Other Social Media Monitoring Software Features To Consider
Of course, you wouldn’t be purchasing a social media monitoring tool only based on one factor. If we only cared about Boolean search operators, we could use the free and easy Google Alerts. Google Alerts is free, allows fairly complex Boolean queries with a number of operators, saves your queries and allows you to edit them and emails the alerts to you. But there’s no analysis, no reporting, and no way to download results into a spreadsheet.
What do You Need the Tool For?
Take the time to consider why you need this tool, who will be using the tool and how you plan to use it. Will it be used for one brand, or are you an agency with multiple clients who have different needs? Most users will probably fall into one or more these primary needs:
Monitoring – finding mentions
Alerts – notifications to allow for fast responses and brand reputation management
Analysis – collecting the data and analyzing for trends, targeting of demographics, audience, location, platform, sentiment, keywords, etc.
Reporting – Creating reports to present mentions and analysis in an
Factors to Consider
Make a list of your requirements and highlight the ones that are must haves. The analysis of other features is beyond the scope of this document, but some other factors to consider are:
Analysis – do you want the tool to analyze the results? Infer trends,
determine sentiment, sort and organize data based on type of site, authorship, topics, demographics, influence?
Reporting – do you need formal reports to send to clients? Does the tool report on the types of data and analysis that you need? Can you specify date ranges in your reports or chart the comparison with past data?
Influence – If you are targeting influencers, is it important that the tool is integrated with some scoring or ranking service to denote reach and credibility?
International/Languages – do you need support of international sites or multiple languages? Does the tool need to support users in your organization who speak various languages?
User Management – will you be sharing accounts with others on your team or with your clients? Can multiple people edit or view your saved queries, projects, reports or alerts? Will you need different levels of access for different people? Do you need a site license that allows you to login and use the tool from different computers? How does the pricing differ if you have one user versus an enterprise license?
Alerts – Can you save and modify alerts? Can the tool send you alerts as soon as new mentions are found? Or do you want to set the frequency of receiving alerts (e.g., daily, weekly)? Do you need to get mentions via email or text messages? Can you direct one alert to be sent to multiple people or reassign existing alerts without having to recreate them? Can you pause alerts from being sent without having to delete the saved alert?
Platform Support – Does the application need to be browser based, run natively on a PC or smart phone? Does it support all the types operating systems that the users will require (Windows, Apple, Android, etc.)?
Mobile Support- Is mobile or tablet support required? Think about what devices are used by the people who are doing the monitoring and receiving the alerts. Do they travel frequently? How fast will they need to respond to alerts? Does the social media monitoring tool provide a mobile application?
Real Time Data – How fast do you need to react to mentions? Do you need real time data or is a lag of a few hours or even days acceptable?
Licensing – How is this product licensed? Is it by user? Computer? Number of queries, brands, mentions? Which model is most cost effective for the type of usage you will need? If installed on a computer, is usage restricted only to that one computer? Are there multiple people working on the same single account? Are you likely to do queries that return hundreds or even thousands of mentions? Are there different tiers so you can start small and upgrade if you find the tool useful? Is there an evaluation license available to so you can be sure the tool will work for you and be worth the investment?
Help/Support – Is there an adequate user guide or some kind of contextual online help? Are there user forums to discuss and solve each other’s problems? Is there a direct way to contact support with trouble tickets, live chat or email? What is the turnaround time to get assistance? Is one-on-one support included in the price?
One is not likely to find all the information you need to make your decision based on what you can find on the product websites. It is important to get a trial period to try out each tool with some real life examples to see if it will meet your requirements. This is also a good opportunity to see how responsive the product’s technical support team is. Also consider if the people who will be using the tool will be able to easily learn how to use it effectively. To employees with a math or computer science background, constructing advanced Boolean query strings will be obvious. To others, it may look like rocket science. Involve the future users in the product trials to see how much of a learning curve will be needed to adopt that new tool into the social media process of your business.
Based on the nature of what you need to monitor, it is clear that having a flexible and effective Boolean search query is the key to the usefulness of any social media monitoring tool.
We’ve reviewed the concepts of the Boolean search query and how it works in a sampling of social media monitoring tools.
We’ve seen how each social media monitoring tool has a different selection of Boolean search operators and other operators which help fine tune an advanced query.
We have also seen that most tools provide additional filtering capability to help narrow down the social media query results even further. Lastly we provided a list of other features to consider based on your requirements when doing a social media monitoring tools comparison.
There are many social media monitoring tools out there, and they vary widely. New tools are released often and existing tools are updated frequently. There are lots of articles on the internet with reviews and social media monitoring tool comparisons, however, most do not get into depth about the capabilities of their Boolean search query functionality. So if you are evaluating social media monitoring tools, it is worth the due diligence to find out what kind of advanced query functionality they provide to be sure your requirements are satisfied.
With this information, you should now have a clear idea that choosing a social media monitoring tool is far more complex than just seeing that they monitor social networks and other sources on the internet. The most important functionality in social media monitoring is the robustness of the tool’s Boolean search query. Being able to drill down to precisely what you want to monitor and not open the flood gates with irrelevant results saves time, effort and money, and makes the analysis of the results more accurate.
About The Author
Jannette Pazer has over 20 years in the software industry as a software engineer, system test architect, project manager, and now is a digital marketer at Dragon360. Outside of work, Pazer is an avid adventurer, rock climber and blogger. Follow her on Twitter @sociallyclimb.