I have monitored social media buzz on particular keywords and brands via qualitative measures and it is time consuming. I found some good approaches like:
1. Google Trends
2. Google Alerts
3. Going to Twitter Search

Someone recommended Viral Heat. But its a pay service. But if it saves time and its accurate, why not.

I am actually starting some research into this for one company I deal with who is launching their social media plan and they want a way to monitor the situation. I should have some info in a few days.

I know some businesses use high end service/tools like Radian6 and BuzzLogic but for the small business owner, I wonder what other tools other than the ones we mentioned above do small business owners use.