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SMToolbox: Free Twitter Monitoring and Search Tools
Posted on February 17th 2014
This week in the SMToolbox we review some of the best free Twitter monitoring tools. Whether you are monitoring a brand or a topic area, these tools will ensure you know the trending content, the key influencers, current discussions and the latest industry news.
Monitoring Brands and Topics on Twitter
If you are active on Twitter, you probably already monitor your own performance and may use a tool such as Twitonomy, which we reviewed last week, to review your account or that of a competitor. However, you are also likely to want to go beyond monitoring individual accounts and look to monitor a particular topic or brand. You might want to know, for example:
- what discussions are taking place
- who are the influencers
- what content is being shared
The benefits of such monitoring are obvious, as you can see trending discussions, surface new content, engage in discussions, identify key influencers and reach out to them.
There are some very sophisticated paid tools that will help you with these tasks. Fortunately for smaller companies or individuals, there are also some great free tools that can help you with your Twitter monitoring and research. Below are some of the best free tools available; these are not free trials, but rather tools that are currently free to use. I have shown examples of the reports and dashboards so you can see what might work best for your purposes.
TweetReach is a Twitter analytics tool that provides monitoring reports about hashtags, topics, brand names, Twitter accounts or URLs. The reports provide in-depth social metrics on reach, exposure, tweets and contributors. TweetReach is a simple way to monitor a hashtag, brand, or keyword on Twitter.
Below is a sample report for the hashtag #learningawards, which was an awards event held recently. You can see:
- the total activity, including retweets and replies
- the top contributors and exposure levels
- the most retweeted tweets
- all contributors and tweets
TwazzUp is a real-time Twitter analytics tool that also covers Google news. It will highlight the influencers in your topic area, their tweets, other tweets on the topic and also the most retweeted links.
Below is a sample report for the topic ‘elearning’. You can see the influencers on the top left, and tweets by influencers on the top right, which you can expand. Lower down on the left, you can see the most retweeted links and Google news alerts. What is particularly nice about the TwazzUp dashboard is that you can rollover almost anything to get more information, such as details on influencers and retweeted links.
Topsy is a Twitter search and analytics tool that allows you to search Twitter for topics, influencers and much more.
Below is a sample report for the topic ‘elearning’. You can filter by date and by content types, such as videos and links. Topsy shows you the volume of tweets in the period selected and the sentiment. Topsy also shows you the top tweets and the key influencers for a particular topic.
See our previous article on six essential Twitter searches for marketers.
Each of these free tools has different strengths depending on your requirements. These are my preferences:
Researching a hashtag – If I am at an event and I want to gauge the Twitter activity I use TweetReach to see the activity, the reach and who the key contributors are.
Searching for Tweets on a specific subject – I use Topsy as my search engine. I filter by time period and frequently by content, for example if I want to see shared videos on a topic. I also see who the influencers are in the time period I am interested in.
Overview of current activity in a topic area – I like to use TwazzUp to see the current tweets, influencers, tweets by influencers and recently shared links. The dashboard layout works very well to provide an overview of current activity.
These free tools are a great starting point if you want to research a topic area or a brand on Twitter. For those that want to move beyond free tools we will be reviewing paid analytics and monitoring tools in our upcoming articles.
Column logo by Marie Otskua