There are many times in your marketing efforts where you’re going to want to take a peek into a company or competitor’s social situation.
What are people saying about you online? What conversations are people having about your competitors? Who is talking the most?
These are all important questions to consider, and the answers aren’t all that difficult to find out.
I explored three different free social media measurement tools in my pursuit to find out the social presence of Whistler Blackcomb, the world-renowned ski resort that I’m fortunate enough to call home.
I decided to start my search using Addict-o-matic, an incredibly easy to use tool that I’ve mentioned in a previous post, “Top 10 Free Social Media Marketing Tools You May Not Know About”. Typing “Whistler Blackcomb” fetched a ton of results from a variety of different sources.
As you can see, it brought up lots of great, relevant news and articles from Google News and Blog Search, Bing News, WordPress, and Delicious. It also found media from YouTube and Flickr. The results provided me with a good overview of the various conversations taking place on many different platforms.
Unfortunately, it found nothing from Twitter which is surprising considering @WhistlerBlackcomb has 53.8K followers. One clear drawback of using a free tool like Addict-o-matic is that you may be missing some or a significant amount of information. Since there’s no Twitter data, it only makes me wonder how much other information was missed. Another problem is that there are some irrelevant results that you must filter through and some keywords may produce too much irrelevant information to sort through.
For those reasons, I decided to explore another tool and see if it could do any better.
When I arrived at HowSociable I was eager to see how it compared with Addict-o-matic. To my disappointment, I found it incredibly useless – as a free tool at least. I didn’t sign up for the free or paid accounts so I can’t speak about the other features available. However, for a quick “go-to” look at a company’s social presence, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Above is the snapshot I received after inputting the keywords “Whistler Blackcomb.” At a glance, it’s just a bunch of numbers on a page. Luckily I’m not the only person to stare in confusion at the numbers since they’ve added a little question bubble beside the words Social Media Brand Magnitude. I clicked on that and was taken to an explanatory page that is inevitably just a sales pitch. The explanation for the numbers given is “the level of activity around a brand on a 0 – 10 scale.” They say it’s calculated based on a one week period of activity and what portion of that activity references your brand. Personally, I can look at these numbers all day and not gain a dimes worth of insight from it.
The last tool I used to research Whistler Blackcomb’s social presence was the appropriately named tool, SocialMention. This was my favourite tool by far because it gives you a lot of information in a clear and concise way.
The website is very easy to use and pulls a lot of information to look at that many other tools do not. Like Addict-o-matic, it gives you a stream of conversations and content surrounding your chosen keywords. One thing it does provide that Addict-o-matic didn’t however, are the Twitter results. This is a definite advantage as it demonstrates superiority in the amount of information it collects.
The great thing is that SocialMention gives you more than just news results. It gives you top keywords, top users, top hashtags, top sources, sentiment, strength, passion, and reach. It also gives you very clear definitions of what those words and numbers mean when you hover over them with your mouse.
However, like Addict-o-matic and other tools there’s always the challenge of missing information. Due to Whistler Blackcomb’s large following, I know there are more than 30 retweets. I think the problem here is that all of Whistler Blackcomb’s accounts are conjoined as just “WhistlerBlackcomb.” That might cause a lot of lost results because the keywords wouldn’t match.
In that kind of a situation, paid social media measuring tools might be a better option and a wise investment for some companies.
For many companies though, a quick glance at your or your competitor’s social presence using a free tool will suffice. Based on my research thus far, I’d definitely recommend using SocialMention.
While using the aforementioned tools, it’s important to keep track of the conversations people are having surrounding your brand. To give you an example, I found ten conversations about Whistler Blackcomb from SocialMention and rated them as either positive (+1), neutral (0), or negative (-1):
Based on those conversations, Whistler Blackcomb has very high positive sentiment +8/10. By monitoring these conversations, Whistler Blackcomb can see that photos and videos are obvious strengths – people love to share. Why not give them something to share that aligns with their marketing objectives? Why not reward them for creating content surrounding their brand? Why not provide them a platform to publish their content for all to see? If it weren’t for social media measurement, Whistler Blackcomb would lose many opportunities. Based on these conversations, it is clear that people want to advocate for the mountain and the experiences they have there so it’s crucial for the company to listen and respond.
There is so much you can learn from measuring social media activity, and fortunately so many tools at your disposal.
Do you know of any other social media measuring tools that might be useful for companies? What kinds of ways can or do you use the information gathered from tools like SocialMention and Addict-o-matic? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions so please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom.