How to select a social monitoring tool. Factors to consider.


In this guest post Mauricio Escobar from eDigital examines the key considerations when selecting a social media monitoring tool. If you want to know what questions you need to be asking before making your decision then this is the story for you.

I have been asked to review different social monitoring tools and in that process I found a very useful white paper from Don Bartholomew, Vice President – Analytics, Insights and Measurement of Fleishhman Hillard (Omnicom Group) about how to select a social monitoring tool.

I have tweaked it a bit for my own needs and you might also want to give each factor your own importance (weight) depending on what your needs are.

I believe it covers the key areas to consider, test and review before committing to a social monitoring tool contract.

Hope you find it useful:

How is the content aggregated? Third party? Own system? How often? Real time?

Data retrival
How long is content archived? is back data available? To which year? If so, extra cost?

Data coverage
Can you offer an example coverage for the term: “iphone 4s” Exact Match – Australian based content during the period 1/1/11 to 30/09/11. How many results the tool brings?

Data reach
What sort of content the tool cannot reach: ie. Facebook status updates that are not public, Intranets, any other?

What data cleansing strategies are in place to address spam, splogs, duplicate content? If results from duplicate content are found…do we have pay for them?

Is boolean logic available when constructing searches? ie “AND-OR-NOT”

Term search speed
This is key. Many tools are super slow. You want to double check they are fast when bringing results. How long (on average) does it take to retrieve results for “iPhone 4s” exact match – Australian based content during the period 1/1/11 to 30/09/11

What specific metrics are standard in the system?
Do the tool offer sentiment analysis? At micro level? Post level?
How the sentiment analysis being constructed?
Can the sentiment analysis be tweak by tool user?

Data Presentation
What dashboard features are available in the standard tool version?
Can dashboards be customised by users?
Are drill down capabilities available for all analaytics on the dashboard?

Does the tool allow for user to engage directly with content owner?
Can “owned” content (ie our website, facebook page, twitter) be managed by tool user. Can multiple TAF Franchisee facebook pages be monitored?
What workflow capabilities the tool offers? Can specific conversations be assign to other users?
Once a conversation is engaged and completed, what reports the tool can offer?
Can Real time social conversation alerts be sent to specific users? Or franchisees’ emails ( non-tool users)?

Frachisee based features
Is there anything in your tool set up for franchisee based business? If so, please provide examples.

What additional types of data can be integrated in the system? Google Analytics? Email? CRM?,etc

Reporting capabilities
Does the standard version allow for reports to be generated?
Can reports be automatically produced?
Can reports be customized? At what level?

Geaographic scope
Can the tool just track conversations happening in my region/country? How?
Would it pick up my countries based conversations happening in different languages? Any extra costs?

Cost structure
What is the tool costs? By number of search results’ charge? By subscription charge (unlimited search results)?
Is there any trail period? Can we try the tool for a month?
How the cost varies depending on amount of tool users?

Tool Installation
Is there any system requirement needed?

Is training included on the tool costs? How many training hours? If not, what are the training costs?

Value added services
Is tool installation and configuration costs included?
Is customer service available during OUR business times?

Is there any success retail franchise based Australian client case study you can offer? If not, why not retail franchise based Australian clients have not bought your tool?

Minimum Contract period
What’s the minimum contract period.

Contract termination notification
Is there anything we have to be aware when deciding to terminate a contract with the tool provider?

Top USP’s
Out of all the above criteria, which top two does your tool position as the best in the market?

You can check out Mauricio’s blog here.


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