Social Media Monitoring 101

March 16, 2014

The fifth stage in our journey through participatory advertising focuses on Listening. The  Advertising Research Foundation defines “listening” in these terms:

ARF listen first


The study of naturally occurring conversations, behaviours, and signals that may or may not be guided, that brings the voice of people’s lives into the brand (Stephen Rappaport, 2011 – see the ARF’s Listen First Blog)

Many major advertisers have started taking this activity very seriously. One of the first big players to have understood the importance of social media monitoring is Dell. In 2010 already, Michael Dell officially unveiled the Dell Social Media Command Center.


Today, some social media monitoring dashboards like SDL SM2 and Radian 6 or Synthesio or TalkWalker, enable you to fine tune to your audience and listen in to whatever conversation involves your brand, your competitors, your products, your keywords or whatever subject is relevant to them, to you. Here is a presentation of the possibilities of such a programme.

Another actor in this listening field is Simplify 360°, who have just shared an interesting slideshare entitled “10 reasons why social media monitoring matters”. Let us consider at their 10 reasons, they serve as a validation of the listening approach we are suggesting here and providing some more reasons to integrate monitoring in our marketing communication strategy:

Now, the sophistication of these programmes should not make us lose sight of the core element: people and conversations are central, not the technology. The technology is there to help you do a job that is suited to your needs. Not the other way round: adapt your needs and your questions to the possibilities of the technology.

This is why it is necessary to insist on the fact that listening is a people-centric process that also involves simple tools, many of them free tools that can more easily be implemented by SME, by start-ups, by individuals like students or researchers. The process can involve a wide range of tools, from very basic RSS readers to expensive expert programmes such as those we mentioned above, Radian 6, TalkWalker, Synthesio, Social Bakers, … Somewhere half-way between those two extremes are alert programmes, such as Alerti, that help you set up alerts to whatever is important for you to catch online.

In LIVErtising 14.5 the aim is to introduce a series of possibilities at all levels of sophistication, from basic to very advanced. Here is the complete slide deck for you to download and work on at your ease, visiting the set of tools presented there:

In a second post to follow, devoted to online monitoring, we’ll walk you through the second set of tools presented in the keynote above: listening basics and analytics. This will complete the tour of the listening fundamentals and advanced listening which we offered during the live lecture last Tuesday.

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3 Comments. Leave new

Mister Ranschaert,

Sorry to disturb you again but i don’t really understand the difference between Topsy and Radian 6 concepts.

Thanks for your attention!


Hello Cyrielle,
Have you visited the Topsy and Radian 6 webpages? I suggest doing that for all the webtools we have discussed.
You’ll see that a big difference is that Radian 6 is a paying platform, fully professional and very expensive. Youtube videos ( will give you an idea of how far such programmes, like SM2 and Synthesio, Talkwalker or Simplify 360° can go.
Topsy is a freemium model. The free version is first a social media search engine with bonuses attached. For example, by going to the settings, you’ll be able to create alerts (like Google Alerts) sent to your email address. You can also spot and compare trends and create a twitter analytics dashboard. The PRO version is paying and comes close to the capabilities of Radian 6, i.e. full automated monitoring.
Is this clearer? You’ll get even more by trying out Topsy for your own research, and watching the Radian 6 video, or any of its competitors.


Yes, it’s clearer! Thanks you for everything!


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