Earlier today, conversation tracking site UberVu launched Compare. The service allows you type your name and a competitor's name into search boxes to produce information on your competing brand conversations on Twitter, Blogger, Friendfeed, Facebook, WordPress, HackerNews and Youtube. After all, if social media is the lead generator and customer service tool that we think it is, then it's important for us to know where we stand against our competitors.

Being a market leader has traditionally been based on sales, page views, unique visitors, members, and engagement. It's only very recently that companies have begun to look at their social media metrics in terms of the competitive landscape. Albeit, it's clear that many have forgotten why.

It's obvious why we turned to Compete, Quantcast and the less sophisticated GoogleFight to measure our competitors. We wanted to visualize our traffic victories. But with social media, what tangible benefit can startups gain from having 10,000 more Twitter followers than their closest competitor? Many would argue that its akin to counting freckles.

But if you look at what drives traffic to your site, then you'll understand that social media is where we're keeping our leads. Rather than just jockeying for traffic and search, we should also consider social media mindshare. But honestly, what could possibly be a metric for mindshare?

UberVu's Compare is not the answer to all of your problems. It's not going to build you a positive reputation or make you a market leader. Twitter, HackerNews and the slew of other sites that your users are engaging on, are somewhere you can find out if you've screwed up or if your competition has screwed up. Good leaders know how to track brand sentiment and conversation to correct themselves, generate leads and fill a void when competitors are losing consumer trust.

The UberVu Compare tool is available at ubervu.com/social-media-comparison. If you've got other tools that help startups track leads or indicate a need for damage control, let us know in the comments below.