Social Media Monitoring

Social Media For Control Freaks

ctrlLoss of control is a major objection faced by most social media advocates. For many senior-level executives, losing control is their biggest fear.  This shouldn't come as a big surprise, as their ability to control people, situations, and outcomes is how they landed the top job in the first place. To give up this sense of control by putting themselves and their company into an unregulated, unfamiliar environment is scary. This fear is further exaggerated as they hear stories of social media blunders  from their peers. Why on earth would they want to risk it?

Engaging with new media is not about throwing yourself into uncharted waters. It is about listening to what is going on, finding out what people think about you and your brand, and pinpointing your biggest fans and haters. For anyone in the c-suite, this actually INCREASES the level of control you have both internally and externally. Becoming engaged allows companies to gather intelligence on people posting comments on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, discussion boards, and other social networking sites. It allows you to monitor not only the discussion, but also the entire online environment for your industry. You can become that elusive fly on the wall, predict when tides are turning, and take appropriate and necessary action immediately, before the sh*t hits the fan. This is not a loss of control or throwing caution to the wind.  It is understanding your industry, followers and market on a deeper, more intimate level. Your ability to control the situation and the outcome actually goes up.

Engaging in social media doesn't necessarily mean that you need to be shouting your product, company or service to the world. But it will let you know when people are shouting at your product, company or service. I recently heard the line "You have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately". I think this applies tenfold when engaging online and conversing with your market.

Some free social media monitoring tools that help keep your ear a little closer to the ground include:

1. Addict-o-matic: Aggregates one search term from a number of different social media sites, video sites and blogs.

2. Google Trends is probably the most popular site to monitor and graph online trends. Trendrr and Trendpedia are also good tools to track and compare search terms.

3. BoardTracker: Monitors discussion boards. Allows you to set up alerts for ongoing searches.

4. Alexa: Allows you to track website traffic (and compare against other sites).

5. Backtype: Monitors comments on blogs and social networks.

6. Twitter Search: I find is the best for searching Twitter. You can also use the search feature on Tweetdeck to keep running tabs on Twitter topics and users.

More free tracking tools are listed on Andy Beal's "8 Essential Free Social Media Monitoring Tools" and Rob Gonda's "Free Social Media Monitoring Tools".

SEOMoz Enters the Social Media Monitoring Fray

With the launch of BlogScape, it looks like respected search engine optimization experts SEOMoz are entering the competitive world of social media monitoring ( was one of my "Blogs That You Should Be Reading But Probably Aren't).

While it isn't exactly a stand alone product, as the cost of paying for it would also include a whole bunch of other SEOMoz products and services, it still looks like an incredibly strong offering in terms of its ability to analyze traffic.

Where I think it lacks is in its reach - from the description, it appears to be only monitoring 10 million RSS feeds from what they term "the fast-moving web." Compare this to Technorati who, according to their last "State of the Blogosphere," tracks 133 million blogs.

The good news is that Blogscape assigns a "Blogrank" to the blogs it tracks. From the description, it sounds like this will act similarly to Technorati's Authority number, and will be an interesting way to evaluate the importance and relevance of a particular blog.

One of the main faces of SEOMoz, Rand Fishkin, chimes in on the comments section of the post saying that he "honestly think this is as good and in some ways better than GG Blogsearch, Technorati, etc. and the graphing is clearly way more advanced."

That's quite a bold statement. However, the tools he is comparing it to are free tools. Unless I'm mistaken, SEOMoz's Blogscape is only available to PRO members of their site, and membership ranges between $79-$229 a month.

I'd still be interested in checking it out. Maybe I'll ask for an SEOMoz PRO member ship for my birthday or something.