I’ve advocated before that monitoring is a critical foundational element to any social media strategy. The list of available solutions for social media monitoring expands daily, but the features and capabilities can vary dramatically regardless of how a vendor might position its product.
I’ve advocated before that monitoring is a critical foundational element to any social media strategy. The list of available solutions for social media monitoring expands daily, but the features and capabilities can vary dramatically regardless of how a vendor might position its product. For the most part, three categories are wide enough to categorize most vendors:
- Brand Monitoring. This is what most people often envision when they consider social media monitoring. Tools within this category, whether used directly by you or through an agency, consider traditional brand measures such as sentiment, activity and reach (as well as against your competitors), and present these through a dashboard interface. Most vendors can track these measures in real-time as well as look back across some range of historical data. While these features are useful for B2B organizations, the tool’s ability to identify influencers is important as well. Some of the vendors in this category include Alterian SM2, Vocus and Trackur.
- Interaction Management. The next category includes the functionality in the brand monitoring tools but often looks at the data from a wider functional perspective (such as a support viewpoint in additional to corporate communications) and includes workflow features. Capabilities within this category enable you to assign a post to a team member for follow up or resolution. A key feature is that you don’t have to use other tools outside the platform; social accounts (such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.) are accessed from within the tool. Example vendors in this category include Radian6 and Lithium Social Media Monitoring
- Social Intelligence. This is another variation of the brand monitoring model, although it may also have some workflow features. While some vendors within this category can’t provide the analytics and inside with their current monitoring technology alone, and a services component is necessary to make sense of the wealth of data that such monitoring systems can provide, other vendors have evolved their platform to the point where the technology can provide most of the heavy lifting. This category can also be helpful when trying to determine the impact of social across longer buying/sales cycles, but I’ll cover that in a future post. Example vendors for this category include Attensity, Collective Intellect, Crimson Hexagon, Sysomos and Visible.
Obviously, the vendors mentioned is hardly an exhaustive list. My hope is that with these categories, you can look at your monitoring requirements and start to evaluate appropriate tools.