The Art of Listening


June 25, 2012

The Best Social Media Monitoring Tools


Chances are you hear that phrase on the daily, perhaps even hourly.  The reason?  Most of us are terrible listeners.  Don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  Did you know that we retain roughly 50 percent of what we hear immediately after we hear it—and a mere 20 percent beyond that?

It’s even been said that we have to hear something seven—yes, seven—times before we remember it.  If you’d like to make that number even higher some really great ways to not listen at all include: interrupting others, thinking about what you’re going to say next, tuning out, trying to dominate the conversation, getting emotional/ defensive, and ignoring social media.  That’s right, ignoring.  Actually allow me to rephrase that—neglecting social media.  These deal breakers can seal your fate, not only as a bad listener, but also as someone who isn’t worth doing business with.

Since the dawn of all that is social, business has changed to say the least, and listening to what people are saying requires a different set of ears these days.  Consumers can now go online to read reviews, file complaints, ask their friends (or strangers) for advice, vent about their dissatisfaction, or even promote your product to the fullest.  Therefore, you need to listen to what’s being said about you, not just to you.

Put your listening caps on—then join the conversation.  This is how relationships are born nowadays.  Don’t just check your company’s website or blog for comments; check the Web…the entire Web.  It may seem like a daunting task, and I’m not going to lie, it can be.  However, there are enough social media monitoring (SMM) tools out there to find any inkling, smidgen, or hint of a company or competitor mention, as well as a wealth of relevant topics to your business.  And believe me when I say that some of these tools can help you find your needle in the social media haystack.

Just know that all SMM tools aren’t created equal, and some are better for certain areas of social media/ the Web than others.  After all, you wouldn’t try to hammer a nail into the wall with a wrench or cut wood with a butter knife, would you?  Knowing which tools to use for what is essential.

1. Social Mention

As a parent you’re not supposed to play favorites and you should love all of your children, equally.  Well, if SMM tools were children, this kid would be my favorite.

Why we love it: Social Mention has an uncanny ability to pull in blurbs of info across all social media platforms that others don’t.  It’s almost scary what this kid can dig up in the social sandbox—personal Facebook statuses, obscure tweets, or hidden consumer complaints—you name it, this SMM tool will find it.

Pro: Analyzes sentiment, reach, average number of days between mentions, top keywords, top users, top hashtags, and more.

Con: The RSS Feed is consistently on the fritz and the advanced search could offer more geo-targeting capabilities than it does.

Best for: Social sites –no matter where it is on the Web, Social Mention will find it.  When it comes to company and competitor mentions and monitoring the general feel toward the brand, look no further.

2. Google Alerts

With Google in the name, you know to expect results.

Why we love it: The most credible and reliable news-oriented finds—hands down.

Pro: Instantaneous alerts about whatever your heart desires. Results can be filtered by type, frequency, quantity, and you control where they’re delivered (I recommend using RSS and sending them straight to Google Reader).

Con: Mainly a news, blog, and video feed, which isn’t a great resource for social media mentions like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Best for: Credible and breaking news that is industry specific.

3. Hootsuite

Owly really is a wise old owl.  His keen, sonar-like hearing allows you to find your prey in an infinite forest of social networks.

Why we love it: An easy to use social dashboard that puts everything from Twitter to Facebook, and Linkedin to WordPress, at your fingertips.  This monitoring tool allows you to really listen by setting up searches that target specific tweets that your potential customers would send out, which you can then respond to.

Pro: All of your social media assets can be directly managed through one place.  Responding to social comments is elevated to a whole new level of simplicity.

Con: Sorting through hundreds of keyword or key phrase tweets can be overwhelming to say the least, but Hootsuite boasts a pretty accurate geo-targeting feature, which can greatly decrease the amount of irrelevant tweets coming through.

Best for: Responding to or honing in on topic specific tweets, and seeing any comments or updates that hit your various social sites.

Those are our top three, but that isn’t to say we don’t dig on others or suggest them for you and your business.  Social media is constantly evolving; the trick is to stay ahead of the curve.  Don’t believe us—check out these amazing stats on SMM tools and keep that social media toolbox stocked.