For the longest time, if you wanted social media monitoring software, which is now being referred to as “social listening” software at a decible level hovering around obnoxious, but I digress, you had to pay about $500 per month for it. What that meant was social media monitoring wasn’t available to medium or small businesses.
While the market has gotten better with more affordable tools (SocialMention.com and ViralHeat.com even offer free solutions), you still have a large gap in quality and price, in my opinion. You also have a problem in the market in that many of the social media monitoring solutions (Radian6, Lithium Social Media Monitoring, Sysomos and the like) are adding features and gravitating to become much more social media management focused. They seem to have waned from monitoring and listening in an arms race to build the all-in-one platform brands seem to want.
Of course, that’s what happens when big companies acquire you. You are forced to find ways to make a lot more money fast. Losing focus is always going to be a post-acquisition issue.
SM2 recently launched a new social media monitoring (okay, listening) product last week that seems to fill that SMB gap in the monitoring space a bit. This SM2 product is not to be confused with the Alterian SM2 name which is a similar product from the same parent company but focuses on a more enterprise clientele. (Disclosure: SM2 is one of the most recent new advertisers here on Social Media Explorer. We thank them for their support!) Billed as software that brings enterprise class social media listening to small and mid-sized businesses, SM2 has a starting price point of $255 per month.
Depending upon your classification of small business, I’d argue that’s still not very affordable, but it’s a lot better than most of the paid solutions on the market (which start at around $500) and comes with the first 30-days free.
But SM2 seems to have the other issue fixed as well. They’re not trying to be everything to everyone. Clearly labeled as a social media listening platform, SM2 seems to be focused on doing that one thing very well. That’s refreshing in this day and age of social technology. I’ve told many companies you can’t just add one social media management feature or another, you’ve got to add them all or you’re less attractive than everyone else who seems to be building feature sets like ants build hills. SM2 seems content to just do monitoring and do it well. That will be attractive to some customers.
Then there’s the fact parent company SDL is already publicly traded and has profitable business lines through other software products. They’re not smashing things together and going for the enterprise dollar here. They’re filling a gap in the social media monitoring market.
And sometimes, filling a gap is enough to vault a company from a role player to a star.
I’ve not yet used SM2 but have looked at a demo of the product and know it well enough to say it has to be worth trying if you’re looking for a listening platform. Heck, for 30 days you can do that for nothing, so it can’t hurt.
Jump over and check them out. You can click on the ad over on the sidebar or check out SM2 on their website.
If you’re already using SM2, tell us about your experiences in the comments. If you’re not using them, is $255 per month a reasonable cost for a good listening platform? The comments are yours.