Social Media & Brand Monitoring Part 1: Radian6, Scout Labs, FlipTop

Social Media has, in many ways, taken the place of the generalized web search. Personal comments, posted by happy or disgruntled customers, can have a tremendous impact on the reputation of a brand. It doesn’t take long before a social comment creates a chain of complaints, and if it goes unanswered can damage any business. There is no vacuum in the world, scientists tell us, and if you are not present on social media, your competitors can take advantage of your absence.

With so many social media platforms, and new ones joining all the time, the amount of users and comments on social media platforms has overtaken the amount of search engine queries, and by doing so have turned social media into a prime target for advertisers. Where the clients are, that is where advertisement should be.

With that proliferation, business owners have faced a dilemma; devote many hours of the day to monitoring their brand name and engaging in personal advertising across many sites, or hire additional employees to deal with those issues. But help was not far behind. To make it easier to monitor and to use so many social media sites for reputation and advertising, a few companies have created tools to monitor social media presence and plan a quick response. These are tools that not only tell you who is talking about you, what he/she says, but give you tools to see it in one place and analyze the information.

Radian6

By far the most robust site and the most talked about it Radian6.  Formed in 2006, the site helps companies with social media monitoring that enables business owners listen to what is said about their business online, across a wide network of social site including Twitter and Facebook, through text, tweets, pictures (Flickr), Google Buzz, videos, forums and blog posts. Radian6 gathers all that information and gives the business tools to analyze, manage, track and respond in real time.

Users of the software can choose any number of topics and keywords they want to track and get information within seconds. They can even compare them against each other to see which keyword gets the most uses in the social media circles.

Radian6 is a desktop application built on Adobe AIR. This paid program (about $500 a month) is meant for marketing, communications and customer support professionals. It also allows assigning tasks to different team members, and planning engagement times. Users can customize the tracking grid and break down the information by broad or specific topics, by tagging customer lists or by media types.

Radian6 was originally marketed to ad agencies. When the agency works with many brands, it could offer social media monitoring services for their clients. From there it expended to businesses beyond advertising companies and PR firms. They are probably best suited for medium to large sized brands and businesses.

But by far the best feature of the site is its analytics; after some training, you can slice and dice the data you get any way you want; who is mentioning your brand, on what platform. You can get an “influencer report” – who is mentioning your brand and on what source. The workflow view of the site allows users to follow, assign and report on news in real time. You can even have it sent to you via instant messenger.  

Watch a video presentation:

Radian6 biggest customers include Dell, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Fujitsu and Sony Ericson.

Scout Labs

 

The company was founded in February 2009, after two years of testing and development. Priced at around between $99 and $250 a month, scout Labs will give the user, after an initial set up, charts and graphs for volume of mentions and compare it to the competition you have set up to track. An automated ‘sentiment report’ follows every search, so you know at first glance if the comments are good, bad or neutral. This aspect is manually scored on Radian6 and comes with the highest paid package. On Scout Labs it is presented right there and then. But, it requires you to trust the algorithms which are applied, to understand the nuances of the language.

Scouts lab allows you to quickly scan all the social media sites for specific keywords or terms. Experts say it turns in more results from pictures and video than Radian6, and the ‘sentiment’ scoring makes it quicker to deal with problems. For $99 a month, their basic program is enough to handle a single brand or small business, and monitor 3-4 competitors. For $249, you get the ability to do more searches for competitors and divisions of your business.

You get a better price point with Scout Labs but not as through analytics as you get with Radian6. The latter has internal project management software for quick response that the former has not. Whether you choose Radian6 or Scout Labs depends on the size of your company and the information you want to have. Both are useful and worth the time and money you’ll invest in learning how to work it properly. From there, it will enable you to see a clear picture where your business is, in the big scheme of things.

FlipTop

In its beta stage right now, this promising new Social Media Tool shows some amazing potential, while it offers analytical tools, Fliptop is setup to leverage relationships across the different platforms in such a way that tracking profile and demographic information from those platforms may make target marketing more effective both in, and outside of social media. This tool may not only have the pulse of the social media realm, it may have the pulse of each individual tool providing valuable insight to what is and isn’t working in each type of social media.  

Early Estimates show that it may enter the market at a price point of $99 a month, which should make it very competitive with the existing market. However, don’t expect that price point to last long once they go public, as the suite of tools it seems to have in the beta are likely to get a lot of attention.

I going to stay vague for now, as my beta to this tool was a leap of faith and I want to finishing using it for a little while. I also want to let my contact work with me on  this, but I promise you from what I have seen and heard from the FlipTop rep this is a very promising tool.

This is Part 1 of Social Media Monitoring Tools, Part 2 will be later this week.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Comments

  1. A great tool for someone on a budget id http://sproutsocial.com. Good features, decent reporting and the price is right.

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