Deciding whether social media is right for your organization is no easy feat. Deciding to participate in social media brings about many obstacles. Firstly, there are billions of conversations happening on-line, all over the world. Since certain tools target specific geographic areas, conversations are taking place in multiple languages. With the wide array of social media tools available, information is unstructured and dispersed. Lastly, with all the noise from Twitter, Facebook and the like, it’s tough to keep track of what’s meaningful. How does one track all these converstaion, prove that efforts are successful, and target messages and make them stand out are some of the questions organizations ask themselves.
The key to solving some of these challenges and answering some of these questions starts with having appropriate measurement practices in place.
This week we were asked to explore two free tools and one paid tool; and identify the value they provide to a social media program. Thefree tools I chose to explore were Social Mention and HootSuite; and the paid tool was Lithium.
This social media search engine searches user-generated content such as; blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news and videos, and aggregates content from all over the world in real-time.
- Offers multiple search options – Users can search for conversation by topic or narrow it down to a specific source, like a blog or video.
- Register for alerts – Much like Google Alerts, you receive daily emails notifying you of any mentions of your brand.
- Provides useful analytivs – it measures elements such as strength, sentiment, passion and reach, as well as, frequency and top keywords.
- Generats reports – the tool genersates standard reports and allows users to export the information into an Excel.
- This is a useful tool if you are new to social media or are considering trying it out and want to get a general sense of your brands current position in the social media realm.
- Gives you some insight into customers’ sentiment around your brand or what competitors are up to at literally no cost.
- Allows you see what sources and tools your audiences is using to engage.
- The metrics provided are very high level and users are provided with limited information.
- Searche results take a long time to generate due to all the spam and duplication.
- You can search by source (i.e. blog, video, discussion, but not by tool (i.e. Facebook and WordPress).
- There is a lot of spam results and duplicates from robots to sift throught in order to get a clear picture of your position.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this tool, so I thought this exercise would be a great opportunity to see what all the rage is about.
- HootSuite Conversations – An internal conversation tool that allows you to collaborate with colleagues, team members and colleagues in real time.
- 5 Social Profiles – You are limited to 5 owned social profiles. Shared profiles and unlimited.
- Free Quick Reports – These are custom reports with advanced tools like network stats, Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to help you measure your social media efforts, but aren’t nearly as comprehensive as the paid HootSuite tool version.
- Message Scheduling – Allows you to draft, schedule and send messages and time them for your audience.
- Unlimited Apps – These are the additional social networks and content management tools that you add to the dashboard from the App Directory. Sort of like the widgets in WordPress. Example are: Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Evernote.
- 2 RSS/Atom Feeds – These are the number of RSS connections that you may use to automatically update your social profiles from an external blog or news feed.
- This is a great multipurpose social media management tool and best of all it’s free
- A free trial is offered to see if it’s a good fit for your organization before you buy
- It’s a onemultipurpose tool for monitoring, measurement and engagement with your audience.
- Helps with expediting enagement across multiple platforms, which can be time consuming if done manually.
- Great for a start-up business or small campaigns, because it offers a lot of features lot at no cost.
- RSS feed feature has the potenial to be used as a crutch. It’s evident when content is being repurposed across platform. Content is king and should be engaging, meaningful and specifically targeted to the right audience.
- There have been many incidents of employees accidentally tweeted from their personal accounts to their corporate accounts through Hootsuite.
- You are only allowed one user per account which makes it difficult if you are a large organization with multiple users. In this case, the paid version is more suitable for your needs.
This paid tool claims to:
… help companies unlock the passions of their customers to build brand advocacy, drive sales, reduce service costs and accelerate innovation. We help brands build a vibrant community, and then infuse this social conversation across every touch point in the customer experience.
This tool offers various solutions and products to amplify social media efforts surrounding your community. The tool is designed to build brand advocates, drive sales with peer reviews, deliver a better customer experience. It’s also built for crowd sourcing for innovation to stay ahead of your competitors.
- The analytics tool makes it easy to spot strengths and weaknesses in your community to improve community performance.
- Allows you to pinpoint and target your most influential customers and help them work for you.
- Create detailed reports that specifically pinpoint frequent words analysis, volume of mentions and sentiment composition.
- Let’s you export data for in Excel for custom analysis, or share it with your team in a graphical PDF.
- Gives management insight into the team, helps them to monitor workloads.
- Advanced searching and sorting features and real-time dashboards allow management to see the bigger picture
- Allows supervisors/group leads to further into detail, such as individual workload, priorities and statuses
- Suitable for proven in high-volume, growth environments.
- Multi-language support that large enterprise brands demand.
- Eliminates spam and duplicates generated by robots
- Abl to compare brand sentiment against competitors and the industry segments in real time.
- Indentify top influencers as well as their sector and reach of influence.
- Frequent Words Analysis follows and assesses popular topics and trends that are emerging.
- Advanced security and privacy features
- You can keep it simple by setting up a search across the social media or you dig deeper and use it to manage the online conversation and engage with your clients
- The feature BuzzTracking, can measure your brand’s buzz volume, detect any sentiment changes and also benchmark these stats against your competitors.
- The Frequent Words Analysis feature allows you to easily start tracking topics that emerge in the industry, focusing on relevant words and their show-up frequency
- Support is available to customers’ every step of the way
- The pricing is relatively high. Usually, the package for businesses costs from USD 1500 per month for unlimited user amount and 50 searches.
- Focus on the community, may be too advanced for most start-ups and small businesses
- You really have to be established in the social media realm to reap the full benefits of this tool.
Here are the top three reasons why there is value to using measurement tools:
- It helps to show ROI. Especially with tools like Lithium, where you are looking to the community to work for you in order tobuild loyalty around the brand. Imagine impressed senior management would be if you that your customers are working for you for free!
- It provides organizations insight into their brand. Many of the free tools out there measure strength, sentiment, passion and reach, as well as, frequency and top keywords. You can gain valuable insight into how your campaign is doing and whether you are on the right path to meeting your objectives. For those thinking about whether or not they should engage in social media, the free tools out there can be your starting point to find out some metrics around your brand and present that information at your next meeting. After all, numbers talk.
- Helps to keep you informed about what the competiton is doing. Many of the free tools out there can help you investigate what your competition is doing and what’s being said about them online, both good and bad. You can use this information to propel your own social media efforts, so stay one step ahead of the competition, learn from their examples and not repeat the same mistakes, or see what they are doing correctly when planning your campaign.
As public relations practitioners, we know that certain things cannot be measured. For example how do you put a value on loyal followers who in the event of a crisis will come to your rescue and set the record straight? It’s something that cannot be measured, but is invaluable to a brands longevity. However, since social media is a fairly new and unfamiliar endeavor for most organizations, being able to quantify and justify your efforts can help prove the value of your social media efforts.