Seven Buzz Monitoring Sites to Watch

Here’s today’s column, originally at MediaPost. I’ll admit that this was an evergreen, one where I’ve been keeping tabs on these sites for awhile and wrote it up when I wasn’t sure what else to cover this week. Fortunately it’s also one of the more useful columns in terms of sharing tools marketers and others may want to use, so I hope at least one or two of the links here are useful for you. Share other favorites in the comments or email me at marketersstudio (at) gmail . com.

Seven Buzz Monitoring Sites to Watch

Posted June 3rd, 2008 by David Berkowitz
      

       

What’s
the buzz on the latest and most improved buzz monitoring sites? Here’s
a guide to seven of the best, along with some of their peers and
competitors.

In March, I reviewed eight search sites
spanning a range of specialized subjects, including local, social, and
mobile. Since then, I’ve been keeping tabs on dozens of innovators,
many of which will be featured in future roundups. This week, we’ll
review some of the most useful and interesting tools that you can
search for brand monitoring, competitive intelligence, and campaign
planning, to name just a few ways you can use them.

Facebook

Facebook Lexicon: Lexicon is simply Google Trends
for Facebook. Enter up to five terms separated by commas and find out
the relative frequency of how often those terms appear on Facebook
Walls, the public message boards on users’ profiles. It doesn’t work
perfectly; try a search on "clinton" and then "hillary clinton" and
you’ll see that the two-word phrase returns a lot of missing spots.
Still, Lexicon marks a first step to gauge some of the buzz on
Facebook. For example, it shows that Yahoo closely trails Google
and they spike at similar times, but there’s not a lot of love for
Microsoft. What you can’t do is gauge the context of those mentions.

Twitter

Summize: In a column about searching Twitter
several weeks ago, I mentioned Tweet Scan. Summize is another Twitter
search engine with more functionality. Neither engine catches every
post; routinely some will only show up on one or the other, so if you
don’t want to miss anything, check both. I’m generally more impressed
with Summize, and Summize Labs
offers even more potential. You can also use the "near:" modifier to
narrow results to people writing from a certain zip code, like in this example for a search on Starbucks.
One advantage for Tweet Scan is that it works better on a mobile
browser, which comes in handy when you’re at events trying to search
for fellow tweeters.

Flaptor is another Twitter
search engine, and given how it’s hard to find one perfectly
comprehensive resource, it helps to have options. The best part is that
you can easily graph each search term, or you can go directly to its Twist trend tool. You can compare about as many terms as you can think of, though as you can see in this example of comparing ten terms, after a handful it gets hard to read all the lines on the graph.

Keyword Demographics

Quantcast: This
measurement service isn’t new, and I’m not sure how long this feature’s
been around, but you can track the demographics of searchers for a
particular keyword. It’s not readily accessible as a search option, so
the easiest way to do it is to visit this link for the demographics of "weather" searchers
and then replace "weather" with your keyword of choice. You’ll see the
estimated monthly unique searchers, and then U.S. demographic
information for gender, age, household income, ethnicity, head of
household education, and children 6-17 in the household.

Message Boards

BoardTracker: Much of
this social media craze isn’t all that new; people have been posting on
online message boards for decades. BoardTracker offers a new way to
search all those posts across thousands of niche message boards you’ve
probably never heard of. You can also set up email alerts and other
ways to track posts. New features appear regularly.

Twing: Yes, there’s even
competition among new forum search engines, and while I haven’t used
either extensively, I’m partial to Twing for its design and how easy it
is to refine searches. It also has similar features to BoardTracker for
saving searches and alerts.

Blogs

Trendpedia: Hardly the first blog search engine (see Technorati) or even the first one with comparative charts for blog buzz (see BlogPulse and IceRocket),
it’s the newest entry, and one that’s been making rapid improvements.
One convenient feature is that when you enter two or three terms to
compare, it instantly shows a pie chart with the percentage of blog
posts mentioning each term. Additionally, clicking anywhere on the
graph opens up a new tab on the screen to see posts by date.

It’s hard to say if any of those sites are better than the other,
though BlogPulse has been the most neglected recently. There’s still an
opportunity for others to establish themselves with more intelligent
tools, such as accurately gauging sentiment and noting how influential
the blogs are that are doing the buzzing. Technorati has offered a
filter of blogs by authority level, and Summize Labs offers Twitter sentiment analysis, but these just scratch the surface.

Of course, I’m greedy and want access to the most sophisticated,
public-facing tools I can imagine, and these companies can’t give away
everything for free. Then again, if you check out Forrester’s social technographics profile tool,
you can get a sense of how much can be given away in support of the
core business. In the future, we’ll see more of what buzz monitoring
innovators are doing to build buzz for themselves.

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