There are about as many tools out there to monitor social media platforms as there are social media platforms. The reason that they exist is reflective of the importance that monitoring plays in brand and reputation management.
Monitoring tools aren’t built for the vast majority of social users. They are built primarily for business. Businesses need to pay very close attention to what is happening in their industries because they have a lot riding on what consumers think, talk about, say, and feel. They want to know what their competition is doing in the hearts and minds of the public. Money is the driver. Sales, reputation, public relations, market share. They all are a part of the listening process.
In the simplest words, monitoring tools pull information from across the social networks into your world so that you can see what is being talking about.
They allow you to ‘listen’ to more information in less time by putting in place keywords or topics, analyze that information, use metrics, charts, graphs, and many cool visuals to show what people are talking about, when and in what context.
Some monitoring tools even boast that they can provide sentiment around your brand. That means they can tell you if people are talking nice about you or not.
are just a few of the tools that you can use to monitor. Like Hootsuite
, or Tweetdeck
some also offer the ability to post directly from their dashboards, respond in line to comments and track conversation pulse. Facebook Insight, Pinterest Analytics, Twitter Search. They all provide great information if you take the time to really look at them.
I don’t endorse any single product that exists for monitoring. I play with many of them to see the benefits/drawbacks but there is one that I always come back to. It is the most accurate tool that exists. It can interpret the information presented. This one tool can truly tell the sentiment of a post, it can follow lines of information and on the fly, create new streams to monitor based on what it sees in real time.
That tool is YOU!
You can do anything and more than what any monitoring tool can do. You can set up key word searches, topics, interests, and listen to the conversations. You can track through a poster’s account and see what they talk about to determine the weight of their information, the heat of a topic, the sentiment that people bring.
You. You can do all of those things with any number of FREE tools. You will be more accurate and have a much better idea of what is truly important than any tool out there. The drawback? You can’t do it nearly as fast. That is the downside. But then, fast is a relative term. I would rather be accurate than first when it comes to the information dissemination and gathering world.