Social media monitoring helps to find niche audiences

In addition to big names like Cision and Vocus, a new crop of monitoring services dedicated to social media have recently surfaced.

In addition to big names like Cision and Vocus, a new crop of monitoring services dedicated to social media have recently surfaced. With more choices, PR pros are increasingly selecting services that fit their particular needs.

Brian Solis, principal at FutureWorks PR, recently cofounded BuzzGain, a do-it-yourself PR site. In addition to providing information on reporters and bloggers, BuzzGain sorts unconventional pundits and influencers who are covering a particular subject.

“The biggest gripe that PR people have is they don't have time to create one-on-one influences [for] everyone in the blogosphere,” he says. “But if you can identify who are the most influential and authoritative, you can reach a wide audience.”

Adam Metz, founder of social Web strategy consulting firm Metz, says smaller clients should seek services that offer data stacked by levels of influence so information can be used for reverse targeting.

“Reverse targeting is for when the big guy won't take your call,” he says. “If [prominent tech reporter] Sarah Lacy wont return your e-mails, you figure out who [Lacy] reads and picks up and you target them.”

Marcel LeBrun, CEO of Radian6, which offers a tool designed to listen and engage in online conversations, says there are a number of factors to consider when selecting a monitoring tool.

“You really want to consider the depth and breadth of the monitoring they need,” he says. “You also need to consider whether the tool is monitoring all of social media. Blog monitoring is one dimension, but now you have videos, Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn and other emerging properties that are important conversation platforms.”

Key Points:

PR pros can enlist social monitoring tools of varying scopes and sizes, so identify client needs

Large clients will need real-time monitoring, while others can use tools that aggregate small conversations

Reverse tracking is useful for clients that might not be as attractive to big-name influencers

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