A PR professional today needs to have one foot (at least) in the digital marketing world as the future of the industry grows to be fully integrated.
While finding and tracking conversations on social media was once a hurdle, with a range of tools available now, the challenge is finding the ideal one – especially across markets and platforms.
Don’t think of social media monitoring as a one-time, or sporadic, activity. It’s an ongoing process of tracking online conversations to find information about URLs, hashtags and keywords.
The goal of this process is to better understand different target markets, ranging from prospects to competitor customers. Specifically, digital strategists can use social media monitoring to determine how a brand is perceived, analyse consumer behaviour and identify issues those consumers may have.
I believe that there will be a rise of social media listening tools. They will only get more sophisticated as time goes by, which means we as PRs need to be one step ahead of the trends and start learning now. While more will be developed, here are my top 6 suggestions that are free to use right now.
Hootsuite is one of the best free social media listening tools available and covers multiple social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. It is well known for its social media management functions.
The weekly reports and the excellent team management function (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.
Try Google Alerts if you’re looking for an easy, if barebones, option. It will scan publications for keyword mentions, delivering email alerts according to the frequency you choose. You can filter results by region, language and source — including blogs, forums and news sources.
Think of SharedCount as a basic version of BuzzSumo. Seeing more than a billion requests per month, this programme helps monitor the social popularity of content, by simply pasting a URL into the search bar to see how many likes and shares it has earned on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook.
Klout is probably one of the most controversial social media monitoring tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate and that trying to interact with them is an impossible mission (a curious thing as they provide interaction-measurement services).
On the other hand, others find it useful as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter. It’s a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most. Using the Klout ‘score’, you can adjust your posts according to your target audience’s interests and increase your engagement rate.
Mention monitors millions of sources in 42 languages, helping you stay on top of all brand mentions on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page. The app lets you keep track of your team’s actions, share alerts and assign tasks. Generating reports and exporting mentions can help you get a snapshot of your mentions by source or language over a selected period of time. They offer a 14-day free trial.
This tool offers blog, Twitter and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, as well as interactive results graphs. IceRocket also allows you to choose the period of time you are interested in monitoring, and can also be used for keeping an eye on blog activity mentioning your brand – they have around 200 million blogs in their database and they also provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to your search.