Home > Measurement, Social media > Any thoughts on using paid social media monitoring/reporting/engaging tools?

Any thoughts on using paid social media monitoring/reporting/engaging tools?

A wise person once taught me the power of three little words — I don’t know. For some reason, early in my career, I felt embarrassed to admit a lack of knowledge in certain areas. I’d nod my head, as if to indicate I had it down. Or smile, as if to show agreement for a point that had shot straight over my head. Thankfully, those days are long gone.

Lately, for example, I’ve felt a bit perplexed at times while researching paid social media monitoring/reporting/engaging tools. For several years, I’ve relied on free tools such as Google Alerts, Twitter search, Facebook Insights and YouTube Insight to monitor, measure and report social media success. For even longer, I’ve used WebTrends — a paid product — to measure and evaluate web site strategy and tactics.

But I keep reading in books such as The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social and No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing and others about these cool things you can do with paid tools such as Radian6 and Sysomos — measuring “share of voice,” identifying “key influencers,” calculating and reporting Return on Investment (ROI), doing competitive analysis… Lots of stuff that could create lots of value for your organization and give you great information to assist with your decision-making.

I also hear from my cohorts in health care social media how they employ these tools to more effectively use social media to improve public relations, marketing, customer service… So I started checking with vendors, who were very willing to give demos and explain how their products work. That’s where some of my “I don’t knows” started.

Q: How would you like to use this? A: I don’t know. I want to see what it’s capable of doing. At times, I feel a bit stupid, really. But that’s OK.

Here are some thoughts from Facebook friends:

Jason Lee Overbey You can do most of those things for free on your own. It truly depends on what you current campaign is trying to do. If you have a big project or brand/message release, I say you need it. But everyone has an opinion on this.

Jackie Danicki I think it depends on the scope of your project and how important results tracking is to you.

Allison Brinkman I agree w/ Jackie, though having used Sysomos I can tell you there are benefits however there was more of a learning curve associated with it than other PR related sites I’ve used. Thankfully, they have great customer service!

Susan Gosselin Mike the free tools are really incomplete. They miss a lot and it’s a pain to aggregate the results. An organization your size should at least have the lite version of Radian 6

Aldon Hynes We don’t use them… We’ve talked about it, but so far, the cost just doesn’t seem justified. Maybe if we were bigger we might consider them a little more seriously.

Howard Luks What are you looking to do. Very costly … would suggest you talk to the folks at @brightwhistle or perhaps demandforce.

Some of the social media peeps in our system are using, or are about to purchase, paid tools. Perhaps I’ll tap into their efforts. Maybe I’ll help them, and others, move into more advanced areas. Time will tell.

Meantime, I asked Jason Falls, co-author of the No BS book mentioned above, in a recent TweetChat which he recommends. He gave this list: @radian6 @sysomos@ubervu and @visible. SMMS? @Expion @Spredfast@argylesocial. I’m evaluating the first two very closely.

So the quest goes on. I’d appreciate your insights in the comments section.


  1. mikeboehmer57
    January 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm
  2. mikeboehmer57
    January 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm
  3. January 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    It can sometimes be a very tricky decision, Mike.
    What I usually recommend is to figure out what your goals are for whatever it is you’re doing in social media. Once you have some key objectives in mind it then becomes easier to select a tool as you’re looking for one that help to measure the metrics related to your objectives.

    I’m glad to hear that Sysomos is one of the options you’re currently looking into. If you ever have questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or someone else from our team that you may have already spoken with. We’re here to help.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

    • mikeboehmer57
      January 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks, Sheldon. You guys have been very helpful.

  4. January 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Mike,

    The uses of social media monitoring within PR and marketing teams are well understood and the list of questions social conversation can help answer is long. I agree with your friends/colleagues that have already pointed out that you must first identify your business needs and then find a platform that best fits them.

    Looks like you’ve got a good head start identifying some of these platforms, and great to know that Jason Falls recommended Visible as one of them. If you haven’t already contacted us, please visit our website for information on a demo. In the meantime, I thought I’d take this opportunity to list some of the differentiators that set us apart:

    • An integrated platform that includes monitoring, analytics and SMMS engagement functionality all in one integrated application vs. multiple UIs/modules.

    • Easy to use and set up.

    • Deep analytics and topic discovery capability enables organizations to locate and surface relevant items of which they might not be aware.

    • Unlimited saved searches and data collection allows you to develop a complete picture of affinity groups, competitors, products and brands within a predictable, affordable cost structure.

    • Best in class sentiment and data quality with powerful relevance filtering.

    Please reach out if you have any additional questions.

    – Ellen Enrico
    Director, Community Outreach
    Visible Technologies

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