18 SocialMention

Karina Puskorius



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.

The Homepage

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.

The Results Page

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.


To Google or not to Google? Copyright © 2013 by Karina Puskorius. All Rights Reserved.


3 Responses to SocialMention

  1. axie on December 3, 2012 at 3:32 am says:

    The very first sentence after the introduction seems a bit overly complicated and is hard to read/comprehend at first glance.

    Under “Specialized search strategies,” the paragraph talking about using Advanced Search begins with two sentences that are very repetitive. It’d be best to get rid of the first sentence and keep the one with the link to the Advanced Search feature on the SocialMention website.

    In the “Instructions” section of the article, there are several times where lines of text are broken by spaces, and there are occasions where there is no space between a period and the next word, such as “trend.Underneath.” This may have to do with how the text auto-wraps around the images inserted in line with the paragraph.

    Other than these several areas I identified, everything looks very clean and well-written. It’s clear you actually took time to proof read this before the deadline, so it is already well refined from a language perspective; just a few more tweaks here and there, and it’ll be completed.

    The content in this article was very strong. I feel very comfortable using SocialMention from just reading through your very detailed instructions, and I’ve never looked at the actual website before.

    I like that you went a step beyond just talking about comparing Google search to SocialMention by also discussion how it relates to Google Trends, which is considerably different than a regular Google search.

    The length felt a little bit long, but with such detailed and value-added information in the article, there’s not much you can do about that.

    The formatting around text-wrap in the middle of the article threw me off a little when I was reading through. Though the images might be small, it could be a better alternative to simply have them in separate lines. This could prevent unexpected formatting issues with text line breaks.

    You did a good job of coloring in key specific points in the instructions page. It maybe worth trying to do this with other sections as well, albeit sparingly.

    The images were all very good and helped me understand the instructions part of the article very well; they definitely weren’t there to take up space. Some of them appeared small and were difficult to read on the page, so it might be worth resizing them. However, I was still able to read them clearly after clicking them and going to the new tab.

    This was a great chapter, and after a few touches, I think it’ll be prime publication form!

  2. djcam on December 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm says:

    This chapter summarizes the key concepts of SocialMention in a well organized manner. There are a few formatting issues that get in the way of the reader’s ability to fully appreciate the chapter’s content and a few grammatical errors and awkward sentences to be tweaked before its publication.

    One very positive aspect of this chapter is its length. Some of these chapters are way too long and contain redundant or obvious material that should be excluded. Your chapter is long enough to cover everything necessary, but doesn’t drag on to the point that the reader is forced to start skimming.

    Your first screen shot in the introduction section is a little bit too small and loses value because the text is extremely difficult to read without clicking on it, forcing the reader to navigate away from your page.

    Many of the images could also do with increased margins. For example, the first screen shot within the “The Homepage” section is surrounded by text at an uncomfortable proximity. Increasing the whitespace around the image would really enhance the section’s visual appeal.

    The next image isn’t wrapped by the text at all and since it’s a tall, narrow screen shot, it would look better if it did float next to one side of the text.

    In the “The Homepage” section two sentences from the first paragraph aren’t separated by a space, “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…”

    Also, in this section there is a strange line break and skipped line in the middle of the word book, “Unfortunately though, at the time of this b

    ook being written…”

    In your “The Results Page” section sections 1 and 2 (Strength and Sentiment) have their numbers overlapping with the screen shot to the left.

    Within this section you first have a numbered list and then a bulleted list, which seems a little inconsistent to me. I’d recommend standardizing your lists to either numbers of bullets.

    For the bulleted list in this section the first three bullets begin with a bolded word that sort of acts like a title for your paragraphs. The last two bullets have transition words before the bolded words and I think your section would be enhanced if these non-bolded transition words (Similarly, and Finally, the) were removed.

    Also, within this section your screen shots (Top Users, Top Hashtags, etc.) aren’t centered within the page. Doing so would improve its aesthetics.

    I would definitely recommend reading your chapter out loud to yourself. There are a few run-on sentences and a few awkwardly phrased sentences that could do with some modification. Reading your writing out loud is one of the best ways to expose such writing hiccups. I mentioned this same strategy in my last comment, but this technique seems valuable for your chapter as well.

    Similarly to what I said about your length, I feel the quality and quantity of analysis in your chapter is spot on. You don’t get into a redundancy of information, but your accurately highlight SocialMention’s strengths, weaknesses and general functionality in a very insightful way. Your whole chapter sets itself up very well for the comparison with Google in your final section. This comparison is also quite insightful and excludes trivial remarks. The use of a comparison table is a very nice touch that makes the section clearer to the reader.

    Closing Remarks
    All in all a great chapter that only seems to require slight modification before it’s ready to go!

  3. siyuche on December 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm says:

    Great Chapter and hopefully my revision may help you make it better!

    Formatting and writing: In terms of writing, there are no misspelling or so, but there are several places in this paragraph that you accidently have typed in extra spaces between two words, such as under “how to use – home page” section, right after Buzz Widget, you put in an extra space; under “the results page” section, the first sentence “Now on to the capabilities on the results page” is fragmented; one paragraph after it, there is an extra space between “page” and “metrics”; when talking about “top hashtags, ” there is an extra space between “number” and “of”; when comparing with Google web search, there are two extra spaces in the sentence “as the two engines are used for…that are constantly..”; there are three extra spaces in the following paragraph first sentence; and there is an extra space between “very” and “few” in the sentence “As said before, the social world is still very new.”

    In terms of formatting: I will suggest not put the screenshots surrounded by the texts because it is a little bit hard to follow for the audience. Some of the screenshot is extremely small, such as the one under “the results page” section, I will suggest make it bigger and readable for the audience. I like the analysis when you number “strength” “sentiment” and etc. metrics, which make this section easy to read and follow. After these two metrics, you mention there are some other features on the site and label them using bullet points, I also think it is a good way for organization.

    Analysis and reasoning: I like the overall breakdown analysis regarding different features that Socialmention provides throughout the chapter, very logical. I will just say add some more personal experience that you have when researching on the site and worthy to share with others. This may add on one more row in the chart of comparison with Google, that is, having a new row accounting for “what is the most effective way to use the site” and you could just bring your recommendation into the chart saying that Google is good for information search while Socialmention is good for gauging the social power of a certain topic.

    Great Chapter and I have learned a lot about Socialmention for your chapter!

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