Trackur, Sprout Social, Thrive & other monitoring tools worth paying for
Target audience: Mid-size nonprofits, cause organizations, agencies, brands, NGOs, Web publishers, individuals. This is part of our series on social media monitoring:
• Guide to monitoring social media conversations
• 20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools
• How to create & manage a monitoring dashboard (Thursday)
Search engines and free monitoring tools can help you find mentions of your brand easily, but if you want to take your social media efforts to the next level, you may want to consider using a social media monitoring vendor.
Once your nonprofit or business reaches a certain size — with, say, hundreds of daily mentions — a paid social media monitoring vendor or service can help you smartly assess the conversations taking place about your brand. In many cases, they offer tools for you to respond and forge deeper levels of engagement. A good paid service will offer not just data but ways for you to draw insight and develop strategy by tapping into actionable intelligence.
Paid subscription services for social media monitoring can save staff time and provide insight into influence, authority, sentiment and reach. But remember: For your social media program to work, you’ll need to designate someone on your staff to own this. The person or team should analyze the results, act on time-sensitive issues and make recommendations about how to integrate the learnings from the community into your operation. (Socialbrite can help you get your program up and running.)
Social media vendors come in all shapes and flavors. Some cater to small organizations with modest budgets that want to handle monitoring internally. Others service large nonprofits and corporations that want a robust suite of tools and access to expert analysts. So we’ve broken this package into two parts:
• 10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits (below)
• Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business (on our sister site, Sociamedia.biz), which includes Radian6, Lithium and 18 other vendors that work with nonprofits
Please note that we’ve already covered a number of monitoring services in our roundups Top 10 social media dashboard tools and 14 free tools to measure your social influence — including TweetDeck, CoTweet, Seesmic, Spredfast, MediaFunnel, Bit.ly and others — so think of this as a package of monitoring resources.
Commercial social media monitoring services
Here is our guide to 10 subscription-based social media monitoring services for nonprofits and organizations, with the most affordable ones listed first. Have your own favorites? Please add them in the comments below.
Trackur: Affordable tracking & engagement
1An online reputation management and social media monitoring tool created by reputation expert Andy Beal and team, Trackur is sort of a Google Alerts on steroids. Trackur provides all the monitoring tools you need. It is brandable, will rate the sway power of your influencers for prioritized responses and will deliver results to your inbox, RSS feed or Web-based dashboard. Quickly monitor your reputation, check on trends and analyze media mentions for your company, brands, sector, cause or clients. Cost: Four plans range from $18 to $377/month and vary depending on number of searches and features used. Free 10-day money-back guarantee. Clients: 27,000+ users. Affordability makes it popular among small businesses. Owner: Independent.
Sprout Social: Track & grow your social footprint
2We’ve heard good things about Chicago-based Sprout Social, which lets you target and discover new customers or supporters, monitor your brand across the social Web, organize your social networks and manage up to five identities with the basic plan. The service offers an easy-to-digest summary of what’s happening online around your social presence. Cost: Pro Plan at $9/month is geared to small, independent businesses, nonprofits and organizations. Business Plan at $49/month is tailored to larger companies. Free trial. Clients: Chiefly small businesses, independent service providers such as attorneys and real estate agents, bloggers. Owner: Independent.
uberVU: Affordable for smaller operations
3A social media monitoring tool that combines powerful features (e.g., historical and real-time data, sentiment analysis, platform filtering) and ease of use, uberVU offers a monthly price that should be more attractive to nonprofits and small and mid-size brands. Cost: Four packages:$49.99/month for individuals, $180/month for popular Plus program, $400/month for big companies, contact team for PR agencies. 14-day free trial. Clients: OMD, Edelman, Sharp. Clients generally consist of small businesses and startups, PR & marketing agencies, bloggers. Owner: Independent.
Thrive: Convert fans into donors
4Thrive, from the consultancy Small Act of McLean, Va., is an all-in-one social media tool that lets you listen, publish, report and engage with donors and supporters. Features like contact tagging and sorting, automated keyword searching and automated conversation archiving help you cultivate relationships over time, turning fans into donors. Import your existing email lists and convert them into detailed social profiles so you can jump-start your social media program. Small Act is also launching a service that takes an organization’s donor database to help them build social communities from that data. Cost: Recommended plan for most nonprofits is $1,188/year per user ($99/month per user). Small Act offers a one-month free trial as part of the contract if requested. See the demo, too. Clients: AARP, KaBoom, Global Giving, Ashoka, Office Depot, National Geographic. Owner: Independent.
ReSearch.ly: Newcomer packs a lot of power
5Launched in December 2010 and in development for two years, ReSearch.ly — from the folks behind Sydney- and San Francisco-based PeopleBrowsr — is essentially a powerful social search tool that gives a window into informal communities of interest on Twitter. You can look for mentions of a brand, cause or event in real time, filter out unimportant mentions and funnel in all Twitter users, Twitter folks you’re following or just your followers. Segment by media or content type (like photography or bios) to identify key influencers or communities of interest on the fly. We got an advance at ReSearch.ly at BlogWorld Expo and liked what we saw. Cost: $99/month per user. The cost quickly goes up if you want to add data from Facebook, blogs and other networks. Clients: New service. Owner: Independent.
eCairn: Conversation & influencer mining
6Find your tribes, rank your influencers, listen to the people who matter and engage in meaningful conversations with eCairn Conversations. This video on YouTube describes a number of enhancements — campaign management, influencer geo-location, relevance filtering — released in November 2010. Cost: Pricing starts at $99/month. Clients: HP, Chanel, L’Oreal and several PR and communication agencies. Owner: Independent.
Hootsuite: Integrate your social platforms
7We like Hootsuite because we think of monitoring as part of an integrated approach to social media. (Other monitoring dashboards offering tiered pricing include TweetDeck, CoTweet and Seesmic.) With Hootsuite you can update multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and more) from a computer or mobile device. Your team can track results of their interactions and create a dashboard that will work efficiently with their preferred social streams. Social Insights, which comes with the Pro editions, gives you access to information about your social network and intelligence about how to enlarge your network and adjust your marketing strategy. Cost: For $5.99/month, your organization can enjoy unlimited capabilities for a single user, with each additional user costing $15/month. Clients: The White House, Oxfam, Martha Stewart Media, SXSW, Zappos, TED, LA Times, Fox, BET. Owner: Independent.
Actionly: Low cost and no frills
8Actionly tracks keywords across Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc. and pulls updates every hour. The information is gathered, analyzed and stored in an easy-to-use dashboard that allows you to manage multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts and lets you export all data for future use. The service also offers customized reports, email alerts and sentiment analysis, and its integration with Google Analytics allows you to see your social media ROI. See this tutorial on how to use Actionly strategically. Cost: Basic monitoring for $20/month, premium for $50/month and a Pro option at $100/month. Free one-search trial. Clients: Public relations professionals, others. Owner: Independent.
BuzzStream: Build & manage relationships
9BuzzStream helps you build a dossier about your influencers. Search mainstream news, blogs posts, blog comments, Twitter posts, forums, message boards and many other social sites for mentions of your keywords. Cost: Pricing starts at $49/month for one person and 10,000 search results, $99/month for three users. If you monitor social media to find link opportunities or conduct reputation management, you can set up media monitoring searches in BuzzStream starting at $29/month. Clients: Sapient, Rubbermaid, Random House, HomeAway, Bazaarvoice. Owner: Rel Equals, Inc.
Meltwater News: Mixed reports
10Meltwater News combines broad search capabilities, analytical tools and a consultative relationship with its clients. Through its Web-based interface, users can evaluate trends, map press activity, identify target markets and measure the ROI of marketing and PR campaigns. Track keywords, phrases and topics from 130,000 sources and receive daily reports. We’re reluctant to recommend Meltwater News, however, based on some recent feedback. Cost: In line with other basic monitoring services. Clients: Meltwater News has more than 20,000 clients, including Airtran Airways, European Tour, USA Cycling. Owner: Meltwater Group. Its nonprofit arm, the Meltwater Foundation, operates the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. Also see: Meltwater Buzz in Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business.
Other paid social media monitoring solutions
There are more than 200 social media monitoring services in the marketplace, so this is meant as a sampling of some of the notable vendors that would be of most use to nonprofits and small to mid-size organizations and businesses rather than a comprehensive list. If you’ve had success with other vendors, please your experiences in the comments below.
More social media monitoring vendors and tools:
• Top 10 social media dashboard tools (Socialbrite)
• 14 free tools to measure your social influence (Socialbrite)
• Socialmedia.biz’s Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business includes a host of vendors that also cater to nonprofits, including Radian6, BuzzGain and many others.
• Social media monitoring: Articles (Socialbrite)
• Social media metrics: Articles (Socialbrite)JD Lasica works with nonprofits, social change organizations and businesses on social media strategies. See his profile, visit his business blog, contact JD or leave a comment.
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