Been told you can’t evaluate social media? Here are 20 (free) ways you can

Like almost every other agency out there in this space, at Rabbit, we use a professional monitoring and sentiment analysis system.   Rather than the market leader Radian6, we tested a few and went for ScoutLabs…though I am thinking of giving Sysomos a go…

Having said that, the thing about the paid for tools is…they get the job done, but from what we’ve found they are never 100% perfect.   Plus sometimes you just want a quick overview rather than an in-depth look via a dashboard.  So we tend to use them in combination with other services, which to a large part happen to be free.

There are dozens of these free web-based tools around – here’s the 20 we’ve found work for us Rabbit.

They all measure slightly different things (though they over-lap), they are generally good for taking snap-shots (as opposed to detailed analysis), and with the ton of Twitter applications and plug-ins out there, there is a bias towards measuring Twitter.

It is however another answer to the statement that’s often bandied about of ‘it’s not possible to measure social media.’   It sure is.   The problem instead is one of consistency.   Ask ten practitioners to measure your brand and they will all come back with results…with ten different ways of having got there.

Anyway, here they are – we’ve tied them together on extendr, which allows you to group together a series of websites into a tour.
1 – Trendrr: Search and compare Twitter trends ).   It’s actually a paid for tool (at an eye watering $999 a month for 1000 trends), but you can do a limited search for free.

2 – TweetReach: Put in a brand, hash tag or general search phrase and it will tell you how many actual human beings were reached on Twitter.  Free for the first 50 tweets on any search, a full report will set you back US $20.

3 – Twitter Analyzer: Will give you the reach of a Twitter account on a certain day, as well as over time.   Good if you want to track a Twitter ID vs news announcements or major events

4 – Twitalyzer: Gives you various influence scores for a Twitter account.   Some seem a little convoluted, but the charts it throws up are useful

5 – Twitter Grader: Gives you a Twitter score based on various different criteria, such as followers and followers / following ratio.  Used to be popular a year or so ago, still worth looking at sometimes if you want to compare two IDs

6 – Mention Map:  A personal favourite.   Put in any Twitter ID and see who their best friends on Twitter are.   A good way at finding out who influences the influencers

7 – Klout: Gives you an influence score and also plots Twitter users on a graph against their friends.  Like other tools that churn out a composite score, it’s imperfect, but nonetheless a good snap-shot

8 – Amplicate: Doesn’t really work for minor brands, but takes positive and negative reviews and shows what % say you ‘rock’ and what % say you ‘suck.’   Useful if you are sometimes trying to make a point

9 – PostRank: Measures blog posts based on ‘engagement.’  Never mind how many people saw an article on a blog, did they actually do anything with it in terms of commenting, linking, saving etc

10 – SocialMention: Nice, free, sentiment analysis tool that also churns out scores for brands for ‘search’, ‘sentiment’ (positive to negative), ‘passion’ and ‘reach’

11 – Twingly: Actually a directory and search engine for blogs.   A Swedish company, it has a European bias, and gives blogs a 1-10 influence rating.  As the score involves measuring language blogs against each other (e.g French blogs against French blogs), it’s useful when doing research in non English speaking markets.

12 – Omgili: Compare online buzz of up to five brands.   Basic, but gives you a nice graph at the end, useful for presentations

13 - Quarkbase:  Put in a website URL and it will give you various stats about it

14 – Trendpedia: See how a brand or search term trends in blogs

15 – Statbrain – If you want a really quick estimate about the no of visits a site attracts use this.  Warning though, I’ve found it over estimates traffic

16 – Compete: A paid for site analytics service, but register to get some of the features for free.   My personal favourite when checking out site traffic, it also allows you to compare sites against each other

17 - Alexa:  Another large site metrics system.   Good in terms of showing you where (country) traffic comes from as well as search metrics

18 – Ubervu:  Yet another paid service that allows certain free searches.   Compare two brands against each other to get a share of voice graph

19 - Techrigy / SM2 - This is a professional monitoring service, which is a competitor to the likes of Radian 6 and Scoutlabs.   However, you can set up a free account that gives you five free searches with limited functionality – good enough though if doing some standard research.

20 – Google Insights – Gives you search trends, as well as a prediction of how people will be searching for a brand or search term in the future.   Our friend Ben Kunz at Media Associates in the US, has written quite a bit about Google Insights, which he calls ‘Google Trends on steroids’ – worth checking out.

Any others that should definitely be on a top 20 list?  Let us know!

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  1. This is a useful list. No matter what tool or combination of tools an organization decides to use, it is important they mesh with the company culture and measurable objectives.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at Radian6

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