Marketing has always been an inexact science that mixes creative, intangible principles with attempts to measure them quantitatively. As a result, measuring metrics like your company’s brand reach or perception in social-media networks is not all that precise.
First, there is Social Mention. Users of Google Alerts already know that the search-engine will send you an e-mail whenever a specific word or phrase appears on websites and blogs. Social Mention does something similar in social-networking websites. The alerts also analyze text, emoticons, and symbols to gauge whether the sentiment is generally “positive,” “neutral,” or “negative.” The service is free.
Second, there is Alert Rank. It does the same thing as Social Mention, but also provides a usable interface that easily lets users create charts and graphs to gauge the sentiment’s metrics as positive or negative.
Third, there are multiple ways to analyze Twitter feedback: Twitter Search, Twitter Sentiment, Twitrrar, and Twendz. They each analyze positive and negatives in slightly-different ways, but the main distinctions between them are that each has a different limitation. Twitter Search measures only emoticons and does not provide a graphical analysis. Twitter Sentiment analyzes only the most-recent page of search results. Twitrrar does not search history at all. Twendz looks at the seventy most-recent tweets for a keyword.