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  • 78% of consumers say that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases (source: Forbes)
  • 74% rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions (source: Social Sprout)
  • 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (source: HubSpot)

The numbers say loud and clear consumers make buying decisions based on what they hear from social networks. Does your business listen?

Conversations on the Internet produce massive amounts of unstructured data. To make sense of the noise, social media listening requires a process. The steps are: Define goals, use tools and resources that meet the objective and create a measurement plan to make the listening actionable. Here’s how some brands have put social media listening to use.

There are very effective social media listening and monitoring tools available so there is no reason not to start now. Here are 25 social media listening aids to increase your hearing.

  1. Addictomatic: Focuses on a variety of platforms such as: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com, etc. It’s really useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.
  2. BackTweets: Tracks how many people are talking about you, who’s talking, and what they’re saying. You can search through a tweet archive for URLs sent via Twitter, including results for full URL links, shortened URLs, and URLs without the “www” prefix.
  3. Bit.ly: The dominant URL shortener also has analytics and tracking to show what where traffic is coming from and how many click and save messages.
  4. BlitzMetrics: Helps you benchmark against your competitors, learn which demographics are the most active, and track content performance so you can improve your reach and engagement.
  5. Booshaka: Focuses on Top Fans and the Top 10% of participants that are contributing to a community. It is oriented to Facebook and is a great way for a company to identify people by name that are most active is commenting, liking and sharing their content and in finding others like them.
  6. Flowtown: Allows you to take email addresses (like the people subscribed to my newsletter) and determine in which social networks they are active. This is especially handy when you need to segment your audience.
  7. Google Analytics: The analytics tool for your website is, in my opinion, the #1 social media monitoring tool because it tells where visitors come from, how they behave on your site and what actions they take. Google Analytics is the most effective tool for measure if social activity translates to conversion and business success.
  8. Google Trends: Allows you to see how Google search volumes for a specific keyword(s) have changed over time. The data is represented as a line graph but can be broken down by region, language and closely associated terms. One of is best features is that it can compare multiple keywords.
  9. HootSuite: A social media management system that enables teams to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one dashboard. Includes audience identification tools, the ability to streamline workflow, and custom reports. Weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.
  10. Ice Rocket: Can be used for keeping an eye on your blogger activity, as 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.
  11. Klout: Is probably one of the most controversial social media analytics tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate. Some people find it useful, as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter and it is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.
  12. How Sociable: Measures yours and your competitors’ social media presence. A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is required. HowSociable breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.
  13. Lithium: An enterprise solution with excellent workflow that enables you to identify your key influencers early on in your social media campaign, which will lead to greater social media optimization and more control over what is being said, retweeted and reposted on social media networks, thus effecting the overall sentiment surrounding your brand. Buzz Tracking is a great monitoring tool that allows you to see the buzz volume in real time.
  14. Radian6: One of the more widely used enterprise platform uses keyword phrases you choose, which makes it easier to pull and quantify results later. From this data set, you have several widgets that allow you to see an overview of all the information or you can drill down to the nitty-gritty. :
  15. Social Mention: is probably one of the best free listening tools on the market, as it analyses data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.
  16. Social Searcher: tracks activity with advance analytics that sentiment, users, traffic sources, keywords and most popular posts. It’s has some of the best analytics of any of the open source monitoring tools.
  17. Social Rest: tracks and analyses social activity and also has a return on investment (ROI) feature. If you set specific conversion goals like advertisement clicks or new sign-ups. Your business can now attribute new sign-ups or revenue to content your users shared on social media.
  18. Sprout Social: is a complete social platform that eases your work by a ton as it automatically creates a beautiful and colorful report with your company logo.  So even if you don’t have an eye for design, you’ll still be able to generate a report with a click of a button.
  19. Sysomos: provides social media monitoring and share for voice for company accounts. It’s also equipped to import Goggle Analytics. Data visualization and text analytics are some of the key feature to get to the root of relevant conversations or branch out from existing discussion and topics
  20. Technorati: is a blog search engine that tracks blogs and blog post for any query. One feature is their Authority Score which is the number of links to a blog within the last six month. Technorati is an important for any business that blogs and is looking to find and build relationships with influencers and advocates in their industry.
  21. Topsy: allows users to conduct interactive analysis on keywords and authors by activity, influence, exposure, sentiment, language or geography. Topsy is a certified Twitter partner.
  22. Tweet Deck: covers basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. However, it lacks in regular updates and can be prone to bugs.
  23. Tweet Reach:  Is the right tool for your business if you’re interested in monitoring how far your tweets travel. It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.
  24. Twitter Search: Provides real time identification of keywords on twitter, twitter handles, addresses and hash tags. It is especially valuable for those looking for people at locations, and events at the moment.
  25. Viral Heat: monitors share of voice and allows users to compare search profiles or relevant terms across the web and social media so businesses can track individual products and compare social buzz among their own products or compare brand mention to competitors.

Some of these social media listening and monitoring tools free and some require subscriptions.

Avinash Kaushik has the 10/90 Rule when it comes to budgeting for analytics. The 10/90 Rule says that your budget should be divided as 10% for the analytics tools and software and 90% for the people doing the analysis, The point being people and brain power trump data gathering so software costs every time. This applies to any plan for social media listening.

Mike Moran and I teach Audience Social Media and Internet Online Profiling for the University of California where class is now in session.

Do you think these social media listening aids can increase your hearing?

 

 

 

 

 

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Rob Petersen

About Rob Petersen

Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.

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