Listening: Which Social Media Do You Follow?


A key component of listening to social media involves knowing where to listen. Monitoring blogs is an important step, but what if the real action around your company is in product reviews? Your listening plan needs to include the types of media that are relevant in your market. If you use an external social media analysis provider, they need to cover the relevant media types for you.

Last year, it was easy to assume that blog monitoring was social media analysis—the discussion was all about what consumers were saying on blogs. Almost all of the vendors tracked blogs, but there was a question about measuring blog comments. This year, things are different. New types of social media have emerged, and vendors have increased their coverage.

As I collected information for the new edition of the Guide to Social Media Analysis, I asked vendors specifically about the media types they cover in their monitoring or analysis. 58 companies answered the question. Here's a summary of their responses:

Media type (examples)*Coverage
Blog posts100%
Blog comments97%
Discussion boards97%
Product reviews93%
Social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Ning)88%
Client-provided data (CRM data, customer email or chat sessions, private message boards)83%
Social news (Delicious, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon)81%
Video sharing (YouTube)74%
Microblogging (Friendfeed, Plurk, Twitter)74%
Usenet newsgroups64%
Print media62%
Photo sharing (Flickr)60%

*A few companies listed other sources, such as transcripts of analyst calls, price-comparison sites and proprietary research sources.

The details—along with 63 vendor profiles—are in the second edition of the Guide to Social Media Analysis.


Great point Nathan. It's important to not look at monitoring through too narrow a lens, because with so many channels out there, you aren't going to find everything. But, you should focus on what's most important to find. Most of our clients are interested in both traditional and social media, which makes sense given the fact that journalists are getting story ideas from blog posts--and, more and more, we're seeing blog posts from major papers being expanded or re-purposed into articles in their online editions. We're also seeing more clients interested in the comments on MSM news stories--a category that spans both news and consumer-generated feedback.

The most important factor in picking a service is figuring out what is most important to you, and finding the service that matches those needs. Each vendor provides something different.



After working on the vendor side and talking with my customers as well who speak to other vendors, I am personally surprised that so many companies claim to monitor many of these source types. Some companies are very focused on adding new data types, but it isn't necessarily as easy as it seems, depending on how a company's technology works (keyword, NLP, SLP).

Also, just because a source type is being monitored, don't assume that its being done in an automated fashion. New sources pop up so quickly.

Comments are now closed for this entry.

About Nathan Gilliatt

  • ng.jpg
  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
  • Principal, Social Target
  • Profile
  • Highlights from the archive


Monthly Archives