TopRank Marketing Editor

5 Near Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

TopRank Marketing Editor     Online Marketing, Social Media, Web Analytics

Social Media Monitoring ToolsSocial Media Monitoring Services

When it comes to businesses leveraging the social web to communicate with customers and improve brand awareness, there’s some good news and there’s some bad news.

The good news: 86% of professionals have adopted social media in some way, according to a recent survey by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education.

The bad news: A whopping 84% of survey respondents who’ve adopted social media don’t measure their social media programs.

Even worse: 40% weren’t even sure they could monitor social media ROI.

Thankfully, there are a host of free or low cost tools available to help companies and organizations track social media success. Use one or more of these 5 social media monitoring tools to gauge how well your efforts are working.

1. Trackur

This social media monitoring tool from ORM expert Andy Beal tracks nearly every element of online media, from blogs, RSS feeds and Tweets, to images and video. Trackur provides the ability to not only view conversations about a brand, but also view the increasing or decreasing volume of the conversation. That way, users can be alerted to any spikes in buzz from a product launch or a negative event. Plus, Trackur offers analysis of any website mentioning a term being monitored, allowing users to distinguish how influential that site is. Monthly subscriptions to Trackur start at $18 per month.

Trackur

2. PostRank Analytics

PostRank provides engagement scores to gauge how well pieces of content (i.e., a blog post, a news article) convinced users to take action (i.e., re-Tweet, a blog post comment, an RSS view). But beyond that, this social media monitoring tool shows the messages and comments from other sites that are contributing to the engagement score. In addition to individual pieces of content, this free service also maps out engagement activity and number of page views for entire blogs or websites per day.   PostRank also offers integration with Google Analytics.  Cost is $9 per month to track 5 sites. The image below illustrates a single post analysis with both engagement metrics and pageviews.

postrank-analytics

3. Google Alerts

This free tool from Google provides email updates of the latest relevant Google search results. It’s as simple as choosing a search term, determining the type of search results to be tracked (news, blogs, web, video, etc.), selecting update frequency and entering an email address. Google Alerts is one of the easiest ways to monitor brand mentions for both company and product names. Plus, the tool can be leveraged to monitor competitor mentions.

Google Alerts

4. Social Mention

Similar to Google Alerts, Social Mention – a real-time search engine – aggregates search results from blogs, microblogs, videos, bookmarks and other social sites. But this free monitoring tool goes a step beyond that. Social Mention provides a social ranking score based on popularity for every search (i.e., how often the search term is mentioned, if the sentiment is positive/neutral/negative). All of this data can even be compiled into a CVS or Excel spreadsheet.

Social Mention

5. TechrigySM2

SM2 is a software solution designed specifically for PR and Marketing Agencies to monitor and measure social media. The “freemium” version of this full featured social media monitoring service allows you to create up to 5 profiles and each query is limited to storing up to 1,000 search results. There are many features with setup and reports as you can see in the screen shot below. Along with standard help and FAQ resources, there’s a Ning powered Techrigy social network or Community of users that you can tap into and share information.

techrigysm2

Incidentally, we did an interview with Connie Bensen, Director of Social Media and Community Strategy at Alterian, the company that owns TechrigySM2 earlier this month.

Whether you leverage one of these low cost or free tools to get started or other tools like Collective Intellect, Cymphony, Converseon, ScoutLabs or Radian6, it’s critical to track social media efforts and tie results back to the goals of your business. Because the scary truth is this: When cut-backs rear their ugly heads, the first programs to go are those that can’t illustrate measurable results and link them back to organizational goals. Don’t find yourself in that 84% of Mzinga and Babson Executive Education survey respondents who don’t measure the effect of social media.

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Comments

  1. marksysomos says:

    Another relatively low-cost service to do social media monitoring and measurement is Sysomos' Heartbeat – sysomos.com/products. For company that want something that is robust, flexible and cost-effective, Heartbeat is a very solid option.

    Mark Evans
    Director of Communications
    Sysomos

  2. There is a great list of tools at http://wiki.kenburbary.com/

    Included is my personal favorite, YackTrack. Yes, I am the developer.

  3. Thanks Michelle,
    Always looking for great tools to track results.

  4. Very nice list.. I use postrank and it's awesome to have your ggogle and social stats in one place.

  5. Thanks Michelle ,great list !
    Thanks robdiana for the wiki list , thoug hthat would have been nice to differentiate the commercial options from the free ones …
    Regards

  6. Great list! We encourage readers to look into any one of our services in the paid social media monitoring and measurement category. For instance, our RepuTrack™ service uses a fixed price approach (starting at $350/mo) and provides robust features which include real-time monitoring, reporting, charting/measurement, smart filtering, sentiment scoring and machine translation in over 30 languages.

    Joseph
    @RepuTrack

  7. He great list. Here far away in cold snowy holland our Buzz monitoring software TraceBuzz is doing the job for local and international player. It's free to try for 2 weaks and not to expensive.

  8. Thanks for the list, Rob. It looks like a pretty good comprehensive starting point.

  9. tessacarroll says:

    Thanks for the great list! It's always great to find tools to help enhance your business for little or no cost, especially when companies are still hesitant to shell out big bucks on social media.

    Tessa Carroll
    http://www.blogs.vbpoutsourcing.com

  10. Please be on the lookout for a lost, lonely comment. I left it earlier today, but it somehow went astray. 🙁

    Anyway, thanks for listing Trackur! We’re working hard to provide a great set of tools, while keeping the price as low as we can.

    The important thing is to monitor your reputation and news–no matter which platform you select.

    Andy

  11. Thanks for including Techrigy SM2 (now Alterian SM2)! And I appreciated the interview that Lee did!

    People thank me for our Freemium version because they are able to use it to grow their business.
    As you pointed out, it is important to be measuring & showing the success of their social media efforts.
    How else can it be justified? Showing ROI will ensure that you can expand your efforts.

    Connie
    Dir of Community Strategy, Alterian
    @cbensen

  12. Thanks for the list of social media monitoring tools, this is really helpful.

  13. Hi Michelle – thanks for including PostRank. 🙂

    Did want to add that all signups get the first 30 days free – that's for both monthly subscriptions ($9) and annual ($99).

    We also rolled out a new tool yesterday that enables folks to get a snapshot of any site's last 30 days of engagement: https://analytics.postrank.com/tour — that's free, and isn't an overall solution, but does yield some interesting info about whether a site's audience mostly engages with its content on-site or off, what social hubs generate the most engagement, etc.

    Melanie

  14. Thanks for sharing! I’m using Google Alerts now. This tool always update me the information about the cancer and cytogenetics. It really helps me a lot!

  15. To make a link popular, social bookmarking is a strong tool, here is a new strong link for bookmark best news, images, video link..
    http://ja-ta.com

  16. If 86% of professionals have “adopted social media in some way”, I’m curious what the percentage is that is actually using it well. Taking into account the time it takes to blog, tweet, etc., I’m wondering just how many are making it really work for them, not just signing up because they feel they are obligated as a business.

    • Hey Laura, I agree that there is a big difference between using and using it well. That goes for just about anything though, right? Some are chasing “shiny objects” and some are approaching social media with a methodology to see what works and what doesn't.

      The important thing about this post is that there are some free and low cost tools to help discovery and reporting to support even the most basic of methodologies.

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  18. Great Post – thanks for the information. People may also be interesting in finding tools to calculate the ROI of their social media campaigns, or marketing campaigns in general. Here’s a list to the 10 best free ROI calculators on the web: http://bit.ly/7fwBkF.

  19. I didn't know about any of the listed items above.

    But.. it would be much better to mention the free alternatives of these products.

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  21. Thanks for the info. I may put some of these to use on a new project.

  22. This is awesome. I love measurement tools.

  23. Thanks for the list of social media monitoring tools, this is really helpful in tracking the results..

  24. Harrisonquack says:

    Might be people not taking it that seriously after making their presence felt in their targeted areas. Similar approach to a newspaper advertisement it seems to be !
    Attitude change has to come and not to worry it will come, social media and now even more with the internet working alongside the change is inevitable.

  25. Matt Karolian says:

    Tools like these can further help legitimize what we do as social media practitioners. Without hard numbers, its sometimes hard to convince those we need to to let us do what we feel is right.

  26. Thanks for the information Michelle! However, something that's missing from the monitoring tools you've mentioned is the ability to track customer reviews. That may not be so important for an online business, but customer reviews left at sites like Yelp, Kudzu, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, etc., can have a tremendous impact on local businesses. A free tool that's useful in monitoring local reviews is GetListed.org — it's not perfect but it's very helpful. Another tool in beta is the Marchex Reputation Management Product. Again, not perfect but a big step in the right direction. The Marchex product is intended to cover both local customer reviews and blogs and other social media channels.
    Again, great post and very useful information!

    • Excellent point psherland about tracking customer reviews. I'm working with a client who has negative reviews popping up and overpowering the good ones. He has thousands of satisfied customers but they aren't as likely to write reviews. Thanks for the information. Tracking these in real time is a big help.

      • Hi Elizabeth,
        The tools I mentioned help keep tabs on customer review trends, but they also miss some reviews so should supplement with the major search engines. Another tool I forgot to mention is Techrigy's SM2 social media monitoring solution. Premium plans start at $600 per month, but Techrigy also offers a Freemium version that you can test drive.
        For your client, is there a pattern to the negative reviews? Perhaps there is a business process that can be adjusted to address the issues being documented. It's also helpful if your client responds to the negative (and positive) reviews in a constructive way. Depending on where the reviews were left, what was said in the reviews, and the terms of service of those sites, it's sometimes possible to have reviews removed.
        Thanks for the compliment!
        Paul Sherland

  27. sarahharris818 says:

    Thanks for this post Michelle. I read a ton of SEO posts and the ones on this site are really the most helpful. I am just now starting to look at these applications but if it wasn't for this post it probably wouldn't have occurred to me (as bad as that sounds).

  28. TTFProductions says:

    We are still trying to get a handle on the impact of social media for web based businesses. We've recently launched 3 businesses and are continuing our SEO efforts. Social media, viral marketing, organic SEO….etc… are all parts of our strategy. These tools may be very helpful helping us to understand if our efforts are effective or not.

    Thanks for the information.

    TTF Productions

  29. Great post! This will be very useful.

  30. That guy is very useful !

  31. Are you successful in this business

  32. I like Vitrue and Twitter's live search.

  33. Monitoring is essential at the individual, brand, and corporate level. It can give you the jump on anything from the publishing of a favorable PR driven article to hacking, spamming, and piracy activity.

    Start with Google alerts and add to it as your needs and sophistication evolves. The next level of monitoring and ROI in SM. We scratch the surface on this topic in our post on SM ROI (http://how-to-blog.tv/social/social-networking-sites-and-roi-discussion-part-2/)

    Great article!

  34. This is very refreshing. I had no idea there were any ways of tracking my social media activities. Thank you for this information. Now I will be able to determine what sources will be the best for me to use in my activities and which ones I may need to change up a little…

  35. nicheblueprint2 says:

    Great stuff, much appreciated info

  36. stepheneugeneadams says:

    Good discussion. As someone who tries to utilize social media to promote my businesses I sometimes feel like I am speaking to an empty room. I have used Google analytics to see that there is people who review my blog but who. I will try some of these as I go forward.

  37. great post with much valuable information to be passed along. Many people are easily lost in the sheer volume of online social activity. your post provides some basic but much valued guidance.

  38. I read your profile today and it was so good to me.i feel you are the only one missing in my entire life so i decided to stop on and let you know that i am interested to be a friend first.When the fight begins within himself, a man's worth something

  39. furniturestores says:

    Nice list of tools. Totally love PostRank Analytics. Thanks for the find!

  40. bathmateus says:

    It is a good posting. I like it. It's pretty much impressive.
    Bathmate

  41. Most people don’t take the time to test any type of results that they get from their blogs, social media, or websites. I think the net is full of overload. A great strategy is to pick one or two tools on the Internet and stick to them. If you try to do everything, you will go crazy.

    God Bless!
    ELMO

  42. robinbuckley says:

    Thank you for this enlightening post. I have a commitment to myself to go deeper into social media this year. So this was very timely for me.

  43. hello ! this is nice to see your post, it has a potential tips about marketing it's very helping aswell keep it on thanks happy 2010.

  44. SearchEngineMarketingMN says:

    Most web portals have been using content value measurements like this for a long time.

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  48. Jody Raines says:

    Great list of monitoring tools! I agree that monitoring brand is critical, especially in this era where negative comments can become viral in a heartbeat. Thanks for your insightful evaluations of these tools as well.

  49. This is a very solid post.

  50. Thanks for sharing this great list of tools which are very help in monitoring..Thanks for the information…shoba

  51. This is a great post. I just had one of the ‘Doh!’ moments and ran back to correct my own site before publishing my comment. You see my own comment form did not match what I’m about to advice. I get less comment than you, so never noticed any problem. I’ve changed it now anyway so here goes.

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  52. The key is finding the best tool that fits your company culture and objectives. Using a tool to glean insights will help turn your social media campaign into a program is integrated into the overall marketing/communications strategy.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at Radian6
    @VargasL

  53. stickyweb says:

    Nice post with valuable information about various social media marketing tools as they will be very useful for the webmasters to get their site's performance increased and gain ranking to the site's website.

  54. tracyannegeorge says:

    Good Post!! Nice tools you have mentioned… I would be using the same and bookmark it.. Here, I would like to show you an online invoicing tool which I am using.. Its really helpful for me!

    Billing Boss is an online invoicing tool which would help you with all your billing and invoicing needs. You can generate unlimited invoices and send it to unlimited customers. As it is an online tool, you can operate it wherever you got internet connection and you no need of depending on single computer. Even you can access this tool on your iPhone or Blackberry.

  55. Great article! Very interesting stats in your introduction. I work at a company called SWIX that measures SM ROI, feel free to check us out at http://www.swixhq.com/.

  56. Well written articles, you are truly gifted!
    Stephan

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  58. Weißer Tee says:

    That's fascinating. I mean it's a great new year gift for all bloggers. Thanks for sharing these monitoring tools with us.. 🙂
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  59. cristibonette says:

    Hello Michelle,
    Congratulations on all your article and especially on this one! I myself use both PostRank Analytics and Google Alerts and they really help my daily work (online).
    In my opinion Google Alerts is the best, it helped my start a little website on a small niche. I don't know if I am allowed, but I want to recommend a software that will help anybody (as it did for me) start a business.It's cheap and easy to use. In my oppinion, the best:
    http://www.emarketinghelper.com

    Thanks again!

  60. thanks for sharing. that's great article. I better know than before

  61. this is great information. thanks

  62. Man, this is awesome, these resources are great. thank you so much.

  63. Thanks for sharing this list. I am using google alerts, but not aware of its benefits till reading your post.

  64. Sheilaelliott says:

    Your depiction is attention-grabbing. Thanks for sharing your valued Social Media Monitoring Tools. Still i havn't use these tips but defiantly i knew after using these tips we will get some good effects.
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  65. Wasn't aware of Techrigy. Thanks for the tip, I'll be checking it out!

  66. PostRank Analytics is just what i was looking for..Thanks for the info..!

  67. Well just forgot to say TechrigySM2 is also just awesome..!

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  68. currenty im using google alert free tool for tweet page monitor. but after reading this article i have more option for monitoring my tweet page out of this tools i like to choose social mention tool.

  69. currenty im using google alert free tool for tweet page monitor. but after reading this article i have more option for monitoring my tweet page out of this tools i like to choose social mention tool.