Choosing a Social Media Listening Tool

I recently started a new job and part of that job was to find a social media listening tool.
I had done my research good and had a whole list of everything from free tools such as Socialmention, Hootsuite, Twittercounter to medium size tools such as Rowfeeder,  SimplymeasuredInvolver and  Peoplebrowsr to the top tools such as Radian6Sysomos and Meltwater.
I had previously been an inspector from outside, now I was thrown into the hands-on-try-out-every-tool-in-the-world to-find-the-best-one.
What tool to pick is a common subject among community managers and social media managers these days and most people have only tried the free or low cost tools yet. Companies are still hestitant if a 600 eur/month investment is necessary.

I always thought that we are so advanced and have so many options when it comes to monitoring, tracking and engaging through a tool. But I have realized the ugly truth, it´s not so glorious as it seems.
Ladies and gentlemen, I´m here to tell you that there is not a single medium size tool that has convinced me 100%.

If you´re a large organization supported by a well-known brand (think Colgate, Toyota, Motorola, Vodafone) with a lot of existing online chatter and maybe hundreds of employees and you want to give access to various departments to track and engage in conversations, a 600$/month tool such as Radian6 or Meltwater might be what you´re looking for.
What´s the advantages?
The sentiment is more accurate the more you pay. There is a human being behind the desk somewhere to verify that negative really IS negative.
The access, you get various logins for many people (some tools call it SEATS)
The extension of handling the posts, assigning posts, following up e.t.c.
The number of platforms on which you can directly post (posting directly to your wordpress blog for example or accessing Facebook fan pages)
The reporting, whether or not the tool lets you export nice graphs, excel sheets or if it only let's you extract the raw data.

But if you DON´T have lots of people already talking about you, you may still be interested in listening and engaging. Here comes the problem. Most medium size tools only offer you tracking/listening/monitoring and NOT engaging directly inside the tool. It may not be a problem if you like posting from the original outposts or through a tool such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. But for me, I like collecting things into one place.
I managed to find two medium size tools that give me both but neither one of them have convinced me 100%.
PeopleBrowser offer us 3 products, Research.ly, Viral Analytics and Engagement Center, all together for approx 100 eur/month (149$). The price is good, the idea is excellent, the interface is beautiful, the reports are great. BUT the technical part doesn't work great. It takes long to load the pages and I´ve had more error messages in one day than Mac has given me in my iMac the last 2 years. The support team are great and answer fast to emails and questions, but it's a bit annoying to reload the page 15 times for it to work properly.
The reporting works OK but far from perfect. When I want to export the beautiful graphs they dont get exported with the time frames I have indicated and some graphs don't load correctly. I finally ended up doing it manually, making a screenshot and dragging it into a Keynote presentation which I later exported to a PDF.

Next one is Involver. The special thing about them is they offer various apps, contest, sweepstakes, review and poll apps under different categories. So if you sign up for their Pro plan which is in the price span I was looking for, we get access to 2 apps for our Facebook fan page. That´s good.

Now, their Pro version is around 100 eur/month too and the interface works better than People Browser. It's cleaner and works faster, no tech problems.
However I miss simplicity. Maybe this is because I´m pretty stressed and need to figure out the tools fast, but if I need to spend more than 30 minutes looking for where I can track hashtags and retweets I´m either stupid or it´s not clear enough. Either way it has to be created for the stressed people too :-)
The pro version doesn't let me post directly to my Wordpress blog, then I have to upgrade to the Business level and now where talking 700 eur=999$/ month (baahh!!). The business version also gives me more outlets (20 instead of 10), more users and better analytics (the option to export nice graphs for example).

Hootsuite on the other hand is a basic tool, it comes as a free version or paid version and the paid version actually gives me a lot of what I need.

I´m in the middle of this jungle and if someone has any great tip or opinion, feel free to let me know!

1 comentario:

  1. Hi,

    I noticed that you said you had checked out Sysomos, but then didn't seem to mention it again.
    We pride ourselves at Sysomos for always taking customer feedback to heart, so if Sysomos wasn't the right choice for you I'd really love to know why.
    If you'd like, you can email me at sheldonATsysomosDOTcom and we talk a bit further and in-depth.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos