I’m excited to write about a new product we’re launching called the Social Media Monitor, which is an important step toward our vision of offering a comprehensive platform to measure, analyze, and act on your social media engagement.  In a nutshell, the Wildfire Monitor gives users the ability to compare the growth of several social objects over time. Think of it as Compete.com for the social world.  At launch, the objects we support include Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

The utility of the Monitor is probably best illustrated by example, so let’s dig in.  All a user needs to do is enter the name of one or more Facebook pages or Twitter accounts.  Conveniently, you don’t need to know someone’s Twitter screen name as we let you search using real names, too.  In fact, we try to make it as easy as possible by providing intelligent suggestions as soon as you start typing.

Say you’d like to compare a series of brands on both Facebook and Twitter to see their respective reach and growth over time.  Perhaps one of these brands is your own, so you’re interested in evaluating how you stack up against the competition. Let’s take some of the largest U.S. retailers as an example: Walmart vs Target vs Amazon.

Results of a comparison on Social Media Monitor

Notice that in terms of Facebook fans, Walmart and Target were neck and neck until September, after which Target took the lead and has been steadily leaving its competition behind.  A recent surge in November and December puts the gap between Target and the #1 US Retailer at around 600,000 fans.  The Facebook fan count for Amazon is considerably smaller than the previous two, but don’t count them out just yet.

Examining Twitter followers reveals that Amazon’s deal Tweets (@amazondeals) have a bigger audience than its competitors’ equivalents, and the buzz around Black Friday and Cyber Monday has given the E-tailer a significant follower boost, whereas the others failed to grow any faster than previously in the year.

Now that you had a first look at the results, say you suddenly remembered that you left out a relevant comparison point, Sears.  Easy! Just click the “Add more” link on the results page, and you can include other objects in the comparison. Similarly, you can remove any objects you no longer care to compare.  Check out our retail example with Sears added into the mix: Walmart vs Target vs Amazon vs Sears.

[caption id="attachment_1377" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Various features available in Social Media Monitor"]Features of the Social Media Monitor[/caption]

So now your comparison is exactly the way you want it, and you’re really pleased with how it looks, so you’re eager to show others.  Well, the Monitor is equipped with all the sharing features you’d expect: you can email a link to the comparison, Like it on Facebook, Tweet about it, or even embed the growth chart on your blog or website.

[caption id="attachment_1375" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Sharing a Comparison on Social Media Monitor"]Sharing a Comparison on Social Media Monitor[/caption]

Lastly, say you’re curious to keep track of this comparison week after week.  We have you covered: just subscribe to the email alerts and every 7 days we’ll send you an email with the current state of the objects you compared as well as the growth since the last update.  Now you don’t have to constantly check the social networks for updated fan counts (but you could still do that for fun, of course).
Tracking social media fan bases is valuable not just for big brands and consumer products; interesting findings can be uncovered in all sorts of domains.  For instance, with College Football Bowl Season just around the corner, we had a look at how the Top 5 BCS-ranked teams are doing in the social space: Auburn vs Oregon vs TCU vs Stanford vs Wisconsin.  Looks like the Badgers are #1 when it comes to Facebook fans, but Oregon’s hot on their trail, doubling their fan count in the last two months!

[caption id="attachment_1409" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="BCS National Championship Game: Auburn vs Oregon"]Comparison for the BCS National Championship Game[/caption]

What will you compare with the Wildfire Social Media Monitor? We’re curious to hear about any interesting social media success stories you find.