As a PR professional, I’m constantly looking at ways to monitor social media for my clients. I haven’t been able to justify paying for a social media monitoring service (just as Newswatch, BurrellesLuce and Cision do traditional media monitoring) when there are so many ways I know how to do this myself. There are many different ways I monitor social media, for free, including:
- Google Alerts : You can set up News Alerts and also Comprehensive Alerts that include Blog postings.
- Technorati: This is currently the largest blog search engine. You can use Technorati to search for your brand’s mention. You can also register your blog with Technorati to track blogs that link to yours.
- Icerocket: When technorati and google blog search just isn’t doing it for me, I’ve found Icerocket a great search engine for blog content.
- Twitter Search: Search.twitter.com (formally Summize) allows you to search all of the twitterverse for your brand or other key words. I was also using TweetBeep for emailed Twitter alerts (similar to Google Alerts) but have had problems with these coming on a regular basis, and I think the site is down for now.
- Friendfeed: Friendfeed is an aggregator of users’ social media tools. For example, my friendfeed compiles my g-mail status, delicious account, twitter account, YouTube account, flickr and more. In addition to using Friendfeed as a social tool, you can use its search function to monitor what others are saying.
- Social Mention: This is a search engine that searches multiple social media tools, from microblogging to blogs, to comments. It’s a type of “one stop shopping” for quick social media monitoring.
- Netvibes or iGoogle: I organize all of my searches in Netvibes by setiting up RSS feeds for all key words that I’m monitoring. I create a new tab for each client and have an RSS feed of the Google alerts, relevant blogs, Twitter searches, social mention searches etc.
For me, right now, these free services work. Most of the time, I only have a few clients that require constant media monitoring, and the conversations are generally few and benevolent. If I wanted to monitor all the social media mentions for a particular client, you can see this would be an exhausting process, with many different steps to take. Multiply that times 10 or so clients, and the process becomes too time consuming.
Even if you’re only working with one brand, if you’re working with a big name brand or a client that has recently been all over the news, a pay-for-monitoring service may be more reasonable.
I don’t personally have a paid for service at this time, but found this old Mashable post that provides a great summary and review of what they consider the 10 best tools for social media monitoring.
As the post starts out:
“Reputation management is essential to both individuals and companies. The more popular your brand is, the more critical it will be to keep tabs on it and the more time it will consume out of your day. If you work at a startup and no one has heard of your brand, or if you’re an individual who has just started blogging, these tools are still useful to you.”
I’m not personally endorsing any of these, but I generally trust Mashable and will definitely keep this post in mind the next time I’m in the market for a social media monitoring service.