Last Fall I was looking for a social media monitoring and community management tool, I found about 50 of them (30 in an article by Dustin Betonio and I added another 20) from the simple to the very sophisticated ones and checked half a dozen tools including acclaimed Synthesio or Radiant6.
For an independent researcher like me, the two later appeared to be expensive and fairly heavy to use, in addition I work in a multilingual environment thus being able to work efficiently with more than just English mattered to me.
In my quest I came across a French company named, Linkfluence, and went to Paris to meet their representatives in the Fall of 2012. At the time, they were about to launch a new tool for community managers: Radarly.
A colleague of mine and I decided to test the tool on one of our customers and the result was overall quite satisfactory.
The tools in one way or another aggregate all mentions around words and words association you will have first entered in the system. The algorithm will then fish on the web (mainly in the defined corpus) for those mentions and bring them back to you; giving you their sources, their tone, their language and even their impact.
You will then be able to refine your analysis by tweaking the words and the tagging of those mentions. Those tools will be perfected but first you must learn to use them and understand them.
1. Ease of setup
First we were asked to create a corpus of the key conversations sources we wanted to secure. The standard corpus of sources Linkfluence tracks is pretty wide but that way they make sure they do not miss a key source for the client.
We then logged key words in relation to stories we wanted to track, either related to the company, the products, the services, etc.…
We also logged the key competitors in order to compare performances.
2. Message tagging and community management
The next step is to review messages; you may let the machine tag messages automatically, however it is worth reading key messages and tagging them.
This is probably the only weakness of the tool. When you have a good volume of messages the interface is a little cumbersome to treat series of messages. Example: tweets and re-tweets on the same topic and you would like to add a tag, for 10 messages it is manageable but when you face hundreds of messages it becomes cumbersome.
Each message can be addressed and redirected to the adequate stakeholder in the company for action.
The tool is multilingual and allows you to operate in a global environment.
From this point of view the tools offers a great deal of statistics and graphs easily readable. In addition you may extract the data to rework them as you please.
You can also monitor high-level statistics of your competitors, which appear to be very interesting to understand whether you are on top, or not of your social media activities.
If you consider monitoring tools may cost between 0€ to 6’000€ per month for various degrees of monitoring. Radarly at approximately 500€ per month is a very good entry-level tool which offers most of the functionalities you would expect to do manage your client’s community.
I certainly recommend it… check Radarly’s website.