While there’s a huge and growing market of social media monitoring companies, several of the leading Agencies I know have developed their own monitoring solutions. At MSM09 Robin Grant explained how his team at We Are Social developed a solution using openly available data – putting a nice user-friendly interface on the front for clients. Others I know use a combination of Google Alerts, Yahoo Pipes, RSS, Technorati or SocialMention, feeding the results onto a simple Netvibes page for their clients to read.

While some social media monitoring companies are obviously dismissive of these home-made solutions, for many companies that don’t want to invest $000’s in a monitoring solution they are an ideal starting point. If  you have  some basic technical skills in-house – it gets better. Drupal’s Tattler, for example, which uses OpenCalais natural language processing, requires setting up and configuring on a server, but claims to “mine news, websites, blogs, multimedia sites, and other social media like Twitter, to find mentions of the issues most relevant to a journalist, researcher, advocate or communications professional”. What more could you want?

To help us figure out which of these open-source, free, home-made solutions are winners and which are duff – we’re hosting a workshop entitled “How to Build Your Own Social Media Monitoring Service” at Monitoring Bootcamp on 31st March 2010 in London. Marshall Sponder (webmetricsguru.com) will lead us through a step-by-step process to build a monitoring solution. It’s going to be fascinating. Places are limited, but tickets are on sale now.

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