According to Professor Moore in his lecture “Social search”, SocialMention is a social analytics site. In other words, SocialMention is a real time search platform that one can use to search various social media outlets to see what is being said about a certain topic and to analyze the topic’s social mentions. Created by Jon Cianciullo, SocialMention searches and aggregates user-generated content across a vast amount of social media sites, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. SocialMention then returns results from these sites that mention the searched topic in a single stream of information. As a social search site, this tool should be used when trying to gauge the influence and impact of one’s topic of interest in the social media universe.
Accessing SocialMention is really simple. Just go to http://socialmention.com/.
Specialized search strategies
Using a social search site does not require any specific strategies, but knowing a few tricks could be useful when searching on SocialMention. First, it is important to note that not all topics will present very good results in a social search. Because of this, queries should be kept relatively simple. This will ensure that relevant results are not overlooked. If there are too many results, SocialMention provides many ways for results to be filtered down. The best topics to search for using SocialMention are ones that are trending, with recent news and updates, as SocialMention provides real-time results.
Next, if an initial search presents many irrelevant results, it may help to search the topic in a phrase (using double-quotes around the topic, for example “Michigan football”). Again, this will provide more precise and relevant results.
Because social search is a very new and unsettled area, more search strategies will almost certainly be developed as people begin to use social search more frequently.
Another way to make the best of SocialMention is to take advantage of its Advanced Search. SocialMention also has a great Advanced Search feature as seen below. The Advanced Search allows you to exclude words from searches, include words or phrases in searches, and search by source, date, and location. While you can do these things in many parts of the site, it is nice that the Advanced Search feature allows you to do it all on one screen.
How to use
SocialMention has a number of various capabilities in order to make social search easier and relevant for each user. There is a lot to learn about SocialMention, so let’s get started.
First, when looking at the homepage, there (like always!) is a search bar to enter the desired query to search and analyze. Underneath the search bar appear trends, which are popular queries from recent searches. In the image below, you can see that such topics as “Notre Dame football” and “Airline Baby Ban” are trending. Clicking on any one of the trending queries will bring the user right to the results page of the trend.Underneath the trending topics, SocialMention provides an easy way to create a “Social Media Alert”, which is basically a free email alert that is received daily on the topic that a user chooses (not shown in image). Unfortunately though, at the time of this book being written, the “create an alert” button was disabled. Alongside the Social Media Alerts, there is a Realtime Buzz Widget, which you can download to track and display real-time stories on a website or blog.
There are a number of ways to filter a search from the home screen. First, one can filter the different types of social media outlets to search through. The options include blogs, microblogs, networks, bookmarks, comments, events, images, news, videos, audio, questions, and all. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to choose more than one type of media outlet (unless “All” is chosen). By clicking on the drop-down arrow next to the search bar on the home screen (as seen below), one can view the different types of media outlets to filter from.
SocialMention also allows its users to filter searches on the homescreen by social media source, rather than by category of social media. Underneath the search bar exists a link called “or select social media sources”, which displays the following media sources. Just simply check the box next to each source that you want to search through.
When finally choosing which category (or what media source) to search through, click “Search”, and SocialMention will “search content from across the universe” to deliver results.
Now on to the capabilities on the results page. The results screen displays the most recent mentions of the topic in order of most to least recent. As seen to the right, for example, when searching for “michigan football”, the first result, from Twitter, mentioned the topic 8 minutes ago, whereas the fifth result, from Facebook, mentioned “michigan football” 55 minutes ago. No filters were used to conduct the search. One can also sort the results by source, and filter by time (within the last hour, the last day, etc.) at the top of the page. SocialMention also shows the number of mentions that it has retrieved. In this case, there were 370 mentions of “michigan football” retrieved from all social media sites that it searched. The top of the results page includes a search bar where one can modify the search. Along the top of the search bar are the different categories of social media outlets that can be used to filter the search.
To the very left at the top of the results page, metrics are displayed that analyze the power of the topic in the social world, and can be used to gauge the topic’s social media presence and influence.
SocialMention provides the following metrics and descriptions:
- Strength: It is basically the measure of your “buzz”. AKA the likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media. (Strength is calculated by dividing phrase mentions within the last 24 hours by total possible mentions).
- Sentiment: This is a ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative. Calculations for how SocalMention determines the positivity or negativity of a mention are not given.
- Passion: This metric measures the likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly. For instance, is it a small group of people always talking about the topic, or does it have wide reach with relatively few mentions per person?
- Reach: The final metric is a measure of influence, and is calculated by dividing the number of unique authors referencing the topic by the total number of mentions.
The metrics also include such things as average time per mention, the last mention, the number of unique authors, and the number of retweets, which also can all be used to gauge social power. Thus, on average, a user mentions “michigan football” on a social media site every 13 minutes. The last mention of “michigan football” (which was the first tweet in the above results page) was 8 minutes ago.
Underneath the metrics, still on the left hand side of the page, SocialMention provides a number of ways to further filter one’s search. One can filter by sentiment, top keywords, top users, top hashtags, and sources.
- Sentiment lists the mentions under the positive, neutral, and negative categories. Again, there is no way of knowing how SocialMention decides whether a mention is positive, negative, or neutral. As seen below, the majority of “michigan football” mentions are neutral.
- Top keywords are the most frequently used words in the mentions of the topic, along with the number of times the keyword is mentioned with the topic. The top keywords when searching for “michigan football” are football, michigan, and ohio (this was written right around the time of the Michigan-OSU football game):
- Top users are the authors who frequently mention the search phrase along with the number of times they have mentioned it. It seems to show the number of mentions from a certain time period (not all-time numbers). Below are the three users that have mentioned “michigan football” the most. The #3 user, mgovideo, has mentioned “michigan football” 15 times.
- Similarly, Top hashtags shows the most frequently used hashtags with the searched topic, with the number of times mentioned. The top 3 hashtags used most frequently with “michigan football” in a mention are #football, #goblue, and #michigan (with 7 uses of each hashtag):
- Finally, the Sources are those that are included in the search along with the number of results that come from each source. This seems a bit confusing, as the total amount of results per source adds up to greater than the number of mentions that SocialMention stated it displayed (370, at the top of the results page). According to SocialMention, 100 results are from photobucket, 99 from Twitter, and 50 from YouTube, the top 3 sources used in the search for “michigan football”.
To filter by any of the above topics, just simply click on the word. For instance, if one only wants to look at mentions that have a positive sentiment, click on positive. It is possible to filter by more than one category. Further, it is important to note that these numbers constantly change, as SocialMention searches through real-time information.
Comparison with Google Web search
It is difficult to compare SocialMention search with Google Web search, as the two engines are used for very different types of searches. SocialMention, as a social search engine, is better used for searches about topics that are constantly changing in the social media universe, such as people, brands, recent news, and sports. Google Web, which sometimes provides results from Twitter and Facebook, is not used as a real-time engine to monitor the social power of a topic. For instance, when searching “michigan football”, Google’s first few results are from Michigan’s Official Athletic Site and ESPN, as compared to SocialMention, whose top results are always changing because they are the most recent mentions. Further, SocialMention’s results only consist of social media sites, as opposed to Google, which searches through a much wider variety of sites.
The quality of results returned by SocialMention are not always the best in terms of providing information about a certain topic. One has to remember though that SocialMention is a site for analyzing and gauging the social impact of a certain topic, not necessarily for searching for information on the topic.
SocialMention’s metrics are very comparable to Google Trends, in terms of its ability to analyze a certain topic. Both sites seem to do a similar job in terms of depth and accuracy of analysis. Similarly, SocialMention’s filters allow it to easily narrow down the query to what the user wants. SocialMention’s filters are comparable to Google as well (because they are effective and easy to use).
While Google uses suggested searches, SocialMention does not yet offer any suggestions. As said before, the social search world is still very new, so this may eventually be added to SocialMention’s platform.
Below is a table comparing SocialMention’s basic capabilities with those of Google:
How to get the most out of it
The preferences of SocialMention are very simple. One can change the results to be shown in a certain language, and can choose how many results to show per page. The default setting is 10 results per page, and that results are shown in any language. Unless the user knows how to speak multiple languages, it may be a good idea to search for results in one’s own language. While most results seem to be in the language that the computer being used is set on, some also are not. Changing this setting ensures that all results will be usable and readable. On the other hand, if only using SocialMention to analyze the metrics in the left-hand toolbar, using any language may not matter.
As already mentioned, SocialMention is a great tool to use when wanting to gauge the social power of a certain topic. It could be extremely useful for someone who runs his or her own business and wants to see whether the company or brand is being talked about, and to analyze the social power of the company or brand (or the person!). It is also great for looking at trending topics in the social media universe.
This site should not be used to search for information on a certain topic. Most mentions that SocialMention provides as results contain no relevant information about the searched topic–they are literally just when a social media user mentions the topic. When actually searching for information on a topic, stick to Google’s web search, which will provide much more informative and precise results on the topic. Google’s operators also make searching for information about a certain topic easier and will allow for the results to be more precise.
SocialMention. http://socialmention.com/: The site the chapter is based on.
“Social Search”, Moore, Scott. http://bk4a.com/bit330f2012/lesson-unit/1669/social-search: Used to include information on the How to Use section and Introduction.
“How to Use Social Mention”. http://www.grovo.com/social-mention: Used for the How to Use section.
“10 Step Tutorial for Using Social Mention”. http://personalweb.about.com/od/easyblogsandwebpages/ss/10-Step-Tutorial-For-Using-Social-Mention.htm: Used for the How to Use Section.
About the Author
Karina Puskorius is a student at the University of Michigan at the Ross School of Business. She is originally from Novi, MI and is graduating in December 2012. She plans to move to New York City in the summer of 2013 to begin her career in finance as an investment banking analyst at Deutsche Bank. She loves to travel and hopes to travel Italy in the off-months between graduating school and starting her full-time job. She can also speak fluent Lithuania and is a very big foodie. She cannot wait to explore the huge variety of restaurants in the city.