Finally there is small business social listening platform that is affordable. Mentionlytics has arrived on the scene after a quiet launch in July of last year. The startup, originally begun in Greece but with offices in New York and London now, offers a strong set of social listening features for under $50 per month, putting it right in the crosshairs of a small business platform.
A basic account, which includes three keywords and a set volume on mentions — good for a true small business or startup, depending on what keywords you’re interested in — is just $29 per month.
The tool covers more than just basic social media, claiming to extend to “every website.” My early testing shows that it does, in fact, pull from forums, message boards, blogs and other websites. It includes the basics — sentiment, demographics, per-channel toggle and the like — and some advanced features only found in expensive tools, including a modest influencer identification tool and a level of basic filtering.
What’s even more sexy is Mentionlytics’s per-channel reports that can be seen on screen or output as a PDF, making it easy to see and even print something for your bosses or colleagues to see.
The challenges this platform faces, as any new or small business social listening tool will, is that it’s immature. The sentiment scoring is average at best, meaning there’s a good chance more than 60-70 percent of your results will turn up “neutral.” This isn’t holistically different in other tools.
The keyword construction is also very limited. You can search for one primary keyword and add a positive or negative qualifier, but that limits the results to just that keyword AND the qualifier. There’s no traditional Boolean construction to amend it to be OR, etc. So if you’re trying to do conversation research, you’re going to be limited to what you can gather. Even for a brand name, this keyword construction is problematic. With only three keywords and the presence of AND qualifying, brand names that include common words (i.e. Kindred Healthcare, Enterprise Rental Car, Southwest Airlines) would only return noisy and ambiguous results.
The influencer identification tool is also immature. I set up a search for a basic conversation research thread searching for any conversation with the words “swimsuit” “bathing suit” or “bikini” and the qualifying terms “buy” or “shopping.” One particular influencer popped up on the read out that concerned me. It was a man who was a fiction writer. He had retweeted a contest for a bikini a fellow author was running. But he had 33,000 followers, so he made it on the list. So there’s a vast lack of context meaning the results are solely based on keyword frequency within the profile of people with a lot of followers.
But my criticisms of small business social listening platforms should be taken with a grain of salt. I use these platforms for far more reasons that most small businesses ever will. I’m comparing it to the industry’s Aston Martins.
Bottom line, Mentionlytics is a low-priced, entry point for small business social listening in a very stark sea of options. Most social listening platforms get funding and their investors force them to focus on the enterprise. (My company, Conversation Research Institute, is currently working on our own solution for SMBs. Stay tuned.) This one gives small and medium businesses something to leverage that won’t break the bank.
And my initial discussions with them lead me to believe they will be one of those startups that improves rapidly. So give them a try or keep an eye out for a more mature product and feature set in the months to come from Mentionlytics.