With the social media revolution having pretty much taking over the way brands are now having to reach their audiences it has become a necessity for any business/brand to be able to track and measure their online presence.
There are a number of tools out there that are able to find all the information about your brand online, relevant or not. So which one on these tools should you use? Well that is a decision that is ultimately down to your social media manager’s preferences. Most offer basic alerts when your brand is mentioned and provide snazzy graphs and pie charts that help you understand who is talking about you, what they’re saying and most help you reply within a real time setting. So let’s just have a look at a few of these tools.
First up… Google Alerts (free service provided by Google)
Google Alerts as perhaps one of the early tools to track your mentions online. However it is limited to Google searches. Therefore you were able to set up an alert for specific key words/phrases and once they were searched for on Google you would receive an email whether as it happened or at a frequency determined by you. Before social media platforms really took off perhaps this tool was very effective but I believe with the rapid development of the communication tools online, Google Alerts will perhaps only be useful for those businesses that still operate in a more traditional work space and just need as basic as possible information on their web presence.
2. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is reminiscent of Hoot Suite. It offers tracking across your various social media platforms and offers multiple user interface, which would be extremely helpful within larger companies. As with Hoot Suite it is also a paid service, however they do offer 30 day free trials on all their pricing levels.
Sprout Social therefore allows you to see what the online population is saying about your brand across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc and all in a real time space. It provides reports and analytic information so you can see who is saying what and where. It also provides the option to engage with the public as well as to share information across various platforms within its interface.
The packages offered are designed for small, medium to large corporate companies. The prices are also reflective of the budgets which would perhaps be available for social media management at a company at those various levels.
Mention is branded as ‘Your Media Monitoring Application’ and that’s pretty much what it does. It scans social media networks and finds your company mentions. However it seems to be most focused on Twitter and Facebook as these are the two platforms they allow you to engage on (via share, reply and retweet options) … With Mentions you can set up alerts that you can have emailed to you or a member of your team or you can download their mobile apps and receive push notifications.
This plan comes with three pricing options, free which offers limited statistics as well as a pro plan and a team plan. I think Mention is perhaps geared at smaller companies with smaller social media network coverage though.
4. Social Mention
Social Mention is very similar to Google Alerts. Its dashboard can be accessed on its homepage and appears as a search bar. However its search is not limited to Google searches but across all media platforms. When I used it however the information I was provided with was very limited and not very exhaustive. However it could be useful for quick feedback. It also allows you to set up options to have emails delivered to you which is also similar to the options offered by Google Alerts as well as gives you the option to add a social mention widget to your website so people can view real time mentions of your brand while they are perusing your website (this might not always be a good thing though). However once more I think this will be very inadequate for a large company that will wish to get more in depth information as well need the ability perhaps to be able to engage with the persons who are making mention of their brand.
5. This Moment
Listen to Social Media Conversation in Real Times.
This Moment is perhaps the most in depth tool that I have come across in the pool of tools we have been exposed to. It also helps that they have the most accessible website with break downs of exactly what it does and how it is beneficial to the users.
They break down the applications usage by function, Listen, Discover, Engage, Actionable Engagement. As with all the above tools This Moment allows you to track all mentions of your brand online on varying platforms and web presences. Then it funnels all the information into useful packets of data that allow you to discover who is talking about your brand, the sentiments, what platforms are your brands being mentioned on the most and you can easily identify if there are any influencers talking about your product, where your brand is successfully or unsuccessfully penetrating online.
They also allow for you to engage with the public on various media platforms as well as to promote and inform your customers all from their interface dashboard. It is very similar to Hoot Suite but appears to be a more user friendly format.
A one page pdf infographic is available for viewing at: http://brandmonitor.thismoment.com/downloads/brochure/thismoment-Brand-Monitor-Brochure-Jan-2012.pdf
In order to get enterprising you need to send them an email which makes me think it is either very pricey or like the analytic options they offer customizable to suit your business. However This Moment seems to be the way to go especially if you are a bigger company as they also help to sift through the thousands to hundreds of thousands of mentions that your brand might receive and help identify the mentions that require action by your company from customer service stand point. They also help customers engage in other ways by managing feedback platforms all which are becoming more and more popular as part of online company offerings. It appears that This Moment is perhaps the most developed tool for the effective management and would be very effective for businesses that rely a great deal on their online presence and interactions for success.
Reputation management in an increasingly digital world will only get harder. With so many sites whose privacy controls leaves much to the imagination, photos from that wild night out with your school mates are probably going to end up on the monitors of many, including those who you would rather not see… and that’s not just your mum I’m talking about!
So why is it as a student you need to be ever more so vigilant about your digital footprint? Basically it’s because I don’t think it is your intention to be a student forever. Therefore at some point it would be nice for someone to give you a job so you can become an adult and start contributing to society, well I hope that’s what everyone’s goal is.
The guy who thinks his potential employee is ignorant of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms is a fool and should be prodded with sticks. Many employers these days are so digitally focused that they will probably read a few of your tweets before they read your resume, so you better make sure you’re saying something more than how sloshed you got over the weekend.
Image is everything, contrary to Sprite’s tag line of past. Employers want to know that they are welcoming responsible people into their companies and not loose cannons who are likely to embarrass themselves and by extension their brand when put out in the real world. They want to see a certain level of professionalism exhibited in the way we interact with the world through our digital portals.
Having said this, creating a tumblr or twitter retweeting every tweet spewed out by Mashable or Buzzfeed does not make such a fantastic impression either. Think about it? If your employers are on Twitter and take an interest in their industry as we assume they would, chances are they are already following these guys. They don’t need to see the same article reposted to death on their timelines. Therefore it is also important that you infuse a bit of personality into your web presences. Employers still want to know who you are, what are your interests. When work has finished for the day, what are you doing? Are you into books, movies, music or a part time serial killer? Let’s hope there aren’t any Dexters out there *fingers crossed*
So be ever mindful of what you’re putting out there… The internet is not human, it does not forget. So before you upload those candid Rihanna-esque shots you and your friends took in the bathroom, stop and think… do I really want my potential boss seeing me in just my undies and a smile?
Does it really matter what anyone’s influence is on social media? The brains behind Kred, Peer Index and Klout seem to think it does.
Each of these sites, claim to calculate your social influence through the use of fancy algorithms that churn out numbers that show to those who are interested in such stats that ‘Hey! If you get THIS person on board with your product, they’ll get their friends to buy your stuff.’
But really? WIll it?
Peer Index and Klout a very similar in their rating scale, both give you a single number that shows you how influential you are within your social network circles. On Klout, my score is 60 however on Peer Index my score is 41. Forgive me for being confused, but what does this mean? Am I influential or not, which website is most accurate, who knows? I’m still struggling to figure out the metrics behind it all.
I would list my Kred number here but unfortunately I have been unable to log back in since I initially set up my account, however Kred provides you with two numbers, your influence and your outreach. After watching a video on this, I’m still not 100% sure what exactly what the differences are there between the two except that one is a really big number and the other is much smaller.
Looking at my Peer Index it also lists who I am influencing and who is influencing me… it’s perhaps nice to see but then again this serves little or no purpose to me. I already know who I interact with most on my various social media outlets.
I think at this point I can safely say ‘Yes, they do measure social influence however the values differ so much that when you throw them all into a pile together it’s pretty much moot. Therefore if one is going to actually take social influence into consideration, I would advise you pick one platform and stick to it for making comparisons between various persons.
My Klout score currently stands at 60, within the past 30 days I managed to move up some 21 points, congrats to me *pats self on back*… so what does this mean? It means I tweeted a lot of stuff and ever so often persons thought it was interesting. Is there a science to it, of course there is. If one really wanted to increase one’s Klout score, it’s simply a matter of looking at what the hot topics of discussion are on one’s twitter TL or facebook TL for that matter and voicing an opinion. Replying to many people in a way that initiates conversation and increased replies back and saying the right thing about the right topic is sure to get you retweeted and should help you drive up your Klout score. Is this gaming? It sure is, who can get the most RTs in a day, with sufficient free time and enough followers, I’m sure one can create enough of a social engagement frenzy to amp up your scores. But does this mean you’re actually influential? Well yes, at the end of the day I suppose it does.
However from a business standpoint it is something that has to be viewed with caution. You may find someone that is very influential in a specific field and after monitoring their activities for a while, they might be someone worth sending a free trial of your product to, however many people are fickle in their interests, so there is always the chance that on Monday their interactions would appear in line with your company’s business objectives but by Thursday they may be off tangent, however they are still engaging with their peers so their Influence scores still remain high.
The science behind social influence is still new. Therefore I am very hesitant to give it the green light for using it to make business decisions, yes it can be a factor but a lot of time will need to be spent monitoring the individuals you wish to use their influence people towards your brand. And of course the level of risk will vary from industry to industry.
However it is something I will definitely be keeping an eye on, I can already envision the day when on a job application you will be asked to list your Klout score. Therefore it will be worthwhile to keep abreast of this new online ‘popularity contests’ as they are likened to be. I imagine in time once the understanding of how they work increases and maybe figuring out the way they relate to each, they will become even more credible and useful for marketers, businesses and employers globally to actual be able to detect who is actually going to be helpful for your brand.
Pins Pins and more Pins…
Welcome to the world of Pinterest. Add a board and pin things to it, simple enough and it actually sounds like a fun time.
Visuals everywhere on all subject matters you can think about. Pin Pin Pin away!
But can you actually use it for the promotion and building of your business?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, therefore in about 10 pins, you’ve written a decent dissertation on your brand.
If you are in the business of selling products, what better way to display the ‘amazingness’ of your work? Pictures of items in various colorways, pictures showing ways to incorporate a product in every day settings, what a great way to make your product a must have! Boards and boards filled with pins showing your potential customer just how much they need your products in their life.
The beauty of Pinterest lies within its simplicity. You see something you that catches your eye and you can comment, like or repin it to your own board. It has also become popular enough that the ‘Pin It’ button features on most websites and the beauty of it is that a Pin that comes from a website, once clicked takes you back to the originating site.
Pinterest has also been found to be most popular with the ladies. And the ladies love to shop! Especially when they’ve encountered a fabulous picture of that amazing pair of shoes, chances are the next step will be to pull out the credit card. Therefore the savvy seller of shoes should make an effort to create imagery worth drooling over which of course will be linked right back to their retail web page where an actual purchase can take place.
However it is not restricted to the product offering sector as many businesses that offer services are able to utilize Pinterest as a way of developing their brand’s identity. By sharing different elements that fit into their overall brand philosophy it helps to give customer insight into what you are and what you stand for.Ultimately you can build bonds between your company and potential and current customers making persons feel more inclined to choosing you for their next job or using you again in the future.
Pinterest can showcase your work practices, employees, your working environment and these things are beginning to be of greater importance to the increasingly educated buying public. No one wants to buy from or work with ‘the cold mean guys’, people like to know that the people behind the brand are people they would actually sit down and have a conversation with over a cup of coffee and that the company’s business practices line up with their own values.
Pinterest once used correctly, can go a long way to helping you develop the human side of your company and that is always GOOD business.