More than ever businesses and brands need to monitor themselves on social media. Even if you aren’t active on a certain network, your customers are and you need to know what they are saying about you. Most businesses feel they should be on social media, but don’t have the time or the staff to put the effort in to multiple platforms.
If you have tried to post to Twitter, Facebook, and your blog, while trying to answers your customers’ questions and comments online AND at the same time you have this small task of running your business, you know what a nightmare it can be.
This post is here to help!
I am going to assume you have determined you know the networks your customers on which your customers are most active. I am also going to assume you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a platform. All the platforms and websites listed below offer their services for FREE! I will also let you know the services I use and why.
Let’s start with the more common platforms.
Buffer is a great tool that will help you in two main ways. First, you can write a bunch of posts at one time, and choose which social profiles to send them to, and then Buffer will spread them out throughout the day or week so that you don’t have to be at a computer all the time in order to have a social media presence. Second, since we shorten your links for you, we are able to provide more analytics than if you just were to post to Twitter or Facebook directly. For example, we can tell you exactly how many folks clicked on each of your links.
Aaron Approved! I really haven’t used Buffer for very long, but I absolutely love it. I have small windows of time throughout the day where I can jump on social media. So instead of rapid firing off 10 tweets in a row, I can simply add the post to my Buffer and it will schedule the posts for me. The links analytics is a plus, and I love the ability to publish immediately or jump a post to the top of the queue. The Buffer browser extension is an absolute must to share with a click.
Facebook Insights provide measurements on your page’s performance and are available after at least 30 people like your page. Find anonymized demographic data about your audience, and see how people are discovering and responding to your posts.
Aaron Approved! This really goes without saying. If you have a Facebook brand page, you MUST use Facebook Insights. Analyze everything about your page and you also have to ability to export the data so you can analyze it even further. Data nerd alert!
Hootsuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard.
Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard. Streamline team workflow with scheduling and assignment tools and reach audiences with geo-targeting functionality. Invite multiple collaborators to manage social profiles securely, plus provide custom reports using the comprehensive social analytics tools for measurement.
Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and more.
Aaron Approved! I use Hootsuite when I am in front of a computer. I solely use it to consume content, but you can share and schedule posts easily from the dashboard. Hootsuite is super easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. Tip: I create lists on Twitter and put every account I follow into a corresponding list (News, Marketing, Friends, etc). The I setup my Hootsuite streams to pull in specific lists. This way I can easily identify different types of content and organize my streams.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive.
Aaron Approved! I really don’t use Google Alerts to its full capabilities, but it is a very useful tool. I use it to notify me if someone posts about me or my family. I get an automatic update every time someone posts about me and I get a weekly update of mentions of my wife online. That is all I use it for, but these alerts are very important.
Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.
Aaron Approved! Some people are not fans of Klout. I am indifferent, but use it to track my social media influence. Klout is trying to be a “content sharing” platform. I believe there are better options out there (Hootsuite, Buffer), but I can see how some people could come to like the platform. I use it as a benchmark monitoring tool. I have a goal to not let my Klout score to drop below 50. Soon I will be bumping that to 55. Some people have given Klout a hard time because they say, “What does a Klout score of 55 even mean?” It really means nothing, but if someone you respect in your field has a score of 65, then you can benchmark yourself against that person. You can also use it as I do to monitor yourself.
TweetDeck: Owned by Twitter, TweetDeck is a desktop application similar to Hootsuite. Monitor multiple timelines in one easy interface. Schedule tweets to be posted in the future. Turn on alerts to keep up with emerging information. Filter searches based on criteria like engagement, users, and content type. Build and export custom timelines to put on your website. Use intuitive keyboard shortcuts for efficient navigation. Mute users or terms to eliminate unwanted noise. TweetDeck timelines stream in real-time. Manage multiple accounts, tweet, and follow from one or all.
Note: I have used TweetDeck in the past, and just prefer Hootsuite. I know many people that prefer TweetDeck over Hootsuite. It’s really a great tool and is really a matter of preference. If you haven’t used either, check them both out.
Now for some maybe lesser known solutions.
Icerocket is a free resource for brand monitoring. It taps the internet, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and delivers easy-to-read results in one page. It has a fairly minimal and easy to use interface. It is a great tool if you would like to search blogs, Twitter, or Facebook individually or all at once. Just type in what you need to search and the results are neatly arranged on the page.
Mention is an iPhone and Android app that lets you create alerts for your company, its keywords, your brand, and your competitors. Updates in real time. This app is similar and lets you create your first alert for free. It looks nicer than Google Alerts, but if you need multiple alerts, use Google Alerts.
Netvibes is the all-in-one dashboard intelligence platform for real-time social media monitoring, social analytics, brand sentiment, reputation management. Netvibes offers a free option along with two paid options. When Google stopped offering iGoogle, most of those loyal users flocked to Netvibes.
You can monitor a topic without signing in. Without an account, you can see news about your topic from Bing News, Yahoo News, Google, Twingly, YouTube, and Dailymotion. If you login for a free account, you can like your Twitter profile and see news and results from Twitter. You can also add widgets to monitor everything from Facebook to your website’s Google Analytics.
Note: I haven’t played around with Netvibes enough to give it my recommendation, but it looks really awesome. I will be adding this to my shortlist of things to try out. If you are looking for a dashboard that will give you almost any information you could need, check out Netvibes.
Plugg.io is a web-based system to help individuals, businesses, organizations and marketers easily grow and manage their social media profiles. It includes a suite of tools to organize and keep track of multiple accounts, get more followers, and automate the finding and publishing of excellent targeted content.
Note: Plugg.io is very similar to Hootsuite and TweetDeck. However, Plugg.io combines the features of Hootsuite with the features of Buffer. You can view your Twitter stream and you can schedule tweets for a specific time or set predetermined times to post, just as in Buffer. If Buffer ever makes me mad, I will definitely switch to Plugg.io. You can also get Twitter stats emailed to you weekly and infographics for free.
TweetBeep: Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates. You can keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL. The alerts are sent to the email address of your choosing.
Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
There you go ladies and gentlemen. Twelve options you can use to monitor yourself or your business online. All for FREE! Have you had luck with any of these platforms? Which ones did I forget?