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25 Questions to Ask Social Media Monitoring Providers

Are you looking to monitor social media? You should be. Not only will you find out what your consumers (and potential consumers) are saying about you, you’ll find out what they are saying about your competitors, what your competitors are doing in the space, as well as learn valuable insights.

Below we’ve compiled a list of 25 questions to ask any prospective social media monitoring partner. You may need all of the questions, and you certainly should have a few of your own, but these should help get you going in the right direction for finding what’s best for your needs.

When considering a social monitoring platform/service, be sure to ask the following:

1) Do you offer access to historical data and if so, how far back can we go? Will we have access to historical data prior to when we started our monitoring, or only for data we have already pulled?

2) If we delete search results/terms/queries, can we access that data again in the future, or are they completely lost?

3) Is there a limit to the number of returns we can receive in a given time frame? For example, if there were one million comments/pieces of content relevant to our search, would we be able to see them all, or would we be limited to just a sample?

4) Are we limited in the number of queries (projects, search terms, clients, etc.) we can set up within the platform?

5) Can you provide us with a list of all sources of monitored content (for example, Twitter, instead of “microblogs”)?

6) Do you have firehose access to Twitter or is the feed limited (i.e., will we see all the results or just a sample)? Do you have full access to data from other sites as well or just a sample? What sampling restrictions are there?

7) Do you pull data from any location-based services such as Foursquare? If so, which ones?

8) Do you pull data from forums? Can we add specific forums to target? Can we add other sources such as trade/industry-specific websites?

9) Do you pull data from review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor? How about reviews from retailer sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and others?

10) Do you pull comments on a blog/article post (or can we pull them)? For example, if there is a post or thread that matches our keywords in the main post, but the comment does not mention the keywords, can we pull in those comments? Or can we only pull in items that match the keywords?

11) Do you offer metrics and/or insights on top of matched data? For example, can we see how many comments an article received, how many views a video received, how many shares a post received, and other similar numbers?

12) How does your platform calculate sentiment? Is it manually or auto scored? How accurate is it (percentage-wise)?

13) Can you block specific sources? For example, can you cull results from a specific user on Twitter, but still pull in @ mentions of that user? Can you block specific domains?

14) Do you pull data from mainstream media (e.g., NY Times, AP, WSJ, etc.)? What is the divide between mainstream media and blogs? For example, would we get results from the NY Times and WSJ, or are they mainstream media? Would we get results from their blogs, which often are simply mainstream extensions? Is the data/results exportable to Excel? If so, is there a limit?

15) Can we filter data by location or limit results to specific geographic locations (state level, city level, DMA, ZIP code)?

16) Is all data gathered in real time with real-time updates, or is there a delay before we see the results? If there is a delay, how long is it?

17) In addition to monitoring for content, can the platform also identify potential influencers/brand advocates/ambassadors?

18) Can you engage/post content through the platform? If so, on what services?

19) Can you schedule future posts/updates from the platform?

20) Can you allocate jobs to specific team members?

21) Can the platform be integrated with other services? Is there an API?

22) Can you monitor in multiple languages?

23) Will we have an account representative or search specialist who will help us craft search queries?

24) Can multiple team members be logged in at the same time?

25) What is the cost breakdown? Is it one price, or is it based on tiers and results? Is there a cost for historical data?


There is a wide range of monitoring options that run the gamut from free and low scale to very expensive and in great depth. You’ll have to decide which services are best for you based on your requirements and what you’re looking to get out of them.

Join The Conversation

  • Jeremy Hollow's picture
    Oct 9 Posted 4 years ago Jeremy Hollow

    Hi Jeff

    Great list of questions here - thanks. I was wondering, have you had any luck with evaluating the comparability of sources used between vendors? For example, does the same query return the same results using different vendors?

    From a research perspective I think its really important to know you've captured or are sampling from as complete a source as possible. But I'm still waiting for a decent response on this...

    Would be good to hear your thoughts. 




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