January 12, 2011

10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits


Twitter data galore: A screen grab from ReSearch.ly.

 

Trackur, Sprout Social, Thrive & other monitoring tools worth paying for

Target audience: Mid-size nonprofits, cause organizations, agencies, brands, NGOs, Web publishers, individuals. This is part of our series on social media monitoring:
Guide to monitoring social media conversations
20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools
How to create & manage a monitoring dashboard

JD LasicaSearch engines and free monitoring tools can help you find mentions of your brand easily, but if you want to take your social media efforts to the next level, you may want to consider using a social media monitoring vendor.

Download flyer: some new ones here

Once your nonprofit or business reaches a certain size — with, say, hundreds of daily mentions — a paid social media monitoring vendor or service can help you smartly assess the conversations taking place about your brand. In many cases, they offer tools for you to respond and forge deeper levels of engagement. A good paid service will offer not just data but ways for you to draw insight and develop strategy by tapping into actionable intelligence.

Paid subscription services for social media monitoring can save staff time and provide insight into influence, authority, sentiment and reach. But remember: For your social media program to work, you’ll need to designate someone on your staff to own this. The person or team should analyze the results, act on time-sensitive issues and make recommendations about how to integrate the learnings from the community into your operation. (Socialbrite can help you get your program up and running.)

Social media vendors come in all shapes and flavors. Some cater to small organizations with modest budgets that want to handle monitoring internally. Others service large nonprofits and corporations that want a robust suite of tools and access to expert analysts. So we’ve broken this package into two parts:

• 10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits (below)
Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business (on our sister site, Sociamedia.biz), which includes Radian6, Lithium and 18 other vendors that work with nonprofits

Please note that we’ve already covered a number of monitoring services in our roundups Top 10 social media dashboard tools and 14 free tools to measure your social influence — including TweetDeck, CoTweet, Seesmic, Spredfast, MediaFunnel, Bit.ly and others  — so think of this as a package of monitoring resources.

Commercial social media monitoring services

Here is our guide to 10 subscription-based social media monitoring services for nonprofits and organizations, with the most affordable ones listed first. Have your own favorites? Please add them in the comments below.

 

trackur

Trackur: Affordable tracking & engagement

1An online reputation management and social media monitoring tool created by reputation expert Andy Beal and team, Trackur is sort of a Google Alerts on steroids. Trackur provides all the monitoring tools you need. It is brandable, will rate the sway power of your influencers for prioritized responses and will deliver results to your inbox, RSS feed or Web-based dashboard. Quickly monitor your reputation, check on trends and analyze media mentions for your company, brands, sector, cause or clients. Cost: Four plans range from $18 to $377/month and vary depending on number of searches and features used. Free 10-day money-back guarantee. Clients: 27,000+ users. Affordability makes it popular among small businesses. Owner: Independent.

sprout-social

Sprout Social: Track & grow your social footprint

2We’ve heard good things about Chicago-based Sprout Social, which lets you target and discover new customers or supporters, monitor your brand across the social Web, organize your social networks and manage up to five identities with the basic plan. The service offers an easy-to-digest summary of what’s happening online around your social presence. Cost: Pro Plan at $9/month is geared to small, independent businesses, nonprofits and organizations. Business Plan at $49/month is tailored to larger companies. Free trial. Clients: Chiefly small businesses, independent service providers such as attorneys and real estate agents, bloggers. Owner: Independent.

ubervu

uberVU: Affordable for smaller operations

3A social media monitoring tool that combines powerful features (e.g., historical and real-time data, sentiment analysis, platform filtering) and ease of use, uberVU offers a monthly price that should be more attractive to nonprofits and small and mid-size brands. Cost: Four packages:$49.99/month for individuals, $180/month for popular Plus program, $400/month for big companies, contact team for PR agencies. 14-day free trial. Clients: OMD, Edelman, Sharp. Clients generally consist of small businesses and startups, PR & marketing agencies, bloggers. Owner: Independent.

Thrive: Convert fans into donors

4Thrive, from the consultancy Small Act of McLean, Va., is an all-in-one social media tool that lets you listen, publish, report and engage with donors and supporters. Features like contact tagging and sorting, automated keyword searching and automated conversation archiving help you cultivate relationships over time, turning fans into donors. Import your existing email lists and convert them into detailed social profiles so you can jump-start your social media program. Small Act is also launching a service that takes an organization’s donor database to help them build social communities from that data. Cost: Recommended plan for most nonprofits is $1,188/year per user ($99/month per user). Small Act offers a one-month free trial as part of the contract if requested. See the demo, too. Clients: AARP, KaBoom, Global Giving, Ashoka, Office Depot, National Geographic. Owner: Independent. Continue reading

January 11, 2011

20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools

alerts and monitoring tools

 

Take the pulse of the social Web by hitting these rich targets

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, brands, businesses, NGOs, educators, independent publishers, individuals. In this social media monitoring series:
Guide to monitoring social media conversations
10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits
How to build & manage a monitoring dashboard

JD LasicaReady for a listening program? There are a wealth of free monitoring tools to choose from.

10 social media monitoring tools: a downloadable flyer

Free monitoring tools may fill your needs if you work for a small nonprofit or your business has no need for more sophisticated services (coming tomorrow). Just remember: Free monitoring tools aren’t really free — they require an investment of staff time and analysis.

And a word of advice: Don’t begin with the tools. Begin with a strategy — a social media game plan. Think of this as a multi-step process: Listen, learn, engage, act and measure. Listening is only the first step — you need to take action on what you discover. (Socialbrite can help you with an integrated approach to social media.)

Yesterday we covered why monitoring is essential to your organization. Today we’ll look at the wealth of free monitoring tools available to you, divided by functionality.

Here is our Guide to Free Social Media Monitoring Tools. Have your own favorites? Please share in the comments.

Monitor social campaigns

Wildfire: How is your brand performing in social?

1Wildfire, a startup focused on creating interactive promotions on social sites, last month launched Social Media Monitor, a tool that tracks and compares how brands are performing on Facebook and Twitter. Wildfire allows companies, small businesses, marketing agencies, nonprofits and bloggers to create their own branded interactive campaigns — including contests, giveaways, incentive-based surveys and sweepstakes — and to simultaneously publish them in multiple social networks and on their websites. More than 65,000 users have done so. As we understand this, the basic tools are free and Wildfire also sells premium services.

Monitor social networks & blogs

social mention

Social Mention: Widgets & social search

2Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches for keywords on social media platforms — including blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos and microblogging services — and provides metrics around keywords and “sentiment.” It also provides graphic illustrations or charts showing mentions per day or week. Download the free search bar for your browser and monitor anything from your brand to your cause. They also offer APIs and provide coding for your own keyword monitoring widgets.

Alternative:
Collecta lets you enter any search term to receive real-time results for mentions in social media, in blog comments and on news sites.

google-reader

Google Reader: Begin with a dashboard

3Social media monitoring begins with a dashboard. (See our Top 10 social media dashboard tools.) A good choice to begin your monitoring is Google Reader: Subscribe to the RSS feeds of top blogs in your sector, competitors’ sites, news sites, Twitter searches and more, all in one place. You can even subscribe to searches on sites like Flickr and YouTube, so you’ll get an update on any new image or video that matches your brand or cause. If the page you’re on doesn’t seem to have an RSS feed, try Feedyes.com. We also like Feed Informer, which lets you splice multiple feeds together into one and filter for duplicates.

Alternatives: Bloglines, Netvibes.

BlogPulse: Take the pulse of the blogosphere

4BlogPulse from NM Incite is an automated trend discovery system for blogs that analyzes and reports on daily activity in the blogosphere. You can keep on top of key phrases, top blog posts, videos, key people news sources and more. But its real power lies in the options you have to track blog conversations based on topics or keywords. See which blogs, news posts, etc., are fueling the most conversations about your brand online.

Other blog monitoring services that should be in your arsenal:
Technorati
Google Advanced Blog Search
IceRocket

alltop

Alltop: Identify the top blogs in your sector

5Alltop, Guy Kawasaki’s online magazine rack – or, more precisely, topic-based directory — lets you search for influential blogs in a given niche or subject. Add the feeds to your RSS reader and you have a more targeted monitoring process. Continue reading