7-Step Guide: Choosing the Right Social Media Monitoring Tool for You Guide

By Ruxandra Mindruta on August 21st 2013

In some of our previous posts we emphasised on the importance of successful brand monitoring, its most important features, and how to make the most of it. But when deciding to take a big step and opt for a paid social media monitoring tool, which is the best approach?

We developed a 7-step guide that aims to support you in making the decision and choose what’s best for you when it comes to social media monitoring.


1) Decide on your objectives


Why do you need a social media monitoring tool?

Identify the most important aspects that suit your needs: are you interested in tracking your own social channels or do you want to keep track of what’s being said about you elsewhere?

Is your goal identifying negative mentions, issues and complaints at an early stage, or would you rather keep an eye on customer behaviour and identifying gaps in the market?

Maybe your aim is measuring the success of a campaign you’ve launched or it could be finding brand influencers. There can be a hundred reasons for investing in social monitoring, you just need to find your own and get started from there;

2) Establish your budget


Anticipate how much time you are willing to invest in the monitoring process. It is always important to assess whether the sum of money you are willing to pay is directly proportional with your needs and the services you expect from the monitoring tool.

3) Investigate what set-up services and customer support each tool provides


In most cases, the success of your social media monitoring relies on the training and guidance provided by the support team once you’ve purchased the tool.

In order to be able to measure your ROI successfully, it is vital to know how to make the most of the tool and how to take advantage of all its features.

4) Do some research on each tool’s USP


See what differentiates it from its competitors. Analyse whether these features are compatible with your social media monitoring needs and if it’s worth it to pay extra money for the additional functionality.

5) Make sure you check thoroughly the services that each tool offers


Depending on your objectives, the quality of all sorts of different features can sway your decision entirely.

Things like data coverage (which media platforms does the tool crawl, how many languages, locations, etc.), whether it provides sentiment analysis, its approach to SPAM and duplicates and plenty of other criteria can vary wildly between each solution.

6) Be wary of contract lengths!


Find out the obligations you’re tied to when signing up. A 12-month contract may well be desirable, but be cautious not to get trapped into a lengthy deal that renders you unable to adapt to a changing market.

7) Test and compare


Snoop around for demos and free trials to get a better insight into each tool and explore its ease of use.

Always be open to trying other tools, as even though your current social media monitoring tool might satisfy your needs, it isn’t necessarily the best one on the market;


Can you think of any other hints and tips that might come in handy when choosing a social media monitoring tool?

  • Matt

    These are very similar to the criteria I suggest on my blog: http://measurematt.tumblr.com/post/33361823754‎

  • Jenni

    I think these are great. Number 4 is really important, and might even change your original budget – sometimes it is hard to know what you can spend without knowing what you will get in return. I also think it’s important not to put too much stock in preconceived opinions or buyer’s guides… and to know that the “biggest” isn’t always the “best” – a lot of smaller or mid-size companies can innovate more quickly and are friendlier to deal with.

  • Brandwatch

    Thanks for sharing Matt – wise words. It’s great that those of us in the market give similar advice – shows we’re all on the right track! This is the sort of advice we always give when people ask us how to choose a tool; it’s certainly a confusing market to the uninitiated, but we’ve found that these are some key steps in making a decision. Thanks for reading :)

  • Thanks for your comment, Jenni! Glad you liked it. And yes, it’s key to do quite a bit of research and tool testing. You might stumble upon some neat features such as being able to respond to mentions, assign users tasks or create unlimited search queries. Luckily, there’s a great tool out there for any brand, small or large.

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