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 [Source: This article was Published in searchengineland.com - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Patrick Moore]

Social media provides an enormous pool of insights into your market and competitors. These social listening tools bring those insights right to the surface.

People have always talked about brands and products. They’ve praised and complained about companies in the dining rooms, by the water cooler, over the phone. With the rise of social media, this previously intangible word-of-mouth has finally become measurable — and thus amplifiable — for businesses. Social media listening, the process of using a tool to monitor online mentions of a brand (or anything else), gives companies access to that data.

For this post, we’ve put together a list of 7 most robust social media monitoring tools to bring you real-time insights on your customers, market, and competition.

1. Awario

Awario is a relative newcomer to the social media monitoring and analytics scene. Its ambition is to make social media insights affordable for any brand, be it a startup, an international company, or a digital agency. With pricing plans starting at $29/mo, Awario offers Enterprise capabilities (from Boolean search to Sentiment Analysis to Share of Voice) included in every plan.

You can use Awario to monitor mentions of your brand, competitors, industry, or set up queries for the less obvious use cases. For instance, the app lets you identify guest blogging opportunities, discover content ideas, and find industry influencers to partner with. That’s where the tool’s flexible Boolean search mode comes in handy: it lets you create complex queries that will satisfy even the nerdiest of marketers.

On top of social media, Awario covers news, blogs, and the entire web to give you a holistic picture of your brand’s online presence.

Supported platforms

Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, news, blogs, the web.

Customer rating

  4.5/5 (Capterra).

Reviewers mention Awario’s affordability, Boolean search, influencer marketing capabilities, and excellent customer support as the main pros.

Pricing

There’s a free trial that lets you test Awario out before settling on one of its paid plans.

awario pricing 2

2. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a suite of 3 tools for marketing and PR teams. Its Audiences product lets you find groups of people based on your targeting rules, such as demographic criteria and interests. It lets you better understand your customers by analyzing their social media posts and pinpointing what sets them apart from the general public.

Vizia is a visualization tool that lets you build custom dashboards based on Brandwatch data. Vizia also works with third-party tools, such as BuzzSumo and Google Analytics, to give you a comprehensive way to measure your marketing efforts.

The company’s social media monitoring tool is called Analytics. It comes equipped with image recognition, API access, and analytical dashboards that can be downloaded as PowerPoint presentations in a click.

Supported platforms

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, VK, QQ, blogs, news, the web.

Customer rating

   4/5 (Capterra).

The tool’s users love its media coverage and customizable dashboards. The biggest con is its cost.

Pricing

Brandwatch offers 3 plans to choose from. There’s no free trial, but you can contact the team for a demo of the product.

brandwatch pricing

3. Hootsuite

If you aren’t looking for an in-depth social media monitoring tool, but would rather opt for something that offers publishing, collaboration, and monitoring features, Hootsuite is an excellent choice.

While the app itself doesn’t monitor sources beyond social media, it offers many useful integrations with tools like Brandwatch and Reputology for your reputation management needs. Some of those are free, while some need to be purchased as add-ons.

Supported platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. More sources available via integrations.

Customer rating

  4.5/5 (Capterra).

Users love Hootsuite’s user-friendly layout and the fact that it supports all major social networks for scheduling.

Pricing

Hootsuite has a free trial that lets you play around with the tool before you jump on one of its three paid plans.

hootsuite pricing

4. Meltwater

Meltwater is an Enterprise media intelligence tool. While not a dedicated social listening solution (Meltwater also offers PR and social media management capabilities), it includes robust tools for monitoring mentions of your keywords across the Internet.

Meltwater’s strength is the analytics the software provides: it lets you create custom dashboards with metrics that matter to you, from audience demographics to the reach of the social media chatter around your brand.

Supported platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, news, the web, broadcast.

Customer rating

 3.5/5 (Capterra).

The biggest pros mentioned by users are Meltwater’s coverage and powerful reports, with the main downside being its cost.

Pricing

Meltwater’s social media monitoring package is priced at $15,000/year. For more information, you’ll need to talk to the company’s sales team.

5. Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a perfect social media listening tool for big brands and agencies. Apart from providing you with the latest mentions of your brand and competitors, Talkwalker offers powerful analytics that let you spot trends in the buzz around your keywords. It goes beyond basic reporting by analyzing your audience’s demographics, occupation, and interests. It also builds powerful word clouds that let you identify hashtags that are most commonly used together with your keyword.

On top of tracking conversations across social media channels and the web, Talkwalker monitors print and TV mentions. Image recognition is also available in the Enterprise plan.

Supported platforms

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, blogs, news, the web, print, TV.

Customer rating

 4.5/5 (Capterra).

Customers mention Talkwalker’s ease of use, extensive coverage, and real-time alerts as the main pros.

Pricing

Talkwalker offers three subscription plans on their website.

talkwalker pricing

6. Tweetdeck

TweetDeck, owned by Twitter, is an all-in-one dashboard for your Twitter activity. It lets you schedule tweets, interact with your feed, manage your inbox, and track mentions of your company (or anything else) on the network.

While the tool’s social listening capabilities are limited to one social network, its search options are pretty impressive for a free app. You can add keywords in flexible formats, exclude certain terms, and filter results by country, language, or date. You can set up as many searches as you need and reply to tweets right from the dashboard by connecting your Twitter account to the app.

Supported platforms

Twitter.

Customer rating

 4.5/5 (Capterra).

Customers love TweetDeck’s column layout, multi-account support, and scheduling options.

Pricing

Tweetdeck is absolutely free.

7. Agorapulse

Agorapulse is another two-in-one social media tool: while the app primarily focuses on social media management, it also offers listening capabilities for selected social networks. Though Agorapulse doesn’t include web monitoring, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a scheduling app that will also notify you of social brand mentions.

On top of publishing and social media monitoring, Agorapulse lets you find influencers and streamline outreach and communication with the help of its inbuilt CRM.

Supported platforms

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

Customer rating

  4.5/5 (Capterra).

Users love the fact that Agorapulse combines social media management with social listening, the tool’s ease of use, and its excellent customer service.

Pricing

Agorapulse offers a free trial. After you try the tool, you can pick one of the four available subscription plans.

agorapulse pricing

Conclusion

Social media has become the place where consumers talk about everything — and that includes your brand. As more companies turn to social media monitoring for insights, social media monitoring tools are catching up and becoming more elaborate and affordable. However, don’t forget that the insights the tools provide aren’t everything — it’s the decisions you make and the actions you take based on those insights that will make your brand stand out.

 

[This article is originally published in bloggingwizard.com By David Hartshorne - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Joshua Simon]  - 

Are you looking for an all-in-one solution to manage your social media presence?

Perhaps you need a smarter way to manage multiple profiles and networks? Or maybe you need to improve team collaboration?

Whatever your situation, managing social media requires the right strategy and the right tools.

And while there are thousands of social media tools, not all of them can be classed as management tools. For instance, Buffer is great for scheduling, but it doesn’t manage network engagement.

This post focuses on social media management tools that include these three key elements:

  • Engagement – A single dashboard where you can monitor all your social network messages and engage with your audience
  • Scheduling – A system of scheduling and recycling your content to each social network
  • Reporting – A method of analyzing and reporting how your content performs on each network

These tools offer other features as well, like running social contests, but that’s not in our scope. However, we have included information on the pricing structure and the number of networks covered by each platform.

Let’s get started.

1. Sendible

sendible Social Media Management Tools BW

Sendible makes it easy to engage with your audience, monitor your brand and track results from one dashboard.

Note

This is the best all-round social media management tool we’ve tried – it’s currently what we use here at Blogging Wizard.

Engagement

The Priority Inbox brings all your social messages from multiple networks and profiles into a single stream. From there you can identify important messages and take action. Only the unanswered messages remain in the inbox.

Scheduling

Sendible lets you schedule your content either individually or in bulk. Everything is stored in the interactive calendar, so if anything needs adjusting you can drag-and-drop the content accordingly. Once you discover your best-performing content, you can recycle it with repeating schedules.

Sendible also takes care of content curation. The content recommendation engine analyzes posts already shared on social media and suggests the best content most likely to generate high follower engagement.

There’s also an RSS Auto Posting feature so you can publish relevant quality content to social networks at regular intervals throughout the day from your blog and other favorites.

Reporting

Sendible has a range of pre-designed templates to help you create in-depth social media reports for your clients and team members. The ready-to-go social media reports provide an instant snapshot of your social activity. Alternatively, you can create your own report by choosing from over 250 modules. Once your reports are looking good, you can arrange to send them via email on a regular basis.

Networks

With Sendible you can connect to most social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and more. On the advanced plan, you can even publish directly to WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr.

Pricing

Sendible offers a range of subscription plans based on the number of users and services that you want. They also offer a fully-customizable, white-label solution for larger teams and agencies. If you’re not sure what you’ll need, you can start with a 30-day free trial and then upgrade or downgrade as required.

  • Prices start from $29/month or $288/year (basic plan offers scheduling with re-queue functionality and a complete social inbox)

Get a 30-day free trial of Sendible Read Review

2. AgoraPulse

Agorapulse Social Media Management Tools BW

AgoraPulse is an easy and affordable social media management tool for teams and agencies.

Engagement

The social inbox is set up just like your email inbox so you can see what’s been reviewed and what needs your attention. AgoraPulse combines all your content in one place for all your profiles so you can reply, review, assign or tag. Check them off one-by-one, and your inbox will be clear.

You can take things one step further by setting up automated moderation rules to capture spam and assign questions to the right colleague.

Scheduling

AgoraPulse lets you schedule your content in advance with a pre-selected the date and time. Or you can program your posts to run once every hour/day/week/month. You can also take advantage of the queue function to share your evergreen content again and again.

Reporting

The detailed performance reports in AgoraPulse can save you loads of time compared to checking each social media account.

You can measure reach, engagement, response rate, conversation rate, community growth, and customer service. Plus you have the option to select your reporting date range; for example, last 30 days, last week, etc.

You can view your reports on-screen or download them to PowerPoint. And if you have clients you can add custom branding with the white-label option.

Networks

AgoraPulse works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Pricing

AgoraPulse has a range of subscription plans for individuals and teams. Each plan can be customized by adding additional users or profiles rather than forcing you to pay for users and features you don’t need.

  • Prices start from $49/month or $468/year

Get a 14-day free trial of AgoraPulse

3. eClincher

eClincher Homepage Banner Social Media Management Tools BW

eClincher lets you manage multiple social media accounts, pages, and groups with one intuitive tool. It’s perfect for social media managers, businesses, marketing professionals, teams, and agencies.

Engagement

The Unified Social Inbox from eClincher collects all your social media messages and notifications in one place, so you can respond, thank, follow, or engage with your audience.

As soon as you log into eClincher, you’ll see how many pending notifications you have. Once you’ve answered a message, it disappears from your list so you can focus on the remaining messages.

If you prefer to monitor your social media activities in real-time, then the Live Social Feeds is for you. Inside you can see each of your connected social media profiles, pages, and groups. And from there you can like, comment, and reply, in one place rather than visiting each native platform.

Scheduling

eClincher gives you the ability to plan and schedule your posts, tweets, and pins to multiple social media accounts, profiles, groups, and pages. You can view the schedule as a smart calendar or standard list format.

If your scheduled post includes a URL, then eClincher automatically shortens it using the Google (goo.gl) shortener. There’s also a built-in image editor and integration with Canva to ensure your social imagery is eye-catching.

The Auto Post feature from eClincher lets you recycle your content via three types of queue:

  • Recycle Queue – Recycle your evergreen content
  • One-time Queue – Publish your posts once
  • End-date Queue – Recycle your queue content until a specified end date (great for campaigns).

As Neal Schaefer says:

It’s a killer feature for companies who have lots of evergreen content and want to share it on a periodic basis across a wide variety of social networks.

Reporting

eClincher combines the power of Google Analytics with its Social Analytics module in one dashboard so you can see how your social media activities impact your website traffic.

You can view and analyze the real-time performance of posts on your Facebook pages, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Plus you can analyze follower trends and brand mentions.

The customizable dashboard lets you drag-and-drop the reports and graphs so you can see the most important data. You also have the option to generate PDF reports from the dashboard. And agencies can take advantage of the white-label option to add company logos.

Networks

eClincher connects to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Blogger.

Pricing

eClincher has a broad range of subscription plans for individuals, teams, and agencies. There’s a 20% discount if you choose to pay yearly, and you can start with a 14-day free trial.

  • Prices start from $49/month

Get a 14-day free trial of eClincher

4. Hootsuite

Hootsuite Social Media Management Tools

The Hootsuite platform offers you the tools to manage all your social profiles from a single dashboard and automatically find and schedule effective social content.

Engagement

Hootsuite uses multiple Streams rather than an ‘inbox’ to manage engagement. You can set up streams for each social network to monitor its content. And you can use tabs to organize your streams into groups. In effect, you create your own dashboard. If you’re working in teams, you can assign posts to the right person, department, or region.

Scheduling

With Hootsuite’s Auto Scheduling you can maintain a 24/7 presence on social media. Once you have a content schedule, it’s easy to add new posts to fill the gaps. For instance, you can use the Hootlet extension to schedule posts as you surf the net. Or you can upload your content in bulk via a CSV file.

However you choose to add your content, you can always see your schedule at a glance either in a list or a calendar with daily, weekly or monthly views.

Reporting

Hootsuite comes with a default report showing your key metrics on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can take this to the next level by building customized dashboards or using templates to check on engagement.

Hootsuite lets you export your reports in a variety of formats including Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and CSV. And for those of you managing teams, you can track their response and resolution performance on Facebook and Twitter.

Networks

Hootsuite connects with over 35 popular social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

Pricing

Hootsuite has a range of subscription plans designed around the number of users and social profiles you want to connect. They also have a Limited Free Plan that’s designed for one user and includes Message Scheduling for three social profiles.

  • Prices start from $29/month or $228/year

Get Hootsuite

5. Sprout Social

sprout social Social Media Management Tools

Sprout Social is a leading social media management platform that provides engagement, publishing, analytics, and collaboration tools for teams of all sizes.

Engagement

Sprout Social has a Single Stream Inbox where you can manage all your messages in one place. You can manually mark completed messages and hide them from the inbox so that you remain focused on the current workload.

For teams, there’s the option to add custom tags to categorize messages, filter the inbox and share the workload. You can also see live activity updates in the inbox when a teammate is viewing or replying to a message, so there’s no chance of duplicating tasks.

Scheduling

Sprout Social allows you to schedule, queue and publish messages to each social network from their web app, browser extension, and mobile apps. Sprout’s ViralPost tool determines the best times to post your messages so you can maximize engagement.

The user-based publishing permissions let you set up team members to draft and submit messages, and then have team leaders or managers approve them. Using the shared content calendar you can view and manage social posts across multiple profiles, networks, and campaigns.

Reporting

Sprout Social provides an in-depth suite of analytics and reporting tools.

Their integrated network analytics allow you to view network, profile and message-level insights for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Sprout Social also tracks your team performance so you can measure overall and individual members’ responsiveness and engagement.

Distributing information to clients or management is straightforward with the presentation-ready reports that can be custom-branded and exported in CSV or PDF format.

Networks

Sprout Social integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Pricing

Sprout Social has four monthly subscription plans. Each plan rises in price according to the number of features. And on top of that, you pay for how many users you need. For example, if you required 4 users on the $99 Premium Plan it would cost $396 per month.

All plans include a 30-day free trial, and there’s a 10% discount if you prefer to pay annually.

  • Prices start from $59 per user/month or $637 per user/year

Get a 30-day free trial of Sprout Social

6. MavSocial

mavsocial Social Media Management Tools

MavSocial is a Social Media Management platform with a focus on visuals.

Engagement

MavSocial lets you engage with your audience across all your social networks from one convenient inbox. From its Social Inbox you can:

  • Track and monitor social conversations, messages, and notifications
  • Allocate team members to individual messages
  • View follower replies and comments by network or profile
  • Search, sort, and tag interactions
  • Post a reply, like, or retweet directly

Visuals are an important part of social media engagement. The MavSocial Digital Library lets you upload and manage your photos and videos, plus anything you purchase from their Stock Images Store.

There’s even a built-in photo editing tool where you can add filters and text overlays before posting your content.

Scheduling

With MavSocial you schedule your content through campaigns. You can create campaigns across one or many networks and view your schedule in the calendar. From there you can drag-and-drop content to change the publishing dates and times if needed.

You can reschedule your content by creating cyclical campaigns. For example, you could have campaigns for blog posts, quotes, promotions, and events. Either add your content once and let it repeat cyclically or create variations by modifying it.

MavSocial includes an RSS reader, so you can pull in your content as well as other favorite industry content, giving you ideas of what to schedule. And if you find something while browsing the net you can use the handy Chrome extension to add that into the calendar, too.

Reporting

MavSocial’s built-in social analytics lets you track the performance of your social content. The Reporting Dashboard displays visual data for engagement statistics, detailed follower insights, your top-performing posts, plus the best times for posting.

You have the option to export the graphical reports via PDF or download the data in CSV format. You can run the reports based on time, campaign, network, or individual post, so you know what’s working.

Networks

MavSocial supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.

Pricing

MavSocial has several pricing plans starting with a free limited plan. The premium plan prices for professionals and agencies use features plus the number of social profiles and users, with the option to buy additional users if required.

  • Prices start from $19 per month

Get a 14-day free trial of MavSocial

7. TweetDeck

tweetdeck Social Media Management Tools

TweetDeck is a favorite Twitter management tool that was acquired by Twitter in 2011. It offers a more convenient Twitter experience by letting you view multiple accounts in one interface.

Engagement

Twitter describes TweetDeck as “the most powerful Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement.”

It makes it easier to engage with your audience by using a series of customizable columns rather than a single Twitter timeline.

You can add columns that show all your mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favorites, search results, or hashtags. Each column can be filtered to include or exclude words or tweets from users.

Scheduling

TweetDeck allows users to tweet messages immediately or schedule them for later delivery. If you manage multiple accounts through TweetDeck, you have the option to schedule Tweets for each of them.

You can make changes to a scheduled Tweet before it’s published, and you can also add images and GIFs to your message.

Reporting

TweetDeck doesn’t have any analytics and reporting, although Twitter is proposing to add that feature to a future premium version:

The premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting and signalling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customizable dashboard.

Meanwhile, you can use the built-in Twitter analytics to track your performance.

The Home tab provides an overview of your activity featuring your Top Tweet, Top Mention, and your Top Follower.

On the Tweets tab, you can find metrics for every single one of your Tweets. You can see the number of Impressions, Engagements, and Engagement rate for each tweet.

The Audiences tab lets you track your follower growth over time and learn more about your their interests and demographics.

Networks

TweetDeck only supports Twitter.

Pricing

TweetDeck is a free tool and is available as a web app, Chrome extension or Mac app.

Get TweetDeck

8. Tailwind

tailwindapp Social Media Management Tools

Tailwind is a social media marketing toolkit for Pinterest and Instagram. It’s perfect for bloggers, small businesses, agencies, and large enterprises.

Engagement

Engagement on Pinterest is slightly different compared to Twitter and Facebook. People don’t comment as much, and Repins are more of an engagement signal.

To boost Pinterest engagement, Tailwind introduced its Tribes feature. (Note: It’s still in beta.)

Tribe lets you meet and grow with other marketers in your niche. You add your own content to a Tribe, and your tribe mates view, schedule, and share your content with their own audience. And as it’s a Tribe, you share the other content too. It’s a win-win.

Here’s what Social Media Manager, Andrea Jones, told me:

For Tailwind, I’ve found using tribes has slightly increased my repins. Overall, comments and replies are on a rapid decline on Pinterest. Community engagement on that platform mostly relies on repins.

Scheduling

Tailwind is packed with powerful features and shortcuts to help you schedule pins and posts each day.

Tailwind’s Smart Queue helps you pin and post at the best times, so your audience gets content when they’re looking for it. To start with, Tailwind recommends the best time when it knows people are active. But over time it evaluates the optimal time based on your history and audience engagement.

You can populate your schedule days or weeks in advance, by adding content in bulk from your desktop or mobile device. Tailwind also tracks your best performing content so you can reuse it again.

Reporting

Tailwind lets you track key performance indicators to evaluate if your marketing strategy is working. For Pinterest, you can measure followers, engagement trends, and virality by pin, board or category. (For Instagram, you can find influential followers and connect with them to broaden your reach.)

Tailwind also keeps you informed of progress with customizable reports and notifications via email.

Networks

Tailwind works for Pinterest and Instagram.

Pricing

Tailwind is priced per account, so if you want to use it for both Pinterest and Instagram, then you’d need two accounts. You can get a 33% discount plus unlimited scheduling if you purchase the annual plan. But there’s a free trial of 100 pins on Pinterest and 30 posts on Instagram to get you started.

  • Prices from $15/month per account or $119/year per account

Get Tailwind

Read our full review of Tailwind.

Conclusion

Each of the social media management tools reviewed here has its pros and cons. And there’s one thing for sure: what suits one person, won’t suit another.

Some people like the idea of an inbox to monitor and manage conversations, while others prefer multiple streams.

Some tools are better suited for teams and agencies, while others are ideal for solopreneurs and small businesses.

It’s important you choose the right tool for your situation and budget. And in some cases, that might mean not using any of these tools at all, even if it’s free. I’ve tried Hootsuite and TweetDeck previously and found myself overwhelmed by the amount of data on the screen.

A tool needs to help you, not hinder you.

Right now, I’m happy to use the native apps for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, plus Tailwind for Pinterest.

Which social media management tool is the best fit for you?

To help narrow down your selection here are some different scenarios.

If you’re just getting started and want a free tool:

TweetDeck is a great option if you need a tool solely for use with Twitter, especially if you’re monitoring more than one account.

Alternatively, Hootsuite and MavSocial both have free plans with a decent amount of features.

If you have clients or need to manage a large number of social accounts:

SendibleeClincher, and MavSocial seem to work out the most cost-effective with large numbers of social accounts.

If you need robust team collaboration features that won’t break the bank:

Sendible and AgoraPulse both provide great team collaboration features. And they’re both cost-effective. Sendible feels more refined and easier to use in some areas, but AgoraPulse has the added benefit of Facebook apps for running social media contests.

Sprout Social has excellent team collaboration features, but costs can spiral out of control because their plans are priced per user. For example, on the $99/month plan, you’ll pay just under $400/month for 4 users.

If you’re a serious blogger/marketer and need a good all-around social media management tool that is cost-effective:

SendibleeClincher, and MavSocial all fit the bill.

Sendible has all the important features (even on their most basic plan) and feels very refined.

MavSocial is big on visuals and has plenty of features.

eClincher stands out when it comes to overall features and includes both the social media inbox, as well as streams. That said, it feels a little clunky.

If you need an effective tool to manage your Pinterest/Instagram accounts:

A lot of tools on this list support Instagram scheduling, but when it comes to Pinterest, the best tool is; Tailwind. Especially since they released their ‘Tribes’ feature which can help you get more visibility for your pins.

[This article is originally published in newyorker.com written By Ned Beauman - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Jennifer Levin]

An open-source investigation is a tool anybody can use; as it spreads, it will inevitably mingle with the sort of delirium and propaganda that Eliot Higgins has always meant it to cut through.

On a recent afternoon in central London, twelve people sat in a hotel conference room trying to figure out the exact latitude and longitude at which the actress Sharon Stone once posed for a photo in front of the Taj Mahal. Among them were two reporters, a human-rights lawyer, and researchers and analysts in the fields of international conflict, forensic science, online extremism, and computer security. They had each paid around twenty-four hundred dollars to join a five-day workshop led by Eliot Higgins, the founder of the open-source investigation Web site Bellingcat. Higgins had chosen this Sharon Stone photo because the photographer was standing on a raised terrace, which makes the angles confusing, and used a lens that makes Stone appear closer to the Taj than she actually was. The participants, working on laptops, compared the trees and paths visible in the photo to their correlates on Google Earth.

Stone’s location on that day—the northwest corner of the Great Gate—may not have been of grave historical importance, but the participants were employing the same techniques that have underlaid Bellingcat’s news-making investigations into subjects such as the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, over Ukraine, and the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army. When Higgins was profiled in The New Yorker, in 2013, he was still alone blogger calling himself Brown Moses, and the field of open-source investigation—the microscopic examination of publicly available material such as satellite images, social-media posts, YouTube videos, and online databases to uncover the truth about disputed events—was in its infancy. Today, it is firmly established. Last year, the International Criminal Court issued, for the first time, an arrest warrant based solely on video evidence from social media, and the recent report on gas attacks in Syria by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons leans heavily on images from Google Earth that are annotated in a Bellingcat style. Meanwhile, open-source investigation reached a new audience this spring when the research agency Forensic Architecture, which has often collaborated with Bellingcat, was the subject of a show at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. (It has since been shortlisted for the Turner Prize.)

Higgins, who lives in Leicester with his wife and two young children, is now fielding ever more interest from journalists, N.G.O.s, corporations, universities, and government agencies, eager for his expertise. One of the participants in the London workshop I attended, Christoph Reuter, is the Beirut-based Middle East correspondent for Der Spiegel, and has worked as a reporter for three decades; when I asked him about Higgins, he made a gesture of worshipfully bowing down. Higgins started Bellingcat with a Kickstarter campaign, in 2014, but today almost half of its funding comes from these paid workshops, which he has been running since last spring, with the first in the U.S.—in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco—planned for later this year. Higgins is also developing a partnership with the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and hopes to hire enough staff to expand Bellingcat’s coverage into Latin America.

Higgins’s work is animated by his leftist, anti-authoritarian politics. One of the workshop attendees, a Middle East analyst named Robert, didn’t want his full name used in this article because certain factions in the region may see any association with Bellingcat as suspicious. But an open-source investigation is a tool anybody can use; as it spreads, it will inevitably mingle with the sort of delirium and propaganda that Higgins has always meant it to cut through. Crowdsourced Reddit investigations into Pizzagate or QAnon often appear, at first glance, not so different from a Bellingcat report, full of marked-up screenshots from Google Maps or Facebook. Even on the mainstream-liberal side, a new conspiracy culture sees anti-Trump Twitter celebrating any amateur detective who can find a suspicious detail about Jared Kushner in a PDF.

At the same time, the Russian government, which has derided Bellingcat’s open-source investigations in the past, now issues satellite images of bombings in Syria, inviting members of the public to look closely and see for themselves; RT, the state-sponsored Russian news channel, has launched its own “digital verification” blog, seemingly modeled on Bellingcat. In ramping up both reporting and training, expanding Bellingcat into some combination of news magazine and academy, Higgins is working to, in his words, “formalize and structure a lot of the work we’ve been doing” at a moment when the methods he helped pioneer are more than ever threatened by distortion and misuse.

I asked Higgins whether he excludes anyone from these workshops. “We’re going to start explicitly saying that people from intelligence agencies aren’t allowed to apply,” he said. “They’re asking more and more. But we don’t really want to be training them, and it’s awkward for everybody in the room if there’s an M.I.5 person there.” I asked how he’d feel if a citizen journalist signed up with the intention of demonstrating that, say, many of the refugee children who apply for asylum in the U.S. are actually grizzled adult criminals. He said he’d let that person join. “If they want to use these techniques to do that reporting, and it’s an honest investigation, then the answers should be honest either way. They should find out they can’t prove their ideas. And maybe they’ll learn that their ideas aren’t as solid as they thought.” Ultimately, Higgins respects good detective work, no matter where it comes from. At one point in the workshop, he showed the group a video about 4chan users taking only thirty-seven hours to find and steal a flag emblazoned with “he will not divide us,” which Shia LaBeouf had erected in front of an Internet-connected camera in a secret location as a political art project. “4chan is terrible,” Higgins said. “But sometimes they do really amazing open-source investigations just to annoy people.”

After Sharon Stone, there were several more geolocation exercises, concluding, on Day Two, with a joint effort to piece together several dozen photos of the M2 Hospital, in Aleppo, after it was bombed by pro-government forces. The challenge was to use tiny details to figure out exactly how they connected together in three-dimensional space: to determine, for instance, whether two photos that showed very similar-looking chain-link barriers were actually of the same chain-link barrier from different angles. “Most of my pictures are of rubble, which is super-helpful,” Diane Cooke, a Ph.D. student at King’s College London’s Centre for Science and Security Studies, said.

Higgins mentioned that he had left out all the gory photos, but nevertheless this exercise was a war crime turned into a jigsaw puzzle. Earlier, he had paused a video projection on a frame of a nerve-gassed Syrian child’s constricted pupil, which stared down at us for an uncomfortably long time. “I am careful about that,” he told me when I asked him about his approach to such horrors. The example which most frequently upsets people, he said, is a Bellingcat investigation into a mass execution by the Libyan National Army, in 2017: fifteen dark blots are visible against the sand on a satellite image taken later the same day. “It’s horrible, but it’s such a good example,” Higgins said. “And if you’re geolocating bloodstains, you’ve got to show the bloodstains.”

Afterward, it was time for lunch outside in the sun. Robert, the Middle East analyst, complained that he had “geolocation vision”: after a few hours of these exercises, it is impossible to look around without noting the minute textures of the built environment, the cracks in the sidewalk and the soot on the walls.

Days Four and Five of a Bellingcat workshop give the participants a chance to practice the skills they’ve just learned by launching their own investigations. Earlier this year, when Christiaan Triebert, a Bellingcat investigator, was mugged by two men on mopeds while he was in London to teach a Bellingcat workshop, he recruited his workshop participants to help him investigate the city’s moped gangs. (“My adrenaline turned into that energy—like, ‘This is pretty interesting!’ ” he recalled. “We were basically analyzing the Instagram profiles, mapping out the networks, who is friends with whom and where are they operating.”) Triebert has also run workshops in several countries where reporters are under threat of death. In Iraq, for instance, he trained reporters from al-Ghad, a radio station broadcasting into isis-occupied Mosul. “Some of their friends and colleagues got slaughtered by isis militants, and there was the video of it—they were drowned in a cage in a swimming pool. They said, “We really want to know where this happened, so if Mosul ever gets recaptured we can visit, but also just to see where they murdered our friends.” We started mapping out Mosul swimming pools, and within an hour they found it.

In the London workshop, the participants split up into three teams: one was trying to geolocate a video showing a bombing by U.S. forces somewhere in Damascus; another was analyzing the connection between water shortages in Iraq and the filling of the Ilisu dam, in Turkey; a third was investigating the leaders of a recent rally in London protesting the jailing of the far-right activist Tommy Robinson. Space took on the atmosphere of a newsroom. By the afternoon, the Damascus team had divided its labor: Higgins and Reuter were pursuing a single electricity pylon in the background of the murky green night-vision footage, which they thought would be enough to geolocate the bombing; Marwan El Khoury, a forensic-science Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leicester, was trying to pick out Polaris from the constellations briefly visible in the sky, in the hopes of determining the orientation of the camera; and Beini Ye, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative, was combing through relevant news reports. “Nobody has ever been able to geolocate this video, so it’s a matter of pride,” Higgins said.

On the last day, pizza was ordered so the three teams could work through lunch. At the deadline of 2 p.m., Robert, representing the Ilisu team, got up first. “We haven’t found anything spectacularly new,” he said, “but we’ve discovered that a claim by the Iraqi Water Ministry might be more or less correct. That sounds really boring, but I think it’s important.”

The Tommy Robinson team was next. It had found out that “Danny Tommo,” one of the pseudonymous organizers of the pro-Tommy Robinson protest, was already known to the police under his real name. To some laughter, they displayed a headline from a Portsmouth newspaper reading “Bungling armed kidnappers jailed for ‘stupid’ attempt.”

Five minutes before the deadline, there had been a burst of excitement from the Damascus team: Higgins had remembered that a Russian news service had put GoPro cameras on the front of tanks when embedded with Syrian armed forces in 2015. In one YouTube video, the tank jolted from the recoil after firing its gun, and for a moment it was possible to see a pylon on the horizon—which was helpful, Higgins explained, but not quite enough. Still, that didn’t mean the crucial pylon would never be found: some photos from Bellingcat investigations have taken as long as two years to be geolocated. “It’s good that it was really hard,” Higgins told me later. “You have to rewire how people think about images. So they become really aware of how the world is constructed.”

Categorized in Investigative Research

[This article is originally published in bizjournals.com written by RSM US LLP - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Issac Avila]

Persons engaged in fraud and illegal activity have long used several methods to hide ill-gotten assets. Today, forensic investigators have powerful new technological tools to track and uncover these assets. Some specialized techniques may require digital forensic specialists; however, more basic options are also effective.

Whether the suspected fraudster is a business partner, an employee or some other related party, the process for uncovering hidden accounts tends to follow a similar path.

Let’s look at basic techniques first.

The first step is to build a financial profile for the person or entity in question. This process involves gathering and reviewing documents and records such as tax returns, bank statements, mobile payment account history, investment account statements, credit card statements, life insurance policies, paycheck stubs, real and personal property records, lien records and any other financial-related statements for the period of time during which questionable activity is suspected.

As these documents are being compiled, build a master list comprised of all accounts identified, including owner’s names, authorized users, associated addresses or other account profile information. It is also advisable to identify potential email addresses, social media accounts, and other web-based account information.

When analyzing these documents, keep the following tips in mind:

  • For financial accounts identified, get the electronic statements directly from the source when possible. This helps ensure the integrity of the information. Also, if possible, obtain the information in electronic format so it can be ingested into various search and analysis tools.
  • Tax returns provide information concerning wages, business income, and investment income. They can identify the existence of both real and personal property and the possibility of foreign accounts or trusts. As tax returns reveal sources of income, tie them to specific accounts. For example, if the interest income is listed on the return, but no account is identified, investigate to find an institution, account number, and the related statements.
  • If a business is uncovered, in addition to identifying all financial accounts related to that business, try to obtain the articles of organization and/or other ownership information for that business. This can help identify, among many things, parties involved in illegal activity and other businesses a suspect is associated with, and it can even help identify any hidden assets.
  • Investment accounts have long been a popular vehicle to transfer and/or launder illegal funds through the purchase and subsequent sale of financial products and commodities. 
  • Reviewing pay stubs from the relevant period cannot only identify multiple bank accounts, but it can also help identify and/or support any unusual spending behavior and other financial activity.
  • Mobile payments through providers such as PayPal and Venmo have become increasingly popular and provide another avenue to divert funds and hide assets. The transaction history for these accounts should be obtained not only for this reason but in addition, it provides a paper trail of both the origin and recipient of funds that could uncover hidden accounts or parties associated with fraud or illegal activity.
  • Depending on the jurisdiction (state, county, city) real property records including deeds, liens and other documents identifying ownership of assets are publicly available information. These records can be used to identify any assets not previously reported without the request of a subpoena.
  • If a recent credit report can be obtained, it can be a useful document to help identify a large portion of these items in a consolidated format.

With all information gathered, the next step is a funds-tracing exercise to analyze deposits to, and withdrawals from, each of the identified accounts. Funds tracing may reveal even more accounts for which statements should be obtained and funds traced. Update the account master list to reflect any new accounts discovered and to record all deposits, withdrawals and other activity for each account.

When conducting a funds tracing, remember the following:

  • Develop a thorough list of the suspect’s family members and acquaintances, including names, aliases, and addresses, and match those names against account statements and transactions to determine if any related parties received funds. Close attention should be paid to any financial transactions with the suspect’s parents, children, siblings, romantic partners and any of their respective businesses.
  • Any unusual transfers or expenditures deserve special attention, as well as recurring deposits from a bank or brokerage in any amount. This could uncover dividend-paying stocks or interest-paying bonds.
  • A review of canceled checks will not only tell to whom the checks were paid, but also to what account number and institution the check was deposited, which can lead to new hidden accounts. Again, pay special attention to checks to family members and acquaintances or for unusual activities or amounts.
  • An analysis of ATM withdrawals or credit card cash advances, including aggregate amounts and the locations made, may indicate areas where the suspect is spending a large amount of time and possibly working to hide assets in secret accounts. Ask for explanations for any large cash withdrawals, whether through an ATM or in person.

Digital forensic analysis is another powerful tool for tracking down hidden assets. Whether it’s a work computer, personal computer, tablet or smart phone, any activity performed on the device can leave a trail of evidence. More sophisticated suspects may use encryption, wiping programs and private or remote web-browsing sessions to hide this evidence, but such steps on their own can help indicate fraud.

Digital forensic efforts to uncover hidden accounts focus on a variety of areas, including:

  • Email contents— Investigators can conduct keyword searches using names of suspected co-conspirators, romantic partners, family members, business dealings, business names, known code words or any other word or words that might be of interest to the investigator. They can also search for key information, such as new account setup forms, details or confirmations related to wire transfers, mobile payments, details of new business ventures or other case-specific information.
  • Accounting or budgeting software programs—A suspect who is a business owner or key accounting employee may be keeping multiple sets of books. Even if deleted, these may be recovered via digital forensic analysis and lead to unknown accounts.
  • Spreadsheets and other files—Suspects often keep track of account numbers and other information in spreadsheets or other files. 
  • Browsing history—Most internet browsers log information pertaining to website visits, as well as other internet activities, such as the completion of web-based forms and temporary internet files. A digital forensic specialist may uncover visits to bank or brokerage websites that may lead to unidentified accounts. Internet activity can also show information relating to online purchasing and payment activity, which could be useful in identifying expenditures and other potential assets.
  • Metadata analysis—Artifacts contained within documents (Word, Excel, PDFs), such as created and modified times, username and company name, can also help uncover fraud.
  • Registry analysis—Certain artifacts stored in the registry, such as USB connection information, network, and login information also can help in an investigation.
  • Mobile devices—Forensic specialists can analyze call logs, SMS messaging, and in some cases, email and email attachments. In addition, users tend to use these devices to access and monitor various assets such as financial accounts, online payment, etc.
  • Online social media activity, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites—An analysis of a suspect’s public profile and activity may uncover a hidden business or other interests, which may lead to other unknown accounts. In addition, people frequently post information and pictures of new assets (i.e., cars, boats, etc.) on social media sites. This can lead investigators to potential assets and also help with documenting large expenditures.

By forensically preserving the electronic evidence (computer hard drive, mobile device, etc.) a number of potential data sources might become available. Included in this forensically preserved data might be previously deleted files, multiple versions or iterations of files, indications of files and programs being accessed. All of these items could provide leads for additional sources of information or indications of the user accessing or deleting data.

While this is not exhaustive, it does provide a useful overview for tracking down hidden accounts. Keep in mind that accounts are not the only places where fraudulent gains can be hidden.

However, a thorough search for, and careful analysis of, hidden accounts should be a central part of any fraud investigation.

For more information about fraud investigations, contact Brad Koranda at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 612-376-9387.

RSM’s purpose is to deliver the power of being understood to our clients, colleagues, and communities through world-class audit, tax and consulting services focused on middle market businesses. For more information, visit rsmus.com.

As a partner with RSM's Forensic and Valuation Services group, Brad Koranda provides strategic advisory and financial services to companies across a broad scope of industries, including business and professional services, real estate, manufacturing, distribution, technology, insurance, investment management, life sciences, health care, and financial services sectors.
Categorized in Investigative Research

Source: This article was Published bizcommunity.com - Contributed by Member: Jeremy Frink

The third Annual Western Cape Research Ethics Committees Colloquium was hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday 11 September 2018

Here, the effectiveness of social media as a research tool and the implications of work conducted on these social media platforms were highlighted. 

According to Dr. Amiena Peck, from UWC’s Department of Linguistics, social media platforms have created many advantages of online research.

Guidelines, privacy, and cybersecurity

“Millions of South Africans use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin, and more and more people join daily. This makes finding data more accessible, but it does offer challenges,” Peck said. 

“Unfortunately, there are no guidelines and no existing literature for guidelines when using social media for data collection, and there are several other challenges – such as privacy issues and cybersecurity.”

Professor Neil Myburgh, chair of UWC’s Biomedical Research Ethics Committee, said the issue of consent when using social media is often not spoken about – but this should change. “We have seen on Twitter where photos of children were shared in particular campaigns, bringing ethical issues to the surface,” he said. 

Myburgh noted that researchers need to consider all ethical issues when harvesting data from social media and strict ethical guidelines need to be established for social media use.

Proper ethical research methods

These kinds of reviews carried out by Research Ethics Committees allow a collective of multiskilled people to review a proposal and check its scientific veracity, as well as its ethical quality – a useful process. 

UWC rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius said ethics is close to the hearts of most researchers and professionals at universities.

“Colloquia such as these are important to ensure that proper ethical research methods are taught to our young researchers. We have seen what has been happening in the accounting profession, for example – the curriculum needs to be amended so that we can teach the softer skills to our young accountants,” he said.

The colloquium enabled fruitful engagement between people closely involved in ensuring both scientific and ethical quality in research, whilst contributing to better practices all around. 

Attendees included participants from research structures at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, the South African Medical Research Council and the Western Cape Department of Health.
 
Categorized in Research Methods

Source: This article was Published computerworld.com By Mike Elgan - Contributed by Member: Dorothy Allen

If you think a search engine exists as an index to the internet, it’s time to update your thinking.

This column is not about politics. It makes no political judgments and takes no political positions. No, really! Stay with me here.

President Trump this week slammed Google, claiming that the company “rigged” Google News Search results to favor stories and news organizations critical of the president.

To drive home his claim about bias, Trump posted a video on Twitter this week with the hashtag #StopTheBias (which, at the time I wrote this, had 4.36 million views), claiming that Google promoted President Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses, but stopped the practice when Trump took office.

In a statement issued to the press, a Google spokesperson said that the company did not promote on its homepage either Obama’s or Trump’s first “State of the Union” addresses because technically they are considered mere “addresses to a joint session” of Congress, the idea being that brand-new presidents are not in a position to reveal the “state of the nation.” Google also claimed that it did promote Trump’s second and most recent State of the Union, a claim that screenshots found on social media and pages captured by the site Wayback Machine appear to confirm.

The facts around this incident are being funneled into ongoing, rancorous online political debates, which, in my opinion, isn’t particularly interesting.

What is interesting is the Big Question this conflict brings to the surface.

What is a search engine?

A search engine can be four things.

  • An index to the internet

When Google first launched its search engine in 1996, it was clear what a search engine was: an index of the internet.

Google’s killer innovation was its ability to rank pages in a way that was supposed to reflect the relative relevance or importance of each result.

Both the results and the ranking were supposed to be a reflection or a snapshot of the internet itself, not an index to the information out there in the real world.

  • An arbiter of what’s true

In this view, Google Search would favor information that’s objectively true and de-emphasize links to content that’s objectively untrue.

  • An objective source of information

The objective source idea is that Google makes an attempt to present all sides of contentious issues and all sources of information, without favoring any ideas or sources.

  • A customized, personalized source of information

The personalized source concept says that a search engine gives each user a different set of results based on what that user wants regardless of what’s true, what’s happening on the internet or any other factor.

This is all pretty abstract, so here’s a clarifying thought experiment.

When someone searches Google to find out the shape of the Earth, how should Google approach that query? It depends on what Google believes a search engine is.

(Note that it’s likely that flat-Earth proponents generate, link to and chatter about the idea that the Earth is flat more than people who believe it’s spherical. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that, objectively, the content and activity on the actual internet favors the flat-Earth idea.)

If a search engine is supposed to be an index to the internet, then search results for the shape of the Earth should favor the flat-Earth idea.

If a search engine is supposed to be an arbiter of what’s true, then search results should favor the spherical-Earth idea.

If a search engine is supposed to be an objective source of information, then search results should provide a balanced result that equally represents both flat- and spherical-Earth theories.

And if a search engine is supposed to be a customized, personalized source of information, then the results should favor either the flat-Earth idea or the spherical-Earth idea, depending on who is doing the searching.

I use the shape of the Earth as a proxy or stand-in for the real search results people are conducting.

For example, searches for your company, product, brand or even yourself are still subject to the same confusion over what a search engine is supposed to be.

When your customers, prospective business partners, employees or future prospective employees and others search for information about your organization, what results should they get? Should those results reflect what’s “true,” what’s false but popular, or what’s neutral between the two? Or should it depend on who’s doing the searching?

The truth is that Google tries to make Google Search all four of these things at the same time.

Adding to the complexity of the problem is the fact that search engine results are governed by algorithms, which are trade secrets that are constantly changing.

If you were to ask people, I suspect that most would say that Google Search should be Model No. 1 — an index to the internet — and not get involved in deciding what’s true, what’s false or what’s the answer the user wants to hear.

And yet the world increasingly demands that Google embrace Model No. 2 — to be an arbiter of what’s true.

Governments won’t tolerate an accurate index

Trump has claimed repeatedly that, in general, news media coverage is biased against him. If that’s true, and if Google News Search was a passive index of what the media is actually reporting, wouldn’t it be reasonable for Trump to expect anti-Trump coverage on Google News Search?

By slamming Google News Search as “rigged,” Trump appears to reveal an expectation that Google News should reflect what’s happening in the real world as he sees it, rather than what’s happening on news media websites.

Or it reveals that regardless of the weight of activity in favor of news sources Trump believes are biased against him, Google News Search should provide a balanced and neutral representation of all opinions and sources equally.

The rejection of the search-engine-as-internet-index model is common among governments and political leaders worldwide.

One famous example is the “right to be forgotten” idea, which has been put into practice as law in both the European Union and Argentina. The idea is that information on the internet can unfairly stigmatize a person, and citizens have the right for that information to be “forgotten,” which is to say made non-existent in search engine results.

Let’s say, for example, that a prominent person files for bankruptcy, and that 100 news sites and blogs on the internet record the fact. Twenty years later, well after the person has restored financial solvency, the old information is still available and findable via search engines, causing unfounded stigmatization.

A successful right-to-be-forgotten petition can remove reference to those pages from search results. The pages still exist, but the search engines don’t link to them when anyone searches for the person’s name.

The advocates of right-to-be-forgotten laws clearly believe that a search engine exists to reflect the real world as it is, or as it should be, and does not exist to reflect the internet as it is.

Google was recently caught in a controversy over an assumed return to the Chinese market with a custom China-only search engine that censors internet content in the same way that domestic sites are required to by the Chinese government. Hundreds of Google employees signed a letter in protest.

Google wants to “return” to the Chinese market. The Chinese government would not allow Google to operate a search engine accessible to Chinese citizens that accurately reflected what’s actually on the internet.

The examples go on and on.

What governments tend to have in common is that in political circles, it’s very difficult to find people advocating for the index-to-the-internet conception of what a search engine should be.

Why the search-engine-as-index idea is dead

Google’s self-stated mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Nebulous, yes. But for the purposes of this column, it’s telling that Google says that its mission is to organize, not the internet’s information, but the “world’s.”

The reality is that people search Google Search and other search engines because they want information about the world, not because they want information about what the internet collectively “thinks.”

And, in any event, the point is growing moot.

What the internet “thinks” is increasingly being gamed and manipulated by propagandists, bots, fake news, trolls, conspiracy theorists, and hackers.

Accurately reflecting all this manipulated information in search engines is valuable only to the manipulators.

Also: With each passing day, more information “searching” is happening via virtual assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.

In other words, virtual assistants are becoming the new search engines.

With augmented reality glasses and other highly mobile sources of information, search engines such as Google will have to increasingly become arbiters of what’s true, or supposed to be true, because the public will increasingly demand a single answer for its questions.

That’s why the old initiatives for your company’s presence on the internet — SEO, marketing, social media strategy and all the rest — have new urgency.

With each passing day, search engines exist less to index the internet and more to decide for us all what’s “true” and what’s “not true.”

It’s time to redouble your efforts to make sure that what Google thinks is true about your company really is true.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published hindustantimes.com By Karen Weise and Sarah Frier - Contributed by Member: David J. Redcliff

For scholars, the scale of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users provides an irresistible way to investigate how human nature may play out on, and be shaped by, the social network.

The professor was incredulous. David Craig had been studying the rise of entertainment on social media for several years when a Facebook Inc. employee he didn’t know emailed him last December, asking about his research. “I thought I was being pumped,” Craig said. The company flew him to Menlo Park and offered him $25,000 to fund his ongoing projects, with no obligation to do anything in return. This was definitely not normal, but after checking with his school, University of Southern California, Craig took the gift. “Hell, yes, it was generous to get an out-of-the-blue offer to support our work, with no strings,” he said. “It’s not all so black and white that they are villains.”

Other academics got these gifts, too. One, who said she had $25,000 deposited in her research account recently without signing a single document, spoke to a reporter hoping maybe the journalist could help explain it. Another professor said one of his former students got an unsolicited monetary offer from Facebook, and he had to assure the recipient it wasn’t a scam. The professor surmised that Facebook uses the gifts as a low-cost way to build connections that could lead to closer collaboration later. He also thinks Facebook “happily lives in the ambiguity” of the unusual arrangement. If researchers truly understood that the funding has no strings, “people would feel less obligated to interact with them,” he said.

The free gifts are just one of the little-known and complicated ways Facebook works with academic researchers. For scholars, the scale of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users provides an irresistible way to investigate how human nature may play out on, and be shaped by, the social network. For Facebook, the motivations to work with outside academics are far thornier, and it’s Facebook that decides who gets access to its data to examine its impact on society.“Just from a business standpoint, people won’t want to be on Facebook if Facebook is not positive for them in their lives,” said Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer. “We also have a broader responsibility to make sure that we’re having the right impact on society.”

The company’s long been conflicted about how to work with social scientists, and now runs several programs, each reflecting the contorted relationship Facebook has with external scrutiny. The collaborations have become even more complicated in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which was set off by revelations that a professor who once collaborated with Facebook’s in-house researchers used data collected separately to influence elections. ALSO READ: Facebook admits it tracks your mouse movements

“Historically the focus of our research has been on product development, on doing things that help us understand how people are using Facebook and build improvements to Facebook,” Sherman said. Facebook’s heard more from academics and non-profits recently who say “because of the expertise that we have, and the data that Facebook stores, we have an opportunity to contribute to generalizable knowledge and to answer some of these broader social questions,” he said. “So you’ve seen us begin to invest more heavily in social science research and in answering some of these questions.”

Facebook has a corporate culture that reveres research. The company builds its product based on internal data on user behaviour, surveys and focus groups. More than a hundred Ph.D.-level researchers work on Facebook’s in-house core data science team, and employees say the information that points to growth has had more of an impact on the company’s direction than Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s ideas.

Facebook is far more hesitant to work with outsiders; it risks unflattering findings, leaks of proprietary information, and privacy breaches. But Facebook likes it when external research proves that Facebook is great. And in the fierce talent wars of Silicon Valley, working with professors can make it easier to recruit their students.

It can also improve the bottom line. In 2016, when Facebook changed the “like” button into a set of emojis that better-captured user expression—and feelings for advertisers— it did so with the help of Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who’s an expert in compassion and emotions. Keltner’s Greater Good Science Center continues to work closely with the company. And this January, Facebook made research the centerpiece of a major change to its news feed algorithm. In studies published with academics at several universities, Facebook found that people who used social media actively—commenting on friends’ posts, setting up events—were likely to see a positive impact on mental health, while those who used it passively may feel depressed. In reaction, Facebook declared it would spend more time encouraging “meaningful interaction.” Of course, the more people engage with Facebook, the more data it collects for advertisers.

The company has stopped short of pursuing deeper research on the potentially negative fallout of its power. According to its public database of published research, Facebook’s written more than 180 public papers about artificial intelligence but just one study about elections, based on an experiment Facebook ran on 61 million users to mobilize voters in the Congressional midterms back in 2010. Facebook’s Sherman said, “We’ve certainly been doing a lot of work over the past couple of months, particularly to expand the areas where we’re looking.”

Facebook’s first peer-reviewed papers with outside scholars were published in 2009, and almost a decade into producing academic work, it still wavers over how to structure the arrangements. It’s given out the smaller unrestricted gifts. But those gifts don’t come with access to Facebook’s data, at least initially. The company is more restrictive about who can mine or survey its users. It looks for research projects that dovetail with its business goals.

Some academics cycle through one-year fellowships while pursuing doctorate degrees, and others get paid for consulting projects, which never get published.

When Facebook does provide data to researchers, it retains the right to veto or edit the paper before publication. None of the professors Bloomberg spoke with knew of cases when Facebook prohibited a publication, though many said the arrangement inevitably leads academics to propose investigations less likely to be challenged. “Researchers focus on things that don’t create a moral hazard,” said Dean Eckles, a former Facebook data scientist now at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Without a guaranteed right to publish, Eckles said, researchers inevitably shy away from potentially critical work. That means some of the most burning societal questions may go unprobed.

Facebook also almost always pairs outsiders with in-house researchers. This ensures scholars have a partner who’s intimately familiar with Facebook’s vast data, but some who’ve worked with Facebook say this also creates a selection bias about what gets studied. “Stuff still comes out, but only the immensely positive, happy stories—the goody-goody research that they could show off,” said one social scientist who worked as a researcher at Facebook. For example, he pointed out that the company’s published widely on issues related to well-being, or what makes people feel good and fulfilled, which is positive for Facebook’s public image and product. “The question is: ‘What’s not coming out?,’” he said.

Facebook argues its body of work on well-being does have broad importance. “Because we are a social product that has large distribution within society, it is both about societal issues as well as the product,” said David Ginsberg, Facebook’s director of research.Other social networks have smaller research ambitions, but have tried more open approaches. This spring, Twitter Inc. asked for proposals to measure the health of conversations on its platform, and Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn is running a multi-year programme to have researchers use its data to understand how to improve the economic opportunities of workers. Facebook has issued public calls for technical research, but until the past few months, hasn’t done so for social sciences. Yet it has solicited in that area, albeit quietly: Last summer, one scholarly association begged discretion when sharing information on a Facebook pilot project to study tech’s impact in developing economies. Its email read, “Facebook is not widely publicizing the program.”

In 2014, the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a massive study, co-authored by two Facebook researchers and an outside academic, that found emotions were “contagious” online, that people who saw sad posts were more likely to make sad posts. The catch: the results came from an experiment run on 689,003 Facebook users, where researchers secretly tweaked the algorithm of Facebook’s news feed to show some cheerier content than others. People were angry, protesting that they didn’t give Facebook permission to manipulate their emotions.

The company first said people allowed such studies by agreeing to its terms of service, and then eventually apologized. While the academic journal didn’t retract the paper, it issued an “Editorial Expression of Concern.”

To get federal research funding, universities must run testing on humans through what’s known as an institutional review board, which includes at least one outside expert, approves the ethics of the study and ensures subjects provide informed consent. Companies don’t have to run research through IRBs. The emotional-contagion study fell through the cracks.

The outcry profoundly changed Facebook’s research operations, creating a review process that was more formal and cautious. It set up a pseudo-IRB of its own, which doesn’t include an outside expert but does have policy and PR staff. Facebook also created a new public database of its published research, which lists more than 470 papers. But that database now has a notable omission—a December 2015 paper two Facebook employees co-wrote with Aleksandr Kogan, the professor at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook said it believes the study was inadvertently never posted and is working to ensure other papers aren’t left off in the future.

In March, Gary King, a Harvard University political science professor, met with some Facebook executives about trying to get the company to share more data with academics. It wasn’t the first time he’d made his case, but he left the meeting with no commitment.

A few days later, the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, and soon Facebook was on the phone with King. Maybe it was time to cooperate, at least to understand what happens in elections. Since then, King and a Stanford University law professor have developed a complicated new structure to give more researchers access to Facebook’s data on the elections and let scholars publish whatever they find. The resulting structure is baroque, involving a new “commission” of scholars Facebook will help pick, an outside academic council that will award research projects, and seven independent U.S. foundations to fund the work. “Negotiating this was kind of like the Arab-Israel peace treaty, but with a lot more partners,” King said.

The new effort, which has yet to propose its first research project, is the most open approach Facebook’s taken yet. “We hope that will be a model that replicates not just within Facebook but across the industry,” Facebook’s Ginsberg said. “It’s a way to make data available for social science research in a way that means that it’s both independent and maintains privacy.” But the new approach will also face an uphill battle to prove its credibility. The new Facebook research project came together under the company’s public relations and policy team, not its research group of PhDs trained in ethics and research design. More than 200 scholars from the Association of Internet Researchers, a global group of interdisciplinary academics, have signed a letter saying the effort is too limited in the questions it’s asking, and also that it risks replicating what sociologists call the “Matthew effect,” where only scholars from elite universities—like Harvard and Stanford—get an inside track.

“Facebook’s new initiative is set up in such a way that it will select projects that address known problems in an area known to be problematic,” the academics wrote. The research effort, the letter said, also won’t let the world—or Facebook, for that matter—get ahead of the next big problem.

Categorized in Social

Now more than ever, marketing experts are improving their marketing strategy with fewer resources, and they are shifting marketing budgets from traditional to digital tactics like search engine optimization and social media. Companies, too often, omit their social media marketing strategy from their SEO strategy, which is a grave mistake. A study conducted by Ascend2 indicates that companies with the strongest SEO via social media strategies now produce the best results, and vice-versa. Companies that consider themselves “very successful” at search engine optimization are integrating social media into their strategy, whereas, companies that are “not successful” at search engine optimization are not integrating social media into their strategy.

See the graph below:

SEOSocialIntegration

In the above graph, companies with successful SEO are in blue while those companies with an inferior SEO strategy are in amber. You can see 38% of those doing very well with search engine optimization was also extensively integrating social media. A full 50% of those doing poorly at search engine optimization was not integrating social media at all in their strategy. This graph signifies that companies that are succeeding in search engine optimization today are including social in their strategy.

SEO is much more than just high ranking in Google. It is a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive approach to website optimization that ensures potential customers, who come to your website, will have an excellent experience, easily find what they are looking for, and have an easy time sharing your optimum-quality content. The combination of SEO and social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can be overwhelming for big as well as small business marketers. Until recently, search engine optimization and social media marketing were thought of as two very different things, but actually, these are two sides of the same coin. Consider the below mentioned social network growth statistics:

  • YouTube hosts nearly 14 billion videos. Source: comScore
  • Google sites handle about 100 billion searches each month. Source: SEL
  • Facebook is now over 1 billion users. Source: Mark Zuckerberg
  • Twitter has over 550 million accounts. Source: Statistics Brain
  • Google+ has over 500 million users. Source: Google
  • LinkedIn is at 225 million users. Source: LinkedIn
  • Pinterest grew 4,377% in 2012 and continues to expand to 25 million users. Source: TechCrunch
  • Following statistics shows how social media is quite helpful in effective search engine optimization:
  • 94% increase in CTR (Click-Thru-Rate) when searching and social media are used together. Source: eMarketer
  • 50% of consumers use a combination of search and social media to make purchase decisions. Source: Inc
  • Consumers who use social media (vs. people who don’t) are 50% more likely to use search. Source: srcibd
  • Websites with a Google+ business page yield a 15% rise in search rank. Source: Open Forum

With these statistics, we can say that social media can be a primary engine for promoting new content and can take your website from zero visibility to a strong performing position almost overnight. For enhancing SEO through social media platform two factors play a vital role, which are social signals and natural link building. I have explained these two factors in an elaborative manner:

What’s Your Social Signal?

Social Signals are signals to various search engines that your content or information is valuable. Every time someone likes, shares, tweets or +1′s content about your brand, especially a link, they are sending a social signal and the more social signals means you have better chances to rank high on search engine result pages. Many researchers have found that social shares are quite valuable when it comes to building your website authority. Here is the latest research from Searchmetrics, highlighting which social signals correlate to rankings on Google:

socialsignals2

Note that 7 out of the top 9 factors are social signals. Now, it’s clear that social signals can have a huge impact on your search rankings, especially social signals from Google+. If you do not have time to leverage all of the social networking sites, then make sure that Google+ is one of the few you do use because it will play the biggest part in increasing your rankings on search engines. Top social signals that Google is tracking on your website are mentioned below:

Google+

Google+ is a fledgling community when it is compared to social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter, but its social signals have the most impact on search ranking results. Some factors that you should look at are:

Amount of +1s- You need to start distinguishing +1 to your website in general and +1 to each piece of your content. You should increase +1s to your brand/your authorship profile. This also applies to +1s on Local+ pages.

Authority of +1s- If your profile or brand gets more +1, then you will get to rank higher and easier for the future content you produce.

Growth rate of +1s- You should strategize a plan that will increase your +1 steadily over an extended period of time.

Amount of Adds and Shares- How many people are following and sharing your content tells about how authoritative you are.

Authority of Adds and Shares- Who is following you is also important. A network with people with great profiles helps you to establish a voice.

Facebook

The king of social networking sites, Facebook has an active community of over 900 million. Millions of active users make it a perfect platform for generating social signals. Various research has shown that Facebook influences more search rankings as compared to Google+ or Twitter. Some factors that you should look at are:

Amount of Shares and Likes- You should remember that “shares” carry more weight than “likes”.

Amount of Comments- The collective amount of likes, shares, and comments correlate the closest with search ranking.

Twitter

Twitter is second only to Facebook and boasts 500 million users that are constantly “tweeting”, status updates and events in real time. Twitter users, known as “tweeps”, put more premium on a tweet’s authority rather than sheer amount; though the overall social signals generated by it lags just a little behind Facebook. On Twitter, you should look at some factors like:

  • Authority of followers, mentions, and retweets
  • Number of followers, mentions, and retweets
  • Speed and intensity of tweets and RT over time

Other social websites like Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and FourSquare

The big three, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, play quite important role when it comes to social ranking factors, but you should not ignore the potential of other user-driven social websites like Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and FourSquare. On these social networking sites you should look at following factors:

  • Amount of Pins and re-pins on Pinterest
  • Comments on Pinterest
  • Growth rate of Pins and Re-pins
  • Check-ins on Foursquare
  • Spread rate of check-ins at FourSquare
  • Upvotes on Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon
  • Comments on Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon

Link Development through Social Media

The traditional way of link building like en-masse link directories, spammy comments, forum-posts for the sake of links, and anchor text sculpting are over now. In the modern era, the powerful way to build link is an effective content marketing strategy. People love informative and quality content, and they love sharing content. Social media sites are one of the best platforms for content marketing, in this way these are quite important for natural link development.

How to build natural and quality links through Social Media Platforms

There are two tactics that will help you immensely in earning quality and natural links through Social Media Platforms are:

Link-building through interaction and community engagement

If you’re link-building but never building relationships or never interacting with people, you’re not really link building: you are spamming. If you interact with people who might care about your brand, you can gain a cutting edge over other competitors. Meaningful interactions with the audience in your niche prove your credibility and will lead to more authority links. 

You can also get links through interaction from a popular site or a popular brand, when they post to their Facebook page, make a Google+ post, launch a new blog post, or put up a new video on YouTube. In this case, I also recommend you to interact early and often. Early because a lot of times, being in the first five or ten comments, interactions, or engagements really helps you to be seen by the editors who are almost always watching. When you do such interaction, make sure you are adding value, by doing this you make yourself stand out in the comments. You can add value by doing a little bit of detailed research and by making the conversation more interesting. By posting great comments, you will create interest in target customers and they often click your profile that will latently earn you some links. In addition to this, you can also offer help to other people and you can help people without being asked. This is a great way to drive links back to your own site and you can do this, not just on blog posts, but on Google+ posts, Facebook pages, and YouTube comments.

Link building through quality content

In addition to gaining links from popular sites, you can also earn links by posting qualitative and linkable content on social media platforms. If you create content that people find valuable and informative, they are more likely to want to share it. What people find valuable can vary, but optimum quality blog posts and infographics that provide well-researched information, statistics, and new angles on a subject are all good starting points. A good and informative video that attracts viewers’ attention is eminently shareable, which is one reason nearly 87% of agency and brand marketers now creating a video for content marketing. When someone reads your quality and informative content on social media sites and finds it of value, it is more likely that they will want to link to it.

Article-Effective-Content

In order to give your informative content the best chance of reaching a wide audience, you should identify the key influencers or target audience in your field. In this way, you will be able to target your efforts effectively. Facebook and Twitter are the two go-to social media platforms for most people but you should also seek out targets on other platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Tumblr. In addition to this, if you are marketing within specific regions, you might want to channel your efforts to the most popular websites in each market. For example, VK is the preferred social media website in Russia, while Orkut can help extend your reach within Brazil and India.

You can also use various tools and services that can help you find the best targets. For example, Followerwonk offers a Twitter analytics service and it can help you to compare and sort followers by looking at data such as social authority scores and the percentage of URLs. Furthermore, you can also gauge reactions to your own tweets by monitoring your activity alongside current follower numbers. Apart from this, Fresh Web Explorer is a handy tool, as it searches for mentions of your brand, company or other keyword and automatically matches this with ‘feed authority’. In this way, you can sort key influencers from those with less perceived authority that will allow you to target your efforts more effectively.

Now, it is clear that social media is an essential part of search engine optimization. Following diagram explains you a blueprint of how social media supports SEO: 

seo-social-media

Quality Content gets published- One of the best ways to increase quality traffic to your website is to publish shareable, useful and relevant content on social media sites.

Content gets Shares, Links, & Likes- As you start publishing your company’s blog posts or research work on a regular basis and spreading it across the social networking sites, your content will start generating shares, links, and “likes”.

Sites Gain Subscriptions while Social Profiles get Fans & Followers- As a result, your site’s blog will gain more subscribers and your social media channels will gain more followers, fans, and connections.

Thriving Community Supporting the Website & Social Networks Grows- A thriving community of people who are interested in your user-focused content develops and starts to thrive.

Reputation Reinforced through Social Media & SEO as Authoritative Brand for the Niche- Signals are sent to various search engines about your activity on social media platforms and your keyword-rich and informative content. Your website starts being viewed as reputable, relevant, and authoritative.

Sites Gain Authority in Search Engines- As a result, your website and its informative and quality content starts appearing higher and more frequently in the top rankings and listings of search engines for your keyword phrases and targeted keywords.

Sustainable Stream of Users Discover the Site organically- A consistently growing stream of users will begin discovering the website via the social media sites, search engines, and your email marketing efforts.

I have explained how aligning SEO and social media efforts can really enhance your SEO performance. In order to execute this task effectively, you might even like to hire experienced SEO experts. You should make sure that your social media and SEO teams are working together in order to create a unified digital marketing strategy.

Source: This article was published problogger.com By Guest Blogger

Categorized in How to

Buffer has just released its State of Social 2018 report. It is based on interviews with over 1,700 social media marketers.  The use of live video is growing year over year. The report features insights into why some social media managers reported success with live videos while others did not.

Live Video is a Growing Trend

Publishing the live video on social media platforms is not mainstream. However, the practice is growing. This is what Buffer says about it:

Live video hasn’t yet caught on (only 31 percent of marketers have broadcast live video)

In our last State of Social report, 26 percent of marketers said they had created live video content. In 2017, 31 percent of marketers said they had broadcast live content—just a 5 percent increase…

While a 5% increase may not sound like much of an increase, that’s still an upward trend. This is a new way of communicating with customers and potential customers, but the evidence is that it is becoming more and more mainstream.

How Effective is Live Video?

According to Facebook, live video is six times more effective at generating interactions than non-live videos. Buffer’s 2018 State of Social Report indicates that of those who used live videos 60% reported they found them effective, while only 10% found live videos ineffective. That’s a remarkable statistic.

That feedback doesn’t tell the whole story, however. If you dig down into the data and count up how effective live video was, you get a different picture.

As you can see, of those 60% that found live video effective, the majority, 36%, found it to be somewhat effective, while only 24% found it to be very effective. This may be a normal distribution of success as in any marketing activity. It could also be a reflection that live videos are more appropriate for certain industries than others.

Why is Live Video Ineffective for Some?

Of the 10% who reported who reported that live video was ineffective, fully 92% of them indicated that they only rarely used live video as part of their social media strategy. Social media managers who reported a lack of success were using live videos only once every few months. That might indicate that those who found it ineffective weren’t putting much effort into live videos.

How Often Should Live Videos be Published?

While 55% of those who found success published live videos on a regular basis, 45% of those who found success published live videos every few months. However, if we break down those numbers by daily, weekly, etc. we get a different picture entirely. It turns out that only 1% of successful live video creators published videos on a daily basis. Below is a graph showing that the biggest group of successful publishers are actually those who published live videos every few months.  Below is a graph showing the breakdown of how often live videos were published by those who reported that live videos were effective.

Quality not Quantity of Live Videos?

What separates those who found success posting live videos every few months versus those who posted at a similar frequency but found them ineffective? The survey doesn’t tell us. One can guess however that the relevance to users and effective promotion may have something to do with the success of those who posted live videos every few months.

The takeaway is that how often live videos are posted isn’t a guarantee of success.  Like anything else, the quality and relevance to the audience may play a role. It may be that success with live videos may be similar to pay per click advertising, where context, relevance and answering the question of “What’s in it for me?” works best.

The full State of Social 2018 report can be downloaded here as a Google Sheet.

Images by Shutterstock, modified by Author

Graphs and bar charts by Author

 Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti

Categorized in Social

This is the age of influence and networking. The success of a brand or an individual highly depends on the amount of influence earned as well as the level of networks created in the meantime. Today, the best place to power up influence and build network is social media and just like web search engines, there are number of cool social media search engines that can help you or your brand to find real people, build networks, and share or gain useful information required to raise influence within your niche market.

Yes, you heard it right. There are many specific social media search engines out there designed to help you find real people and user profiles across major social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and many others.

The more people you can manage to add to your network from the same industry, your influence resultantly improves in the industry. And, there’s no better way to find people on the web other than looking for them via social media search engines.

Today, we bring you a cool list of top social media search engines that can help you find people within your industry nearby to grow your influence, reach, as well as network within the industry.

Best Social Media Search Engines to Find Real People across Top Social Networks

There is no doubt that Google is the most popular search engine on the web to find almost anything on the internet. However, even Google fails or is not up to the mark when finding people or profiles on popular social media channels.

Today, we will share some of the best social media search engines that would help you find real people as follows:

Social Mention

The first on our list is Social Mention. This web tool is systematically designed for people looking for social media contents that include blogs, microblogs, comments, bookmarks, videos, and more. With Social Mention, you can also set alerts and receive emails based on your searches for specific brands, celebrities, or company related updates. The tool is quite helpful for bloggers, who can install its real-time buzz widget on their blogs for maximum benefits.

WhosTalkin

WhosTalkin is another social media search engine that lets you explore conversations relevant to the topics that interest you. You can find updates about your favorite sport, favorite food, celebrity, or a company. With WhosTalkin, you can engage in conversations that are most relevant to the topics you like. This internet-based social media search engine tool is able to search through a number of social media networks and blogs for your favorite trending topics and conversations related your favorite celebrity, sports, food, places, videos, etc.

YoName

As the name of the search engine suggests, YoName lets you find people across different social media platforms by name. With YoName, you can search people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger blogs, and several others using the search form. Simply enter people’s name, email address, or phone number and then hit “Yo” to get the results. Besides social media search, YoName also supports web search, business search as well as public records search.

Anoox

Well, Anoox is not exactly a social media search engine but it allows you to get information via multiple social media websites as well as find answers to your queries from real people. At Anoox, you can share & discuss with real people for the best answer, truth, and in turn more traffic to your website or profile.

BoardReader

Unlike other social media search engines, BoardReader is a search tool for community forums and boards. With BoredReader, you can easily explore popular content spread across the internet including news, articles, videos, press releases, etc.

Bing Social

After Google, Bing is the 2nd most popular search engine on the web and its social arm known as Bing Social is designed to find the latest news and trending topics shared across popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks.

Addictomatic

Addictomatic is yet another social search tool to explore the latest news, trending topics, attractive blog posts, viral videos, and interesting pictures. This tool searches the best live sites on the internet to find the latest news, blog posts, videos, and images for you. With this tool, you can easily keep up with the latest updates on the hot trending topics, and keep up to date with the latest social media sensation on the web.

Twazzup

Twitter is a strong social media platform with lots of viral and trending news surfacing on this microblogging tool every single second as you are reading this article. Twazzup lets you search these trending news and topics across Twitter and lets you keep up with the social media buzz around the globe.

Snitch Name

Snitch Name is a white pages service for social networks. This amazing search tool is designed to search people’s profile over popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and other networks.

Blinkx

Videos are now an integral part of the social media world and Blinkx is a social media search engine dedicated to videos medium. One of the best social media search engines on the web, Blinkx is a search engine for videos with over million hours of regularly indexed online videos. This video search engine enables you to watch videos ranging from a wide variety of different categories including but not limited to news & politics, celebrity, technology, business, gaming, food, sports, and more assorted from all the major news portals and video sharing platforms.

Flickr Advanced Search

Flickr, as everyone knows, is one of the largest photo and video sharing platforms on the internet. While it lets you upload and view photos and videos on it, Flickr also lets you search for images or videos based on your topic using its advanced search tool embed with smart filters and variety of options designed to deliver accurate and effective results.

Source: This article was published geekdashboard.com By Rajeesh Nair

Categorized in Search Engine
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