From all the social media monitoring platforms I’ve tested this year, Position 2’s Brand Monitor has huge potential. It indexes, in real-time, all online relevant sources: blogs, forums, social media, social video, twitter and much more. A powerful spam-filter algorithm ensures that you only get relevant results in your dashboard. According to Brand Monitor, this algorithm learns from your actions and it is auto-correcting and bettering itself. If this sounds exciting, things get even better once you start using the service.
Like any other social media monitoring platform, this can only work if your brand has good presence online – if it doesn’t, you’d be just wasting your money. Position 2’s Brand Monitor is one of those PR services worth paying for, but don’t expect it to be a magic answer to your branding needs. Unlike Vocus News on Demand, that allows you to broadcast your message as well, Brand Monitor is strictly tracking, monitoring and analytics.
Real Time Brand Monitoring – the Obvious Value
It is not the most complex system – and it has no need to be. The value of having real time updates from Twitter, Google News, blogs and other sources under one roof is Brand Monitor’s greatest strength. The minimalist UI makes working with the platform a breeze. To better illustrate, we tracked Vocus, in a way a Position 2’s Brand Monitor competitor.
The first data you see in your dashboard is also the most relevant: number of today’s post (or brand mentions – a number that could change every time you refresh the page, due to Brand Monitor’s real-time index); a total of the week’s brand mentions; the buzz/week metric that shows the change in conversation for the specific period of time; the brand score, that tells how well a brand is doing online with relation to overall conversations, sentiment and influence; and a sentiment meter based on the number of positive, neutral and negative brand mentions for the week.
A visual graphic shows the volume of brand mentions for the month, allowing you to compare days and learn which were the times when your brand performed best. It also allows you to view the post sections to see all conversations about your brand on that particular day. This way you can identify which strategies to use to strengthen your brand’s presence online further.
Following all the data, a list of the most recent articles/posts/brand mentions, ordered chronologically be default, featuring article title, and a short snippet that gives you an initial idea about the source mentioning your brand.
Even here Brand Monitor has added some exciting new features other social media monitoring tools are lacking. In the screenshot above, you see a few icons that need no translation for the savvy web marketer, which are common for most social media monitoring tools:
- Clicking on the star near the post title, you bookmark the posts you like. This makes it easier for you to find them later.
- The thumbs icon is obvious as well – it allows you to identify the sentiment of the post: green thumbs up for positive sentiment, blue for neutral, and red thumbs down for negative.
- The trash can gets rid of unwanted/irrelevant posts. Brand Monitor does a good job of delivering the most relevant results, so it’s most likely that you will not need to use this icon too often. However, it feels good to be in control…
Under the post snippet, a number of other features:
- A share this button that allows you to share your favorite posts mentioning your brand via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Delicious and digg. This is the one feature many monitoring tools seem to ignore – in my opinion a very valuable addition to such platforms.
- This button is followed by the usual email feature, that allows users to share the news the old-fashioned way;
- Then assign to group – allowing collaborations if you are using your Brand Monitor account with your team;
- Notes – again an useful collaboration tool, that enables you to share your thoughts around a certain post;
- History – records all your actions related to the post, and those of your group (who bookmarked it, who changed the sentiment, etc)
- Spam – although Brand Monitor identifies spam on its own, the system is not perfect. Fortunately, it will learn from your actions.
Smart Filtering Makes Your Results More Relevant
By default, Brand Monitor orders posts chronologically, including all online sources. You can, however, select the results you want to see, by applying relevant filters:
- You can filter by sentiment (choosing to see only the negative posts for example, to address the issues);
- by media type (all, reviews, blogs, twitter, social networks, social video, forum, news and knowledge market);
- by date range (today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days and custom date);
- by groups (all, customer service, sales, R&D, top management, and marketing);
- and by filter type (bookmarks, read posts and unread posts).
The filtering allows you to get a clearer overview of the media channels where your brand performs the strongest, and to identify which are the channels that require a greater effort from your side. For some businesses, some online channels are more relevant than others – the filtering allows these to focus only on what matters for them, saving time in what otherwise could be a challenging task. The advantages are obvious, numerous – and sure, you can find them in most of the other monitoring tools. However, none has managed to make a clearer and easier to use UI.
Who Can Use Position 2 Brand Monitor?
I consider this a PR tool – it is its main use, after all. But the platform can also be used by SEOs to determine keyword popularity, for example, and to identify the niches where certain keyword phrases perform better than others.
As other media monitoring tools, Position 2 Brand Monitor can be used to track competitors as well – particularly recommended for early startups to understand the market. The real-time algorithm of Brand Monitor will let you know how customers are feeling about your competitors, and allows you to find opportunities to meet those customers’ needs and attract them to your business.
Use Brand Monitor to understand communities, to understand how they react to certain news and what triggers conversations.
In our business, we used it to get real-time news alerts for the businesses we monitored. We were among the first to report about Vocus Q3 Earnings, thanks to an alert from Position 2 Brand Monitor, that arrived before the email press release from Vocus.
Position 2 Brand Monitor is not exclusive to PRs – it is exclusive to online marketers from all niches. It is so easy to use that the need of an expert PR to make sense of these reports is eliminated. In fact, it makes monitoring PR campaigns (even DIY) a breeze.