SOCIAL MENTION Grade: A-
Social Mention crawls the entire web to discover, of course, mentions of your brand or products. It will also reveal sentiment, passion and reach. One other key feature – you can configure it to only search ‘within social media’.
A general search also reveals a ton of data that’s unrelated to your brand – since it seeks out all the words in your search. Let’s say you have a brand name that includes any common words like ‘computer’ or ‘insurance’ or ‘jeans’. That means you’ll get results for any mentions of those words.
Advanced search is the way to go. You can enter an exact phrase, and Social Mention will scour the web just for references to your particular company. The great thing is, Social Mention looks at almost every important social network including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Photobucket, Stumbleupon and others. (We noted that Pinterest and LinkedIn aren’t featured.) This is a very easy-to-use tool that provides useful data in real time.
TOPSY Grade: B-
Topsy looks a lot like Social Mention, and to save time you also want to use the advanced search option here. Unlike Social Mention, Topsy won’t let you search for an exact phrase – it ignores the order of the words. So you’re going to have to sort through a lot more results that are unrelated to your brand.
On the positive side, Topsy lets you search within any timeframe you’d like to check – today, the past week, the past three months – you decide. That’s a nice feature for brands getting tons of hits that only want to see what’s very recent. For smaller brands, a longer timeframe will show more activity. Topsy even picks up on FourSquare mentions, which is good for brands with lots of locations.
AMPLICATE Grade: C-
Amplicate says it’s here to tell us ‘what people love and hate on social media’. Of course, every brand wants to show up in the former category and not the latter.
Amplicate works fairly well for established mega-brands like Starbucks or Redbull or Apple – since there’s so much conversation happening around them. But if you’re a smaller brand, chances are this website isn’t going to be of any value. Even when I searched for opinions about a recent film like ‘The Descendants’, I got all kinds of unrelated information about various ethnic groups. Our take is that Amplicate has a long ways to go before it will be useful to most brands.
ADDICTOMATIC Grade: C-
This is a pretty cool site because the results are clustered according to the places they were found. So all the mentions on Twitter are in once place, and likewise YouTube and Bing. But hey, where is Facebook? MIA it looks like.
However, there’s a huge drawback in that Addictomatic doesn’t offer customized search. So once again, you’ve got to sift through a ton of unrelated content to find the mentions that matter.
If you’re ready to step up, there are lots of great paid monitoring services our there as well. We’re partial to Radian6 and HubSpot. If you have your own favorites, we’d love to hear about them here.