We are in the midst of selecting a social monitoring and engagement platform for one of our client’s social programs. The client is starting from scratch to establish an effective social presence, build a following and engage their audience. They have the opportunity to be a content leader in their market.

We won’t even scratch the surface on the full analysis in this post, but the headline is: Chose carefully, test first and don’t lock in. There are a lot of changes in this space including acquisitions and consolidations and different tools are likely going to be needed for different purposes – from engagement to sentiment analysis and influencer tracking.

We know that the client will need a solid social monitoring and engagement platform over time and there are new entrants every day to join early platforms like Radian6. We have taken a look at Sysomos, Spredfast, Radian6, HootSuite, CoTweet, and Traackr among a few others. Amazingly, we are getting very poor results with some of the tools where our search terms are not returning meaningful results. Some of the tools are far better suited for broad-based brand listening rather than focused subject influence.

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