5 Tools For Analyzing Location Data from Social Media

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wp-pin-mapThe volume of data available through social media overwhelms marketers of all sizes, including large brands with hundreds of outposts. Whereas it might be possible for a merchant with a single location to manually monitor the tweets, reviews, and photos being posted about his business each day, that kind of personal attention to detail is virtually impossible for larger brands.

A handful of hyperlocal vendors are offering tools that brands can use to make sense of the local data coming through social media. With geo-targeting capabilities that allow merchants to infer location from the context of a user’s message, brands, retailers, and other large chains can see where relevant conversations are happening and measure the influence of their most loyal customers. Here are five examples of platforms that marketers can use to make sense of the location-specific data coming from social media.

1. Topsy: Use location trends to improve marketing efforts.
Understanding where messages are coming from is a major piece of the puzzle for any marketer watching social media trends, however just 7 million of the 450 million tweets sent each day are tagged with the sender’s geo-location. Topsy has created a solution that infers the location of a Twitter user by looking at the user’s profile, words in the tweet, language, what websites are being shared, and local website history. When brands notice a flurry of activity surrounding their products in a specific town, for example, they can learn what the buzz is about and capitalize on the momentum by paying for promoted Twitter ads. Topsy’s most advanced features start at $12,000 for an annual subscription.

2. Gnip: Put online conversations into context using offline location data.
Gnip provides large retailers and other major brands with access to real-time streams of public data from social networks including Tumblr, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram. Using Profile Geo enrichment, Gnip “normalizes” the latitude/longitude data that users share in their profiles on social networks. This allows companies to view the approximate location of social media users, regardless of whether those users have geo-tagged their posts. Marketers can create maps showing the relationship between activity locations (like specific stores) and user profile locations. Gnip pricing starts at $500.

3. ListenLogic: Get to the root of social media discussions.
Noticing a spike in posts about a brand on Twitter or Facebook is only the first step in putting out fires as a social media manager. ListenLogic offers tools that marketers can use to pinpoint the specific locations where posts about controversial topics (like foodborne illness or defective products) are coming from. For example, a marketing executive at a restaurant chain that notices an increase in complaints about the food quality at a particular location in Ohio can notify management at that location and work together to find a resolution. ListenLogic offers geographic targeting to the country, state, and MSA level. ListenLogic’s pricing is based on the specific engagement and requirements a client needs.

4. Geofeedia: Create location-based social media streams.
When brands, retailers, and restaurant chains use Geofeedia, they’re able to uncover consumer trends and engage influencers in key demographics. The platform’s location-based streaming tools allow businesses to create “geofeeds” by entering an address or drawing a boundary around a location on a map. Geofeeds can be useful for monitoring and analyzing all the social media activity inside a geographic region. By creating individual geofeeds around each of their outposts, large retailers and restaurant chains can get a hold on the messages being sent out within a close proximity of their stores. Geofeedia offers unique pricing based on the individual features each user requests.

5. Sysomos: Access the geographic location of social media influencers.
Using Sysomos’ MAP product, brands can access detailed geographic location information about social media users and quickly compare the reach of their digital campaigns to those of their competitors’. The vendor’s social media monitoring dashboard, known as Heartbeat, can also be a useful tool for locating the countries, states, and cities where conversations are happening among key influencers. For example, retailers can use Sysomos to track the style trends women are discussing on Twitter or Facebook, and they can compare how national trends differ from the discussions going on in the individual communities where their stores are located. Sysomos offers software licenses, purchased on a monthly subscription fee.

Know of other platforms that marketers can use to make sense of the location-specific social data? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.