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Which social media monitoring tool works best for you?

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Social media has been getting a lot of hype in the past several years, yet it's simply another channel to communicate your message and market your product, just like traditional media. On the Internet, there are plenty of articles explaining the , differences between traditional and social media. In my humble opinion, the key difference between traditional and social is the ability to obtain real-time monitoring and dashboards.

I recently came across a social media monitoring tool infographic based on a survey conducted by Oneforty. The survey polled users of social media monitoring (SMM) about factors used to select SMM tools and how much they are willing to pay for those tools. In addition, the findings identified more than 40 free and paid SMM tools based on responses from the 150 social media professionals interviewed.

How do you know which SMM tools work the best for you?

Initially I was overwhelmed by the choices of different SMM tools. Before I selected an SMM tool, I decided to go back to basics: clearly define my marketing objectives and crisply articulate the success metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators). This helped me narrow down the prospective SMM tools.

I also came to realize that different campaigns might require different SMM tools. The reality is there is no single "best" or one-size-fits-all SMM tool. Most of the time, we need to use multiple SMM tools to track different social media platforms’ performance. To make matters worse, these SMM tools may provide conflicting data. As a marketing professional, it’s critical to apply your own judgment to make sense out of inconsistent or even incomplete data.

Unfortunately there is no single "best" tool out there. You may need to try several before you settle on which ones work best for you and your chosen social media strategies. The "best" depends on matching the available tools to your needs in a way that enables you to apply sound interpretations to the data provided.

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