After “getting out there,” the next step in social media marketing is to keep on top of the conversations – which factors into your brand and reputation management and gives you the competitive edge when it comes to trend spotting. Fortunately, a lot more companies than just Collective Insight and Spredfast have seen the boom in this emerging market. The following are other top contenders in the area of social intelligence gathering. Beyond just social media intelligence gathering, find out what sets each company apart from the competition.

Radian6 – Covers over 100 million social media websites. Aside from tracking, their “engagement console” allows users to coordinate their responses to activity via instant blog and social media updates. This way you don’t have to hop around from platform to platform in order to engage. The cost? A pretty $600/month.

Lithium – Lithium’s like a good friend that lets you know what everyone’s saying about you in the virtual world, in blogs, social media and comments. The results are formatted into graphs and numerics mimicking a stock market-like presentation. Unique to Lithium, the software also “assesses emotions” surrounding your brand. Plans start at a competitive $249/month, which includes five users and searches. They also offer a free 2 week trial.

Sysomos – A lot like Lithium in terms of conversation awareness, Sysomos’ “Heartbeat” software monitors the social media pulse surrounding your brand. Owned my Marketwire, an umbrella company, Sysomos delivers information through graphics. It sits apart from Lithium by organizing conversations, managing workflow/collaboration and offering engagement tips. Packages start at $500/month.

Alterian SM2 – Neither Lithium or Sysomos track forum conversations for mentions of your brand. Forums are often forgotten as a powerful and direct source of mention and engagement. They’re quickly becoming a more reliable source of information than print media alone since content there is more authentic and unfiltered. Alterian also taps into wikis, videos, photo sharing websites and even Craigslist. They’re not just looking to monitor your brand, but also the daily volume, demographic, geographics and tones of conversation. Pricing varies based on usage but you can get started at $500/month. Heavy use can boost pricing up to a hefty $15,000/month – which is a small price to pay for bigwig companies looking to aggressively track conversations across a wider range of platforms.

Crimson Hexagon – Need a 2001 Space Odyssey-inspired software to track everything across the web that pertains to you? Crimson Hexagon might be what you’re looking for. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the east coast source for tech startups, Crimson offers a technology refined by Harvard. You’ll have to inquire for prices, but don’t expect it to be cheap. The software is currently used by most media giants along with a sprinkling of other industry heavyweights. If media is your thing, check out Webtrends – also a media go-to software for social intelligence gathering.

Spiral16 – There are two things I love about Spiral16. First, they focus on your competition. Competitor analysis is critical and often overlooked, though arguably you could use one of the multiple search allowances the other companies allot as part of your competitor analysis monitoring. The second factor that sets Spiral16 apart is their appreciation for your budget. While their plans start at about $500 for five queries, they can tailor a price model around your budgetary needs. Keep in mind though that if your budget is something as fractional as $25, it’ll likely be in no one’s interest (including your own) to create a custom package. So set realistic parameters when it comes to the money side of things.

Of course, there is one platform that is absent from this list, one that Benchmark will be happy to unveil all too soon…


作者 Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Benchmark Email's Online Marketing Specialist and Small Business Advocate. An Orange County based writer, Shireen specializes in online marketing and public relations. She has written for over 75 publications and has launched nine successful new media campaigns to date. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Denver Post, the Oklahoman and Green Air Radio, among others.