Free Social Media Monitoring Tools for Small Businesses

One of my blog reader sent me the following question in response to my blog post, Social Media Analytics Part I

Anil, are there any free tools for social media monitoring (twitter) that you can recommend? Tools, that a small business can use until they can justify the budget for one of the mainstream tools?


Short answer is “Yes, there are free tools for Social Media Monitoring”. Below are two of the tools that I suggest.

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is one of the best free tool for monitoring the social media. Google Alert is an email alert service from Google that monitors news, blogs, twitter, sites, youtube etc. and sends you an email whenever a keyword, specified by you, appears in those places.

You can access Google Alerts at http://www.google.com/alerts

Google Alerts provides 6 types of alerts – ‘News’, ‘Web’, ‘Blogs’, ‘Comprehensive’, ‘Video’ and ‘Groups’. According to Google Alerts FAQ

A ‘News’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest news articles that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google News search.
A ‘Web’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest web pages that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top twenty results of your Google Web search.
A ‘Blogs’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest blog posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Blog search.
A ‘Comprehensive’ alert is an aggregate of the latest results from multiple sources (News, Web and Blogs) into a single email to provide maximum coverage on
the topic of your choice.
A ‘Video’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest videos that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Video search.
A ‘Groups’ alert is an email aggregate of new posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Groups search.


I always use comprehensive so that it can cover all the sources. (Note: Recently Google has also started to cover Twitter feeds)

Alert Signup Page

An alert in my inbox

Google Alerts allows you to set the frequency of the alert notifications. There are three options
1. “once a day”
2. “once a week”,
3. “as it happens”

I suggest starting with “as-it-happens” option and if you find yourself drowning in too many emails then scale it down to “once a day” or “once a week”.

2. SM2 – SM2 from Techrigy

SM2 has a free version. It is limited to 5 keywords that you can search on and only shows 1000 results but that should be enough for a Small Business.

There are few other tools that are under $15 a month. I will write about them after I have reviewed them.

Screenshot of SM2

If you need help with setting up any of these services please feel free to email me.

Comments? Questions?
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Comments

  1. Ryan Stephens says:

    Anil,

    While these are certainly solid starting points there are plenty of others as well. Some that I enjoy using are Twitter Search and Social Mention. Dan Schawbel has a list of 10 here. I've found it to be a solid resource for newbies.

  2. Anonymous says:

    kampyle is an even better tool

  3. ADAM KLEINBERG says:

    I wrote a post "Assessing free social media metrics tools" in April that goes well with what you've written here. Here's a link:

    http://blogtraction.blogspot.com/2009/04/assessing-free-social-media-metrics.html

    Cheers!

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