Selecting Social Media Monitoring Tools

As many organisations embark on  social Listening and Insight projects, there are a number of areas to consider when selecting a social media monitoring tool and insight partners.

  • What is the business goal for the listening project?
  • What insight does the tool need to deliver to support the business goal?
  • What are the core areas of a Social Media Monitoring Tool which need to be considered?

Understanding each of these areas provides the basis for the tool selection and insight partner process.

Business Goals for Social Listening Projects.
Social Listening and Insight projects have delivered business benefits across different teams within organisation, these include

  • on-going listening projects which monitor current
    conversations around companies, products, brands and their competitors
  • Individual insight projects which interrogate
    historical social data and current conversations which have identified

    • key influencers for key subjects
    • campaign messaging for online word of mouth campaigns
    • themes, topics and tone for website content strategies

Through these projects, Insight, Innovation, Online Strategy, Content Strategist, New Product Development and PR teams have all delivered value to the business through social listening and insight projects.

What insight does the tool need to Deliver?
Social Tools support 2 forms of social listening, which provide reports and insight back to different teams across the business and can answer

  • on-going listening and monitoring, where individuals
    and in some companies, listening teams, listen for conversations about companies,
    products, brands, competitors and feed this information back to different areas
    within their business which include

    • PR
    • Customer service
    • Innovation
    • Marketing
    • Risk & compliance
    • Technical support
    • Individual retail stores/locations
    • individual social insight projects, which look to answer specific business
      • who are the key people talking about my business
      • what are the key subject areas my target customers are talking about
      • can I align my campaigns with key subject areas
      • what is the reach of an online campaign
      • other customer research and insight questions


What are the core areas of Social Media Monitoring Tools which need to
be considered during the selection process?

There is a wide range of social tools currently available in the market whose core function is to track, monitor and collect social data, which can be used by the different teams within an organisation.

Social Media Monitoring tools have 3 core functions

  • Collection of Social Data
  • Index and Store Social Data
  • Dashboard to interrogate and report on social data collected.

Collection of Social Data
The data collected is the individual conversations and contributions to online public forums, online communities, comments on news sites and blog posts, social networks, like twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn etc.  Each conversation identified has associated data which can also be collected relating to the individual contributor, which
may include IP address, social network username and public profile information.

Indexing and Storage or Social Data
Each social media monitoring tool owns a social data warehouse; which is the social data they have collected and indexed for use by their dashboard and export to deliver reports and insights to clients.

The social data is collected from a range of sources, which grows on a daily basis as the tools add more sources.  The availability of data relevant to your area of interest is an important aspect to consider when looking at tool vendors.  Areas to consider around data are:

Volume of Social Data
The size of the social data warehouse varies, between different social media monitoring tools and the historical data held varies from 1 week to 4 years, these are important areas to consider when evaluating a social media monitoring tools as is the ability to add in new social data sources for a specific country or industry.

Geographic Spread
Many Social Media Monitoring tools originated in the US, therefore the largest percentage of social data comes from US domestic websites, social networks, forums and blogs.  As the companies have moved into new international markets their volume of local market data has increased.  It is important to look at the volume of data from your local market and the ability of the tool to add in and develop the local market data set.

Local Language
SMM Tools have a growing volume of international language data sets, however the level of accuracy of the results depends on the international expertise within each vendor and their approach to indexing, storing, analysing and reporting on local languages.  It is important to run some local market tests for volume and relevance of local market social data.

Social Media Monitoring Dashboard
Each Social Media Monitoring Tool has a dashboard which has 4 main areas of functionality

Setting up the search
When evaluating tools it is important to look at the dashboard to establish how searches are setup, to understand what results are produced and how to filter and refine searches to narrow down the data set into one that can be used by the different teams within a business.

Reporting on Findings
Each SMM tool has a reporting dashboard which can be used to report on the findings of the searches carried out, be those on-going monitoring or deeper analysis of historical data sets.  It is important to look at the reporting capability of the dashboard and to understand what insight can be obtained from the data and how it can be reported to one or more areas of the business.

Many SMM tools offer a workflow capability which enables the listening team to forward individual conversations to other individuals within the organisation for action or for integration to internal CRM systems.

Data Export
Data export is another feature which is available where selected data sets can be exported and used by other reporting tools and analytics tools.

It is important to understand the key areas of Social Media Monitoring tools to ensure these are considered during the evaluation process.

Social Media Monitoring can provide valuable insights to a business, which will help it understand more about their customers, help them find ways to engage and learn from them and gain a broader understanding of their position in the market.  It is therefore very important to understand the core strengths of each of the Social Media Monitoring Tools and evaluate them with your business goal in mind to ensure maximum value from using them within your business.

It is very easy to buy SMM Tools, it is harder to demonstrate value to the business if you have not selected the best tool for the job.

To get our whitepaper on selecting SMM tools or to find out more about how we can help you in the selecting and evaluating SMM tools, contact us on:


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