Monitoring Social Media Before You Have a Budget


There's a difference between "we don't have any money" and "we don't have a budget for that (yet)." The usual advice about monitoring social media for comments about your company ends with pointers to free tools and a few of the commercial options. But if you're a manager trying to make the case that your company should listen to social media, these free services from social media analysis vendors will help you justify the budget to keep going.

Free tools from social media analysis companies:

Companies who offer free, limited accounts on commercial tools ("Freemium" model):
Commercial tools with free trials (length of trial):
The distinction between "no money" and "no budget yet" is important for free trials. The limited time may be all you need to collect enough information to support your request. If you're making the case for the budget, I'm sure the vendors will be happy for you to use them that way. If you already have a budget, of course, everyone will offer you a demo.

If you already have a budget and need to explore your options, my report on social media analysis platforms for workgroups (March 2010) is for you. I reviewed 21 vendors to see what makes them different and which are appropriate for which uses. The report has an overview of the market, tables for quick comparisons across all 21 companies, and individual reviews of the products.

I went through everybody's web sites, but I might have missed some. Mention yours in the comments if I did, and I'll add it to the list.


Hi Nathan,

Yes, companies can start by using the free tools for monitoring their brand, products and competitors in social media such as:
- google blog search
- Native searches in major video sites like Youtube, etc.
- Twitter searches like terraminds or summize, etc.

This quickly brings to light some of the benefits of the commercial tools as they begin to experience the benefits of monitoring & engaging online. They can get a sense for how time consuming it can be to do this manually. By doing it this way, they can track how many hours they are putting into the manual aspects (cutting & pasting, searching different sites, searching all the brands/keywords, integrating data into reports, doing analysis, etc.). This helps significantly with a business case.

By the way, Radian6 does offer free trials (typically 7 days).

CEO, Radian6

I couldn't agree more. We actively encourage people to compare SentimentMetrics to other services and free tools.

In fact this is the best way for them to see for themselves how advantageous it is to use a commercial offering. Both in terms of analytical capabilities and time saving.

Leon Chaddock
Sentiment Metrics

PS. Did you get my email on the recent functionality we have released? One item in particular we discussed on the phone a while back.

Our Freemium account has no time constraint and is a full-featured intro to our premium 'commercial' accounts- anyone can sign up...try it!

Please add to the list - open source tracking and graphing. - Thanks M

If you are interested in spanish media monitoring I recommend you our services.


Our free version is fully functional and has no expiration date. You are limited to five keyword phrases and 1000 total results, however you can clear a search and enter a new one. Anyone can sign up at
For more info come to our webinar next week:

do anybody hear about buzzmonitor an opensource project develop for the worldbank:


Yes, and that's a good point. If you really have no budget—but do have the required technical capabilities—you should consider the BuzzMonitor, which I wrote about following its 2007 release.

Thanks Nathan.

Great resource. MightyBrand does not exist or the link does not work. Just thought I'd let you know.

I also went through every link, and had my winners and losers. EU and Australia could become hubs of SM Analytics?? Any thoughts on that. I liked the promise of Radian 6, trackur, and customscoop though.

Ultimately, if there is no tangible ROI through listening, measuring, and analyzing conversations across the entire SM spectrum, it will be difficult for folks to adopt it.

Overall thoughts...presentation and polish still count - make your website look like you are on the SM runway all the time. Be sure to mention the breadth and depth of your coverage of the social media universe. Mention twitter at least.

An Honest Perspective

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About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • 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.
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