In my initial social media monitoring tools comparison piece, I had noted that SM2 by Alterian did not receive a full review as I had never completed a demo of the tool. Upon publishing, the team at SM2 (or SDL|SM2) reached out to me with their sincerest apologies for what I assumed to be a snafu in the contact form submission process. Having a few of my peers ask if I had any experience with Alterian, I was excited to finally check out the product in action for the ongoing social tool review series.

Also, it was quite comforting to know that some of companies I reviewed use their tools for their own brand monitoring. As for the companies who failed to follow up on my comparison post (I’m not saying any names), perhaps they need to update their mention filters!

Alterian’s SM2 Offers Complex Sentiment Analysis (Finally!)

Alterian SM2 brand & social media monitoring tool

The standout feature of SM2 by Alterian is—hands-down—the in-depth sentiment analysis. What really grinds my gears about the different brand monitoring tools I have reviewed in the past is that NONE can seem to explain HOW they identify mention sentiments. Granted, different tools allow for new “rules” to be set for sentiment assignment. However, SM2 shows exactly which phrases within a mention have warranted a positive, negative or neutral sentiment assignment.  Furthermore, custom alerts allow users to monitor sentiment trends in case negative mentions spike. During reputation and crisis management, this feature is instrumental to proactively addressing waves of negative mentions as they arise (see also: Chick-fil-A).

If you think that’s neat, it gets better. Alterian’s SM2 also identifies the emotion behind a mention. SM2 has to be the first tool I’ve seen that matches humanistic traits to mentions as opposed to simply writing them off as another piece of data. For marketers, I think it is key to not only acknowledge mentions but also to understand the motivations behind them (joy, rage, etc.). The grandfather of spin, Edward Bernays, would be proud!

Among an array of features that I quite enjoyed, SM2 offers a storyboard option that allows users to lay out the Who, What, Where, When and Why associated with mentions in real-time. In terms of influencer identification, the tool has a popularity ranking to identify how influential an author is on any given social network. Lastly, as someone who deeply loathes Boolean queries, I found the simplified query builder made for a seamless setup. Okay, SM2. You’ve redeemed yourself.

SM2 by Alterian: Not Quite Perfect, But I Still Like It

SDL|SM2 by Alterian social media monitoringOnce I sat through a demo of SM2, I found that there were very few negative things to be said about the brand monitoring tool. For the most part, SM2 lacks a few added features that—while desired—aren’t necessary in a tool. This includes Klout, mozRank and Google Analytics integration. No biggie. Also, unlike Radian6, SM2 by Alterian does not sync with a CRM such as Salesforce. From the demo, these are the few faults that I could find with SM2.

SM2 Pricing & Audience: Who Should Use it & for How Much?

Alterian’s SM2 pricing is setup in a fashion that is favorable for both industries and brands—something that makes me a content social media marketer. According to Warren Sukernek, VP of SDL|SM2, the company just launched entry level pricing that starts at $300/month for 10,000 mentions and $500/month for 20,000 mentions.

The higher-tiered pricing costs $1,500 for 60,000 mentions and 2 full access users, $2,500 for 100,000 mentions and 4 users and $4,000 for 250,000 monthly mentions and 6 users. Another perk is that read-only users can be added at no additional charge (see also: clients). With a great variety of pricing options, SM2 can be tailored to agencies, brands and small businesses alike. Jiawen Shi, a sales associate at SDL|SM2, was very helpful in setting me up with a demo and providing pricing options for the brand monitoring tool. You can email Jiawen or give her a call at 1 (206) 548-2203 if interested in learning more.