The Best Paid Tools for Online Brand Monitoring
This is the final article in our series about social media monitoring. So far I have explained the reasons and benefits of monitoring your brand and products online. I also gave you the description of ‘Top 5 Free Tools to Monitor Your Brand Online’ which can be used if you don’t have the budget for this kind of activity. Today I will talk you through the paid options of getting information about your brand and customers online. I will also explain why it is almost essential to use one of featured tools (or others of your choice) to make the most of your brand’s online presence.
Why should I pay for something I can get for free?
This is the most popular question when I am discussing online brand monitoring with LSPR students or my customers, and I understand why.
As I have shown you in last two months, it is possible to monitor your brand without spending a penny. And you can rely on these tools alone, but I think it’s worth it (if you can afford it) to make some allowance in your budget to access more powerful and reliable tools.
Paid tools give you more features and insights into your brand’s online image than you can imagine. According to Mike Sadowski, the co-founder of Brand24 and author of a book on social media revolution, there are 6 key features which should be considered when choosing right tool for online brand monitoring. Yet some of these features are only available in paid applications. They are:
- Real time updates: before the social media era, the time of response to any mention could be counted in hours. Now it is a matter of minutes. In fact, the faster, the better. News which goes viral spreads too fast to reply after a couple of hours. That’s why real time updates via email or a mobile app are so important if you want to be serious about monitoring your brand. Sometimes a quick answer to your client’s problem is enough to solve a potential crisis situation.
- Reach. We have to be clear here: there is no tool which is able to monitor the entire internet. If some are promoting they can, it’s just marketing talk and it probably doesn’t go much further beyond the most popular social networks and blogs. The truth is that you need to pay attention to sources’ lists of certain tools they use and make the decision of whether or not it is relevant to your business.
- Sources of mentions – a good monitoring application, as well as searching for the usage of set keywords, should also analyse where mentions of a brand are coming from. It should also measure how the popularity of the source and how big an influence it has. Also, it is good to remember that certain tools are designed to work with particular languages. It means you need to pay attention to which market the app is customised for.
- Sentiment analysis – imagine now that your brand is fairly well known and is mentioned online quite regularly. If you got a notification every single time someone wrote about you, you would probably need an extra team to deal with this exclusively. But what if a program would only notify you when the mention which could potentially harm your reputation or indicates some sort of crisis situation? This is where sentiment assessment comes in handy. These tools will automatically decide if a mention is positive or negative for your company. And even though the algorithms used in apps are far from perfect, they are enough to help deal with a large volume of information.
- Reports and data export – the ability to analyse data outside of the application and change it into a more digestive form, like graphs and reports. It also provides useful data and information to other departments – marketing, sales or customers service.
- Archives – you definitely want to have access to archives of your mentions and social media activity. Although you need to remember that in the beginning it will be restricted to just a few mentions and activity logs from the past couple of days. If someone is promising you your full archive of your entire history of social media presence – it’s just a marketing slogan. Aside from the amount of data which would have to be analysed, there are technical issues which make this impossible (for example, Facebook does not allow automatic access to updates older than the last couple of days).
There are a lot of monitoring tools which should fulfil your expectations and help you to monitor and manage your social media and online reputation. I will briefly describe those I’ve used in the past or I am still using in my work at LSPR.
I had the chance to briefly use this program quite a long time ago. It was great already and has definitely improved since then. It allowed me to control and assign all of my social media activity as well as monitor online mentions. The dashboard gave me an overview of all my data and stats. On the other hand, it is quite a complex program and could be too much for small teams to handle. Not to mention the price which could be out of the budget for small businesses. Although complex and quite expensive, Radian6 is a part of the Salesforce marketing cloud which can be great for companies who have larger needs and budget.
Is a new player on the social monitoring market. This Polish company has been successfully analysing influencers and tracking social media mentions for such brands as Ikea, Intel and Panasonic. They provide a great simple to use, and precise tool to monitor your brand online on various forums, social networks and blogs. Their success in Poland has been followed by the opening of a branch in Indonesia where they quickly generated a lot of buzz about their service by providing insightful infographics and data for different industries: Indonesia in the Sky, Jakarta is the Social Media Capital of the World.
As well as a clean and easy-to-use interface they have probably one of the best customer service teams I have ever come across. If I had any questions about the app’s functionality or any other issue I could simply tweet the company official profile and get a reply within minutes.
If Brand24 sounds like something you would like to try, they are about to launch a version for US market in next couple of weeks, but you can sign up for the trial here.
Web app that monitors Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Gowalla, and other networks where consumers are engaging with businesses and brands. It also offers contact management, competitive insight, lead generation, and analytics. I found it more suitable for content management then online monitoring but it gave me some useful insights.
I mentioned this tool while describing free monitoring software and it wasn’t by mistake. Opposed to the rest of the tools I have listed above, Hootsuite allows you to use its service for free, without a time limit. You can use it to manage and monitor up to five social profiles without any charge and still enjoy most of the features which you would normally have to pay for.
I found it very useful to track the recent super bowl game. By creating a tab with monitored hashtags and key words, I could narrow down the buzz generated by brands and customers during the game, to get the information I wanted.
Of course these four tools are just a few among dozens available. You can find an even bigger list of them on our website, and it is good to take the opportunity of using a trial to get familiar with these program’s features and pick the best for your use.
Hope this series helped you to understand the importance of monitoring your brand online and you will soon see its effect. If you had any questions considering this issue let me know through Twitteror drop a message on LSPR fanpage.