Online research and analysis is often one of the first steps taken when working with a new client or your own company to start integrating social media into a communications plan. Depending on your focus, you likely have a determined set of keywords and phrases relevant to your company, competition and the industry that you’ll be researching to mine for insight and data.
There are of course excellent companies such as Radian6 that you can use to help develop an intial analysis and assist with continuous monitoring. But what if you’re a nonprofit or small company on a tight budget or just looking to get a snapshot digital survey to demonstrate to your CEO or director that there is a need to get engaged online?
Here are 5 free tools to assist with your surveying efforts:
Start big. This tool will help you look at the bigger trends and access data back to 2004 on a statewide level. Still confused on utility? Take a look at this great guide Google put together for examples of how to best use the tool.
Some measurable component of your social media efforts will likely entail driving traffic back to your website. Compete is a great way to benchmark efforts by comparing your company’s existing site to your competitors’ sites. Basic analytics are provided with the free version with the option for more details with a Pro Account.
From blogs to news, forums to videos, images to networks, this site is a great way to get a comprehensive look at existing online presence and conversations around keywords or topics. You will have to sort through some clutter but overall the return is very thorough.
Comments on news stories and blogs can obviously have a huge impact on the direction of conversation that results from readers interacting with a post or article. BackType can quickly help you track down where those conversations are taking place and who’s doing the chatting.
Certainly not to be ignored as Twitter continues to grow as a key site for conversation propulsion. However, take it a step further and be sure to capitalize on these 8 excellent tools to extract insights from Twitter streams (thanks @limyh !).
Whereas WhosTalkin’ is a comprehensive tracking site, BlogPulse can help dive deeper into trends and topical posts while even allowing you to track conversations around search results. Pair this with Google Blog Search and you’ll have the blogosphere covered.
Hope you find these useful for establishing a baseline snapshot of your digital landscape and feel free to comment with your own suggestions!