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By B.L. Ochman

I’m willing to bet that – by the end of Q1 – the definitive social media monitoring tools will ultimately come from Google and Twitter. Both companies are working feverishly on developing the robust tools that are likely to put the more than 150 companies currently vying for social media monitoring budgets out to pasture.

But in the meantime, here’s a list of 11 free and paid social media monitoring tools marketers need to know. The ones that don’t list their prices on their websites are expensive, natch. :>) We’ll keep updating these as we try new ones. Please add your favorites to comments.

  • Twubs aggregates and organizes hashtag hubs, so hashtag users can not only get a comprehensive view of the information stream on a topic, but also can contribute photos, videos, and tweets, and edit Twubs information related to the hashtag.

You can also add a full name, description, logo/image, related links and feeds, and tags to edit hashtag information.

Twubs is searchable for the latest Tweets, Twitpics, and contributors. The downside is that nobody is the official owner of a hashtag on Twubs, so anyone can edit Twubs content. That makes it easy for someone who’s not a fan of a topic can create a reputation headache.

  • Trendistic is a tool that allows you to track trends on Twitter, similar to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into one-hour intervals.

You can enter a phrase (topic) in the Trendistic search box to see how its frequency varies over time, or several different topics separated by commas to see how they relate (each topic will show in the chart with a specific color): try comparing ‘dinner’ and ‘breakfast’ or ‘morning’ and ‘night’ for instance, to see how powerful it can be.

  • Twiangulate, in beta, was created by my friend and colleague, Henry Copeland, founder of It discovers hidden tweeters, friends of friends (or friends of enemies), micro-influentials who only insiders follow… or sometimes, just friends you haven’t yet seen Tweeting. These people are followed by two or three people you are already interested in, so they’re more likely to be important to you than those Twitter stars everybody follows.

A personal favorite, I find Twiangulate is a good way to find the inner circle around a well-known person.

  • SamePoint is a remarkably thorough conversation search engine that tracks – in real time and historically – and categorizes social media mentions, discussion points, bookmarks, wikis, networks, groups, microblogs, reviews, podcasts, documents, video, images, news and websites. There are tabs that let you drill down to results for each category.

It analyzes negative and positive sentiment by showing what it considers to be negative and positive words in the coverage. Its API is open to developers.

  • Scour is an interesting new social search engine that combines Google/Yahoo/MSN results and user comments all on one page. Users get rewarded for using it by collecting points with every search, comment and vote. The points are redeemable for Visa gift cards.
  • Tweepsearch and Follower Wonk are two that I use to search for influencers. Both let you enter keywords and then find the bios that contain those. So if you are looking for financial analysts, you find all the bios of people who use those words to describe themselves or their interests. My assumption is that keywords used in a 140-character Twitter bio are likely to be an important part of a person’s profile.

Both also tell how many followers the people have and how many people they follow. FollowerWonk can be searched by location.

  • TweetBeep is like Google alerts, but for Twitter. You get hourly updates on Tweets that mention you or any terms you choose. There are free and $20 a month premium versions. You can even keep track of who’s Tweeting about your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL like or
  • Twitter’s Advanced Search gets more comprehensive all the time. You can search on keywords, dates, links, location and sentiment, and it gets better and more robust all the time.
  • Spiral16 is a paid service with a human-guided data-validation process and 3D visual mapping, which allows clients to get comprehensive data in a visual format. In addition to social media, Spiral16 picks up data from reference sites, directories, non-traditional trade publications. Businesses can use Spiral16 to discover trends, measure advertising campaigns, and conduct research for new business.

Illustration by the always amazing Hugh Macleod at gapingvoid