#Cmgrchat – 11/16: Choosing a Monitoring System

Choosing a monitoring system may fall more into the purview of a Social Media Manager or Strategist, but the right tool to monitor a community is important to the average community manager or strategist.  This chat saw 774 helpful tweets regarding which systems people were using, and how they came upon the decision to use them.  For those that can’t afford big, fancy, robust systems, there are plenty of free options and workarounds as well.


Q1. There are so many systems available, how do you decide which ones to test?

coryjstewart I think testing all free avenues first is a good way to start. It seems that a mixture of tools provides accurate insight

Ad_Chickadee I test based on industry peers & Forester, Pew & Mashable recommendations

KellyLux I generally go by reputation…what other CM’s are talking about. One of the bonuses of having such a great network of people!

RachelYeomans Great Q! I spent weeks doing research, demo’s, & I have an insane Google doc w/ thoughts -conclusion: not 1 is THE best

Historian: Stand on the shoulders of giants. Listen to the tales of success and woes of all of the #cmgrs out there.

DanKlamm Identify your goals first. What would you like the system to accomplish primarily – monitoring, analytics, content production?

JessicaRMurray I’ve seen Sysomos, Cision, Radian6 and several others, all have diff strengths

JPedde Figure out your goals before you see any vendor. Help them figure out what you need solved

JPedde Buying a monitoring system is like buying a car. Test drive the ones with the best features, most power, and competitive price.

Q2. What are the most important features/capabilities you look for when choosing a monitoring system?

tmonhollon UX is really important to me, so first of all, I want to know I’ll be able to “drive” whatever I’m buying

colormelauren It’s really important to me that I can customize my reports. And that I can easily communicate results with non-tech people.

tamcdonald Personally. Ease of scheduling. Multiple users. Monitoring different platforms. Ease and value of reports.

evanhamiltonThe most important features in a monitoring tool are that it is fast (I move fast) and flexible.

evanhamilton If we’re talking about a /publishing/ system as well, I need scheduling, ROI and engagement tracking

mbhahn I would think security, mobility and support would be important

Tribe2point0 Make sure it has the features to measure your goals, will work with the platform you are using, you understand it, support

debng After ease of use, I want it to be customoizable. We don’t all use same reports & I want to be able to tweak to my needs.

MassMarotta  “Clean” output. I really don’t want to spend my time massaging and manipulating data. Grrrr

ATTAlexCM No particular order for me, ability to scale, content, flow, customer experience, user experience, reporting, cost, etc.

Q3. Are there any FREE monitoring systems that are worth looking at?

evanhamilton Tweetreach has some free reports which are very useful for light, short-term research

SamHosenkamp I like TweetDeck and socialmention. I like SocialMention a lot

evanhamilton I believe Crowdbooster still has a free plan with some unique (and improving) insights into post time, content, etc.

rhogroupeeDon’t laugh, but Google Alerts are better than “band-aids and duct tape

JPedde A nice combination of Google Alerts, Google Analytics, Excel and knowing what you’re looking for can all be free.

coryjstewart  monitter, hootsuite, hashtracking, twooler, twitalyze

evanhamilton Sadly I have to say that you should avoid CoTweet’s free offering. It is continuing to degrade and they won’t support it

Historian Buffer and say they will tweet at the best time to get engagement. You still have to be there to react.

eswayne for my free money, Yahoo Pipes is the most powerful social monitoring platform out there. Going to take some setup, but worth it

eswayne it’s fairly old, but lets you unify, filter and sort/tag multiple feed formats into one real-time source

colormelauren Echofon pro is really great for live-tweeting events

Historian I use “The Archivist” to save tweet chat logs.

GraphicDesignNY Interesting list I found recently: 20 social media monitoring vendors for business

Q4. How locked-in to a monitoring system are you once you make the decision? Do you still keep looking for new/better products?

ATT_Jam You should never stop looking for something better. This business changes fast and new things are always on the horizon

evanhamilton I’m always looking at new monitoring tools, but also giving feedback to the companies I use in hopes the tool will evolve

ATTAlexCM Depends on ability to scale, user experience and ROI. Landcape changes quickly so flexibility is a mus

RachelYeomans I’m ALWAYS looking! New tools are released every day – always testing and trying out

jen_mccoy  depends on the contract and your budget

debng Loyalty is commendable but it’s foolish to stick w/something that isn’t necessarily working or working as well another tool.

KellyLux The nice thing about free tools is you don’t feel obligated to use them…and you can use several at once!

JessicaRMurray Always important to look for new/better products, not about vendor but about helping you capture better insights for your Co

MassMarotta My company may be locked in contractually but I’m always on the look-out for the next best thing. Re-evaluate your needs

 Q5. Share what you’re currently using and why you chose them. What are your favorite features

evanhamilton I’m using Argyle Social. Great monitoring and publishing, really responsive and friendly team, auto-inserts my GA tracking codes

evanhamilton But the killer Argyle Social feature for me is that they tell me if someone read my content and then later converted

evanhamilton So someone reads a link I post (to anywhere), moves on, and a month later signs up for UserVoice…I know what content they read.

KellyLux  I mainly use Hootsuite..probably because I’m used to it and it’s got a great mobile app

RachelYeomans Oh! And NetNewsWire – fantastic for Smart Searches & RSS feeds, etc

rhogroupee Still looking for something better than Google Alerts, but not as heavy-duty as the “big boys

mbhahn Im really liking the beta google analytics. The live traffic stuff watching people hit your site in real time

eswayne Take a look at Greplin – I’ve been using it to search my personal social content & works great



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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.