Pondering PR

Exploring how we choose to be heard in a noisy online world.

The Right Tool…

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To quote celebrity handyman Mike Holmes, the best approach to any project is determining if you have “the right tool for the right job.”

This week I explored three different free and one paid social media web analytic tools. Keep in mind that the free options all have subscription options; some plans are more expensive than others,  so I leave it up to you and your organization to determine if they are worth the money.


1. Hootsuite:

– multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress and Mixi with the option to add more under  their  “App Directory”
– ability to schedule social media postings in advance, and multiple social profiles at once
– compatible with multiple devices including SmartPhones and Tablets

What you get for free:
– Up to 5 social profiles, basic analytic reports, basic message scheduling, basic app integration, up to 2 RSS feed

What’s not good:

-Hootsuite Analytics are expensive (up to $50 per from purchased points)

– forced to use ow.ly url shorteners that are only usable within Ow.ly and Hootsuite

– issues with Facebook integration
– neat team features are a paid feature and expensive for small business


2. HowSociable?


-calculates brand impact scores (“magnitude score” 0-10)  from the 36 most popular social media sites.

– it breaks down scores for different social media platforms so that “you can see where your brand is most active.”

What you get for free:

– 1 brand 12 metrics, limited features

What’s not good:

-to get the most from your account, a plan is needed to scan the full 36 sites, as well as the top 360 mentions and pages

-the magnitude score needs context for it to make sense

-can be inconsistent with its tracking results


 3. Mention:



– monitor in real time allowing users to be able to react in seconds

-export your data

-analyze by tonality, source and language

-access mention from anywhere

-alert emails that take you straight to source of a comment

What you get for free:

-unfortunately not much – you are allowed 1 user, tracking one key word at 100 mentions/month

What’s not good:

-the features of sharing and assigning tasks to your team is available when you purchase additional plans at $29.99/month (1 user 29.99, 3 users 69.99, etc), while you get a month free with the business plan purchase, for a small business starting off it gets expensive


Sprout Social:


-real time social metrics, 15 Min average tracking times, weekly data visualization reports
– view all of your social channels and profiles at once via their “smart inbox” via single, filterable stream
-assign tasks to teams and create support tickets without leaving Sprout, track conversation history
– post messages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn simultaneously, shorten url addresses
-customize reports incorporating your own brand, with easy .pdf or CSV export options

Free trial with full options, then from $39-59-99/month

What’s not good:
– You are not able to “like” posts from Sprout’s platform – but you can respond
– Missing an influencer search option

– $39/month is expensive for new users





Author: Cindy Tate

A Ryerson University, distance education student through the Chang School, I am pursuing a Public Relations Certificate while working full time as a municipal employee.

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