Here’s a list of 8 free (or very cheap) social media monitoring tools we’ve tried out in the last few weeks. They are all pretty light-touch, but great for anyone starting out in social media monitoring – and a lot of fun into the bargain. (We also reviewed 5 top budget social media monitoring tools a few months back).
UPDATE: Several of these tools have been bought out or upgraded to premium (e.g. Hootsuite has bought Ubervu, which is no longer ‘free’). Check out our more recent 9 of the Best Free Social Media Monitoring Tools 2016.
1) Trackle – Trackle started out as newsletter service, enabling anyone to create a free email newsletter on any topic, which would then be automatically created from web content and delivered regularly. They also offer a corporate version which includes a basic social media monitoring tool, which delivers daily updates to your inbox. The interface is quite cluttered and confusing, but it seems to work reasonably well (though some blog results weren’t captured in my test). There’s a rather nice “credibility” filter, which you can use to pinpoint the comments/posts from influential authors – though I’m not sure what basis this is judged on. Trackle offers a 30 day free trial, but it’s only $9.99 afterwards anyway. Within that price you can track 10 keywords/phrases. The Premium version is $99 for unlimited keywords.
2) TweepSearch – I recently wrote about Tweepsearch as a tool for finding influencers on Twitter very enthusiastically. The service enables you to analyse your Twitter followers to find out who’s influential on which topics. If you like playing with Boolean search queries to get really interesting results, it’s the Twitter Profile monitoring tool for you.
3) FollowerWonk – Just when I thought I’d found the best Twitter monitoring tool (see above), Marshall Sponder trumped me somewhat with followerwonk.com. It searches Twitter profiles for keywords in the same way as Tweepsearch, albeit with an easier interface (there’s a handy field for entering locations, rather than having to use search terms) but it produces the results in a more comprehensive way. As a result, one of the nicest features (which probably isn’t intended) is that you can easily copy and paste the results into a spreadsheet.
4) Klout – One of the most user-friendly and, dare I say it, more serious Twitter “influence monitoring” tools on the market is Klout.com. You can search for a specific topic and it gives you a list of the most influential Twitter users based on (what looks like) some fairly sophisticated mapping of their connectedness and ability to instigate re-tweets and mentions. If you put your Twitter details in Klout will use the same calculations to decide if you’re a Casual, Connector, Climber or Persona (with Persona’s being both connected AND influential).
5) Realmon9 – This one’s in the list on its pure potential alone. It’s still in Beta, but it’s a social media monitoring Google App. – which means, you can use it (for free) with any Google account. You can currently view a demo (you need to sign into your Google account to view it) and email to request a full account, but it looks to offer quite comprehensive listings. The developer, AJ Chen, is already working on plugging the app into Salesforce.com, to enable end-to-end CRM (the kind Radian6 and others are striving towards). One to watch!
6) Tweetreach – Not new, but still a great site for blowing away Twitter sceptics in a single click. Just add a short URL from a popular Tweet you’ve recently posted, click the button and it shows you how many people (and who) your Tweet was sent to. Great for identifying who your most valuable and viral Followers are.
7) Cligs – This short URL company offers social media monitoring in a really simple and elegant way. Paste in your long URL and it gives you a nice short version, plus an HTML version and an HTML one with a title, if you want it. In addition to the usual number of hits, Cligs gives you the times of hits, geographical location of visitors, which search engine bots have found your “clig”, Twitter and FriendFeed mentions, blog and comment links, Delicious bookmarks, plus, interestingly referral statistics – i.e. which links sent you traffic. The big problem for short URL companies is that Twitter uses bit.ly. To get around this Cligs offers apps and plugins for Gmail, iGoogle, Firefox, WordPress and TwitterFeed. It’s a first step for short URL social media monitoring – but I can see this area developing.
8) Ubervu – Ubervu’s social media comparison site lets you see how you’re ranking against your competitors in terms of social media reach and impact. It’s basically like Compete.com, but for social media. Ubervu’s main product is a freemium social media monitoring tool which is well worth a try. It’s quite powerful, but takes a bit of getting used to.