You can find more than 300 monitoring tools for media monitoring, Social Media and PR on the internet and that is just the start. Why? Because in the monitoring universe every day a new star is born. As a digital media communication specialist, I must have an overview of these service providers. Hence I have decided to take large part of these offers under the microscope from professional point of view.
Monitoring Tools: An Evaluation
Every tool has different characteristics depending on its application. In order to compare them, it may be easier to categorize them. I have identified five main categories in which the respective tools are best suited.
Here I will introduce the bests tools for media monitoring, social media, customer relations and PR management. The first category, as I call it, is“Media Monitoring”. It refers to the tools that perform tasks in the other four fields. By this I can organize tools that are suitable for classic media monitoring and social media monitoring. Moreover, they can also support the Social Media Engagement, Analytics, Content automation and web monitoring:
- Media Monitoring tools
- Social Media Monitoring and Engagement
- Social Media Analytics
- (Classic) Media Monitoring (Incl. print and social Web)
- Content Automation and Web monitoring
The care for Money!
So, there is another important factor which plays crucial role before considering the use of these tools: its price. This is espcially important for small and medium businesses. First of all, of course, the free version of these tools catch hold of our eyes. Alertio, Boardreader, Feedly, Icerocket , Socialmention, Social Searcher, Topsy and Twingly offer excellent coverage of online news, social media channels & networks for online media monitoring and social media monitoring. On top of it, they also possess ability to provide almost close to real results for monitoring. For absolutely no money, this is certainly a good deal.
Monitoring is more than “press any key”
But one thing is clear: neither free nor paid tools provide completely satisfactory results for professional monitoring. Only a clever combination of (paid and free) tools, and some genius leads to the finish/Truth. Hence, the user of the tools must always understand the underlying metrics – how the tool works and what results it delivers, and then users have to interpret the data obtained .
On the other hand, whoever that are interesed for tool also need to know what they are looking and clear: what are the monitoring objectives and questions to be answered? The best results will be optained taking into account: issue and tool functionality / properties. This also means that the tool provides proper appropiate metrics. For a successful monitorng strategy, I recommend the following procedure:
The second view is important
When selecting the tools you should not use “try and error” approach. Many tool vendors provide support for distribution and analytics. We have incorporated this point in our tool selection, it is certainly an important point. Not every tool provider is willing or has the ability to fulfill special requests. While the support of the evaluated tool vendors works as desired, only a few are able to offer appropriate solutions for the individual and specific questions about the implementation of research models. It plays an important role especially in the design and planning of media studies, which are implemented with the tools.
Here, especially the following points are important: manual entry of sources, crawler – performance, cost calculation for additional services, customization of features or integration capabilities (APIs).