Yes, you may already be aware that a lot of conversations are going on every second of the day. People are talking about a brand, complaining about a service, voicing out their opinions about their encounter with a staff or about the state of the country, referring their friends to buy a product that they love… and so on. You may also know that there are social media monitoring technologies that can help you capture all of these social data onto a dashboard, and life-stream all tweets, and comments and stories to you in real-time.
What I am about to disclose to you is something I have had a personal experience with, and believe me when I tell you that after reviewing and working with quite a number of social listening tools, I have selected 6 tools that are awesome based on these five essential characteristics, all of which I am going to share with you. If at the end of the day, the tool you are using does not have any of these characteristics, then you probably need to make a switch.
Simple to use:
When a social listening technology is introduced to you, you barely have an idea how it works which is the reason why every social media monitoring tool will have its training sessions and an account manager to help you understand the tool along the way. This is good. Every social listening technology should have a simple dashboard that is easy to navigate. The charts and graphs should be designed in a way that gives you the information…straight and direct. You don’t have to click your way 5 times before you see what you are looking for. The terminologies should be simple to remember and the tabs – distinct from one another. For example, when a tool has the “Feeds” tab and “Streams” tab on the same platform. Very confusing…
Flexible in terms of language /word recognition (Artificial Intelligence):
I have seen some social media monitoring technologies built in a way they can’t recognize context, sarcasm, humour, or other languages. This is a major problem for so many tools…especially for tools that validate sentiment automatically. They have been built to categorize mentions strictly in the positive, neutral or negative sentiment for example; When the words ‘Good’, ‘Love’ or ‘Perfect’ are used in sentences, it means they are positive. When the opposite of such words is used in sentences, it means they are negative. Sentences that give off a neutral tone like “Immediately I got back from work, I went straight to bed” is neutral because it does not that does not indicate positive or negative. So, what happens to contextual words? Or words in other languages? How do you categorize them? For example; if I say “He is a great guy…only when the moon is blue” this is a negative mention but I bet some tools will validate it as positive because of the word “great”. The common solution I have seen some tools provide is to allow manual sentiment validation. So, as a user, you painstakingly go through one mention after the other, ticking which one is Pos+ , Neg- or Neu= which consumes a lot of time… Another solution is to create another category called ‘ambivalent’ which includes mentions that are positive but have got a negative tone.
Have an interactive dashboard:
Everything on your dashboard should tell a full story about an activity. This comes in handy when you are trying to understand the nitty-gritty of an occurrence. In other words, you should be able to click through any graph, mention, image, link, or name to get a deeper sense of what they show you.
Every bit of the social data is measurable and accurate:
Everything must be measurable. I mean, that is why a social media monitoring technology is created in the first place. Accuracy is key. Assuming you just had a hashtag campaign on Twitter and Instagram for 3 weeks and you get a total of 2,000 mentions but your client is telling you that they trended for 3 consecutive days and they think your number is wrong. Know that this isn’t your fault. The tool might be having a bad day or might not just be that smart to capture all of your conversations. So, it could be that your client could secretly check on another tool (trust me, this is so possible) and they say they have got 5,000 mentions! So, it’s very important you get a listening tool that shows accuracy… even if they cannot collate exactly 5,000 mentions, near-accuracy still helps.
Provide excellent Insights:
An insight is what makes your social listening effort worthwhile. The capabilities of the tool you are using will determine how much consumer insights you discover. Some tools can go to the extent of showing you the interest domains of competitors, and their top publishers. Wow!
Now, based on these characteristics, here are my 5 awesome social media monitoring tools that I suggest you check out. In no particular order, they are:
Tracx provides deep insights into customer, competitor and influencer behaviors, highlighting essential marketing intelligence and business opportunities in real time. Website: http://www.tracx.com
NetBase provides social intelligence solutions that enable brands to publish, monitor, analyze and engage with customers in real time. Link: http://www.netbase.com
Synthesio was named the leader in The Forrester Wave™. The platform provides Social Listening, analytics and Social ROI in one simple tool. Social Intelligence and Business Results. Link: http://www.synthesio.com
Crimson Hexagon delivers social media monitoring analysis services about brands or issues. Link: http://crimsonhexagon.com
Brandwatch is a social media monitoring system that summarizes content on the web. The platform gathers millions of online conversations every day and provides users with the tools to analyze them, empowering the world’s most admired brands and agencies to make insightful, data-driven business decisions. Link: http://www.brandwatch.com
Talkwalker is a social media analytics and listening platform that allows you to monitor, benchmark, and optimize your social media performance. Talkwalker’s artificial intelligence platform analyzes online conversations on social networks, news websites, blogs, forums and more, recognizing sentiment in 25 languages. The tool was named as the BEST in Innovation at the Social Tools Summit.
By Aanuoluwapo Omotosho