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Social media monitoring tools are used by a wide variety of companies and individuals to listen to what other people are saying about them on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. This is very advantageous because it allows them to monitor their reputation, track what people are saying about their competitors, and listen to conversations people are having on social media about their business. As far as monitoring tools go, there are many classes and types, ranging from enterprise suites that cost thousands of dollars per month for big companies to more affordable versions for bloggers looking for ideas on what to write. Check out this great video by Murray Newlands on social media monitoring tools:

Social media monitoring tools in the past

Prior to social networks, there was not much monitoring of what people said online compared to what there is today. However, companies would still log into forums and enter the discussions. Sometimes they would be upfront but other times they would use sock-puppets. Sock-puppets pose as regular forum posters and try to guide conversations in ways that are favorable to the company. However, they frequently do not work very well because it takes a long time to build up enough trust for this to work, and companies do not put in the effort to build up that trust. It’s pretty obvious that someone who has only has a few posts that are all defending a company is a sock-puppet, but it’s less obvious if it’s an established user who was created to become a trusted member of the forum and drive positive conversations about the company.

Why do companies monitor social media?

Some companies are required by law to monitor social media, like pharmaceutical companies to see if their drugs need to be recalled. Bloggers use monitoring tools because they will get more readers if they write about what people are talking about.