There are a variety of powerful software products on the market for monitoring social media content relative to your brand or your competitors. Companies such as Radian6,Andiamo,Attentio, andSentiment Metrics have rolled out and continue to develop various tools to aggregate large amounts of data and help you analyze it. However, for many companies these tools are too costly, too complex, or require too much manpower to deliver results. We have been experimenting lately with two simple free tools that can get you a long way towards a better and more actionable understanding of your brand in the social media landscape.
1.SocialMention.com: This site appears to be developed around Google’s API and offers the abilty to search wide variety of different social media sources such as blogs, microblogs, video, news, images, comments or all of the above. The best part is the results are exportable into CSV or RSS feed formats which gives you the ability to work with the data in your own software or to build tools of your own around the data. They even have an API through which they encourage developers to experiment with ways of using the data (Though they do indicate that they have a fee structure for commercial development projects). Their interface gives estimates of the relative strength, sentiment, passion and reach of the posts. These estimates are to be taken with a grain of salt but it is still a great feature that you usually only see on paid services. All in all, this is a very promising tool worthy of attention.
2. Addictomatic.com:This site has a bit less functionality than socialmention.com but is still a quick and useful interface in many ways. Type in a term you want to track and your page will fill with modules of the latest posts from a wide variety of social media sources. I could see creating a search page for a particular term and visiting often to see a quick social media dashboard of content. Sometimes simple is better when you just want to know what the buzz is and where it is happening.
Try these tools and remember that all social media strategies start with listening which is what these tools help you do.