns each post a rating. The rating is on a scale of 1 to 10. There are a number of filters you can use to view posts. The ranking system is influenced by the number of times a post has been referenced in other posts etc.
The Good Thing: The major difference that Postrank offers is its ranking algorithm. The rank system gives you a clear picture and lets you work on the keyword/post/feature of your brand that is generating the most comments/activity.
The Flip Side: The score changes with user activity and it may need to be looked upon closely to understand if these changes actually mean something or not. The rankings may vary so much sometimes that you may question the trustworthiness of the system
This is one email that will help you a lot. You can monitor everything right from your inbox. NutshellMail gathers all the notifications from your social networking sites and sends you one interactive email. By interactive email, it means you can comment, reply, update your status, etc. directly.
The Good Thing: One email connects you to all the social sites. All interaction buttons in the email update will open a new window enabling actions- whether you want to reply, retweet or post an update.
The Flip Side: The email update interface and external interaction pages are not up to the mark as compared to other tools. However, with some design and usability improvements, it can be a powerful tool.
If your brand monitoring requires a close watch on Twitter and Facebook, then Kurrently is a good tool for you. It is a real-time search engine for Facebook and Twitter.
The Good Thing: Kurrently is real time- you get to know what's happening, right there and then. Response can be fairly quick. It also allows searches from other sources.
The Flip Side: The data may be too cluttered to handle sometimes.
So, there you have it- the top 11 tools that are free! And can be used right now to help you monitor your brand. Keep in mind the term 'Brand Sentiment' and set out to capture your audiences.11 Free Tools For Brand Monitoring On Social Media!,