Okay, so you are getting ready to start using social media or you have already started, BUT you want to know what kind of return you are getting for your "Social Media Initiatives" and who is talking about you online and where. Well, many know that you should monitor your progress with a social media monitoring system of some kind. And if you didn't know, well now you do. There are two basic ways of monitoring, and this article is going to cover both. One is to use a system that is already in place with analytics to measure all kinds of data in one place. The other is a mashup of different tools so that you basically get much of the same data.
There are multiple Social Media Monitoring firms that you can use including: FiltrBox, Radian6, and Scout Labs. These companies will allow you to get setup with a complete, in depth, platform to help you listen, monitor, and find out where to engage. This may range anywhere from $9.95/mth to $500+/mth depending on the amount of users and topics you want to monitor. I suggest these types of services to companies who have a steady and solid income with individuals who can dedicate time to absorbing what is being said and replying as needed. If you are a newer or smaller company, it is less likely that your name will show up much at all, this means the free mashup versions will be the best choice. It is also these free mashup versions that will be used to most.
There are a few tools you can use for searching the internet for mentions of keywords related to you and your organization. This is done through things like: blog searches, Twitter searches, general search, aggregator tools, and Facebook search. I'm going to go through each one, but remember that you should use 5-8 keywords like: company name, key management names, product name, key competitors, and industry terms. Each of the following monitoring/search tools should be used on a normal schedule to get a quick insight of what is going on online that will relate to you.
First Step, Blog Search!
Start off by using sites like Technorati and Google Blog Search. Here, you are searching through blogging websites which are producing content around your specific keywords. By doing this search you are learning about what is being said as well as finding bloggers who are in the works of influencing others with their blog. So, you are killing two birds with one stone. Monitoring your keywords, as well as finding the people talking about your keywords.
Next thing you can do is search for terms on Twitter. By searching for keywords on Twitter, you are finding real-time discussions about your keywords. Here you can jump into the conversations you are reading about. This will give you the ability to respond back in real time as well as find new people who are mentioning your keywords.
The 350+ Million people on Facebook are producing status updates, groups, fan pages, and application related to all kinds of topics. It is important to search Facebook for your keywords so that you can determine what people and companies are talking about your specific keywords. It is also important to find the conversations and respond or generate conversation.
Facebook also has great analytic tools that allow you to know many different pieces of data related to your pages and ads. You can view things like page views, wall posts, fans, removed fans, photo views and more. You simply can see this by clicking the "Ads and Pages" icon in the bottom left near the "Applications" button.
You may also use a few tools which combine multiple searches. These aggregation tools allow you to see what others are saying in relations to your keywords in one place. Social Media Monitoring Aggregator tools are: SocialMention, StepRep, and SentiMetrix.
If you are using a mushup of the tools that I just mentioned, there are hardly any analytics to go along with it. It is heard to know how many times someone reads your post, replied, commented, etc. We suggest that you create some type of log system on your own to keep track of the number of times something related to your keywords comes up. Keep track on how things are increasing and decreasing. Learn what content and interactions cause further mentions and conversations. By keeping an eye on this data, you can use the data for product and service improvements, specific content, bug fixes, and further innovations.
Now Pay Close Attention --
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