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September 2010 - Posts

  • We Review Seven Top Social Media Monitoring Services

    Sep 10 2010

    Although a lot of brands have successfully taken the plunge into the full-feedback ocean of social media engagement, they are often uncertain of how to best monitor themselves within the space.  Seeking help, many turn to vendors who offer “complete social media monitoring solutions” by packaging a number of related services under the label of “social media monitoring.”  Although these package deals can be a great option, they also can be pricey and may include services beyond the extent of the brand’s actual needs.  Prior to signing up for costly and possibly non-essential services, it is necessary to first determine if more than social media monitoring is desired from a social media monitoring service.

    If the goal is just to monitor social media, or see what people are saying about a brand, many free options such as Social Mention exist; if the goal is to monitor and measure social media, or generate metrics over time about a brand, moderately priced services such as Viral Heat exist (for an explanation of the difference between social media monitoring and measurement, read Why You Need to Monitor and Measure Your Brand on Social Media); or, if the goal is to monitor, measure, and engage within a single platform, many higher-priced services such as Nielsen Buzzmetrics exist. 

    Whatever your needs may be, we have reviewed seven of the top social media monitoring services—from the most basic and inexpensive to the most robust and expensive—and broken them down by several factors.

    Nielsen Buzzmetrics

    Benefit: All reporting is done by Nielsen Online
    Features: Quarterly or monthly reports
    Pros: Total hands-off tool
    Cons: Very costly service

    Note: Nielsen Buzzmetrics specializes in engagement, measuring and analyzing consumer-generated media (CGM). They offer a suite of products to measure CGM and online word-of-mouth to help companies understand and track consumer buzz, including opinions, preferences, reputation, image, issues, and up-and-coming trends.

    Pricing is $40,000/year.

    Radian6
    Benefit:  Industry leaders
    Features: Offers the most complete platform to listen, measure and engage
    Pros: Innovative technologies and support team
    Cons: Best suited for medium to large sized brands and businesses

    Note: Customers can track and engage in ongoing conversations taking place on blogs, videos, forums, social networks and mainstream news sites.  Radian6 is currently helping over 10,000 brands track social media sites, including Comcast, MTV, Dell, UPS, GE and Microsoft.

    Price starts at $500/month.

    Sentiment Metrics
    Benefit: Offers various levels of monitoring services
    Features: Comprehensive analysis providing sentiment, influencer and demographic information which enables targeted marketing activities
    Pros: Produces easy-to-understand graphs with a top-line analysis of message delivery and lead topics
    Cons: Relatively new company located in Australia

    Note: Powerful engagement and workflow features, allows clients to respond to questions and comments on the social web directly from the system.  
     
    Pricing is based on the number of concurrent search terms and users.

    Social Mention
    Benefit: Allows for basic tracking and measurement of any term in social media in real-time
    Features: Daily email activity report, basic analysis, and ability to generate excel report from data
    Pros: Free
    Cons: It is only a report so engagement will have to be done manually and non-relevant items may be included in the results

    Note: Like Google Alerts, but for social media.  It is a good top line tool for tracking key terms in social media.

    Pricing is free.

    Viral Heat
    Benefit: Cost for features
    Features: Moderate monitoring, measurement, sentiment features; can set up “profiles” to contain many advanced search terms; can identify key influencers by volume and impact
    Pros: Good combination of low cost and moderate monitoring/measurement/sentiment features
    Cons: All hands-on so set-up, tracking, measurement, and results will need to be done manually

    Note: Viral Heat is currently considered one of the best entry-level, paid social media monitoring tools for people that want moderate analysis and features and don’t want to pay top dollar.

    Pricing is tiered 3 ways and ranges from basic, at $9.99 a month, to business, at $89.99 a month.

    Scout Labs
    Benefit: Advanced features and team collaboration
    Features: Advanced monitoring, measurement, sentiment, reporting, and team collaboration
    Pros: Manipulation of great amounts of data; team collaboration allows for workflow assigning and tracking
    Cons: Difficult to use for those not familiar with social media monitoring tools; not the best solution for one person monitoring

    Note: Scout Labs is a great social media monitoring tool for teams that need advanced features, workflow capabilities, and easy reporting.

    Pricing is tiered and begins at $249 a month.

    HootSuite
    Benefit: Allows for  engagement and monitoring directly within one platform
    Features: Fully customizable; ability for workflow; ability to post to multiple sites
    Pros: Amount of engagement and monitoring features
    Cons: Interface is cumbersome due to engagement and monitoring features being fitted within one window; not a good solution for those just wishing to track social media

    Note: Although Hootsuite has a lot of different features, they are limited in ability, crammed and often difficult to navigate. This is more geared to people looking to manage a social identity as opposed to a brand.

    Pricing is tiered and ranges from free to $99.99 a month.

  • Max Out Your Dream Internship

    Sep 08 2010



    After finishing my undergrad at McGill University in Montreal, I moved back to my folk’s place in LA. The recession continued to pile on economic misery and the job front looked grim. Months later, I got word that The Phelps Group was looking for interns. Paid interns. I wanted in, but knew the competition was tough. When I eventually got the call with the good news, I tingled with both excitement and fear.

    Beyond the agency’s sweet location (just blocks away from Santa Monica’s 3rd Street and the beach), the actual work environment was unreal - canine friendly, free lunches twice a week, snack time, and brainstorming sessions at the bluffs overlooking the Pacific. The only thing missing was a ping-pong table.

    As an intern, of course I answered phones, set up snacks and dug into Excel. But I also got to tweet for Tahiti Tourism, participate in photo shoots, do PR pitches and brainstorm with big shots like Howie Cohen (aka “MadMensch”), legendary copywriter who coined Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”  

    One thing I learned is that no matter what you’re assigned, put a smile on and do a great job. If you want to transition from intern to employee, you’ve got to enhance the workplace culture. And when you run out of work, ask for more. You never know what fun project may fall in your lap.

    Ironically, it was The Phelps Group, this place I loved, that inspired me to pursue a copywriting program in Toronto. While I was given an opportunity to stay, I knew (after observing the creative team) I needed to get my copywriting chops. Trust me, it was hard to leave. But I realized that you don’t just work somewhere - you live there. So why not make the most of it?

    Word of advice: If you apply for an internship at The Phelps Group, don’t forget to triple-check your resume and cover letter. The internship leader’s got an eye like a hawk.

    Shiran Teitelbaum | Guest Contributor
     
    Editor's note: Not only was Shiran a finalist in the renowned Student Advertising & Design Club of Canada (ADCC) competition, her work will be featured in the ADCC award annual. And, at the culmination of her copywriting program in Toronto, she and her art director partner earned themselves prestigious positions at Leo Burnett's Leo Arc in Toronto. In her spare time, Shiran started citybandit.com, an online guide to fashionable steals and deals in Toronto and Montreal. Let’s just say we know how to pick ‘em!

  • Why Are You Following Us?

    Sep 07 2010

     

    Social media is all the rage in the marketing world, but what do consumers really want out of “liking” or “following” your brand?

    While it’s true that most consumers expect to receive some sort of special offer, many—including the most active users—also want a high level of interaction.

    Two recent studies indicate that sales and specials continue to be the prime motivator for those who follow or like a brand online. But what’s recently come to light is that the importance of savings is followed closely by a desire to learn about new products, features or services.

    On average, social media power users (those with at least 500 social connections) were less interested in getting deals. Instead, they cared about new products and company culture.

    Whether on Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, providing the deeper engagement expected by these types of users will help you truly connect with your brand advocates—leading the way for success.

    For more information, read eMarketer’s What Social Followers Want (PDF).

    Lauren Kahner | Team Leader