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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monitoring Online Social Media Mentions

Dancing ... I mean Listening to Yourself
It may be six months or a year before your blog begins to develop traction. Your initial goal as a marketing manager was to “move the needle” in terms of your company, product, brand, solution or even CEO and create online talk through the various online social marketing vehicles. Let’s take a long look at the top six free tools that will give you a cauliflower online ear or the ability to see if you have a presence within online social media chatter. Do not be disappointed if you do not and do not be disappointed if management is expecting tangible, measureable metrics. These old quantitative measurements do not exist within online chatter. The intrinsic return on investment is through presence, shear volume and then by interaction. Your goal or rationale to corporate needs to be built with this in mind or you are setting yourself up for failure in their eyes. Remember that the internet represents a new collective, many new paradigms in terms of intimate customer feedback and the potential for expeditious solutions. The older methods of measurement or even quantitative results must be discarded.

Good Old Google - Google Blog Search
The top dog or number one tool is Google blog search. Google web search is going to present you with hundreds or thousands of useless and often unrelated web mentions. The Google blog search will pick up more specific online chatter which could be positive or negative (in either case, you want to be aware.) This tool gives you a chance to not only locate and listen but also the opportunity to create and comment. Remember that interaction with the intended customer is the bane of web 2.0. You'll find Google Blog Search under more when you are on the Google main search page.

Google Custom Search
The second tool is a little more covert and that is Google custom search. You can set up your own personalized search engines that weeds out and dedupes the tremendous and unwieldy results of a bland Google web search. It is very fast to set up and leverages the largest search mechanism on the web – Google. Custom search is located here -

Let them come to you.
You simply perform a Google blog search (under the more tab when you are on the Google search page) and begin to set up alerts that based upon your predetermined set of words “Redmond Media” or “” in my case. You can set up Google blog alerts or Google web alerts and these will be delivered to your email in box. You can also determine the frequency. I have mine set up to come in as soon as the Google search bots receive a match which usually has a latency factor of about sixty minutes.

Tweat, Twit and Twitter The fact that Twitter is almost as powerful as Google in terms of overall audience and usage is amazing. Twitter basically came out of Silicon Valley as a start up with virtual anonymity and in eighteen months. Unlike Google, Twitter leverages the hell out of mobile devices and the growth patterns for this service look very strong. Also, Twitter is also highly addictive. Your customers are venting their frustrations with growing frequency on Twitter, and corporations have their twitter ears on. The good news is that if something such as a brand or company name is mentioned on Twitter, you will be able to locate it. Simply dive in, use twitter with a few well connected friends and learn the search aspect of the service. There’s an advanced search and you can have the relative tweats come into your in box or into your RSS feeds that you have set up on your browser’s main bar (look up top.) Create an account on twitter (thirty seconds) and you'll see the search page icon.

Google has yet another tool – Google Reader. You could spend weeks, long nights and unnecessary time trying to track down every initial web mention concerning your brand, company name or CEO and find a dead end. Google reader gives you the ability to centralize your preselected search phrases in one place and one time through RSS feeds. You set it up, kick back and monitor. Occasionally you can come in a tweak (no, not tweat) the settings. You will actually start to see a pattern of the same blogs and if you wish, you can go into these blogs and begin the interaction process. Google reader is an excellent free tool to help you centralize your monitoring of social chatter.

Ciao – Technorati
Technorati should be part of your online social networking ear The newly, fully refined, Technorati is an excellent free website for the tight and relevant brand searches or even competitors. The tool is very specific, more blog oriented than any of the tools mentioned above and just a little harder in terms of usability. If you are spending two to three hours per week with a social monitoring initiative, use Technorati with the tools above and you will be ahead of 75% of your competitors.
JD Holzgrefe


dguarnaccia said...

Nice list JD, and a great start for folks to understanding what the market is thinking about you. For those what are game for a little more effort, some of the free mashup technologies are also very handy. I personally use Netvibes, and here is an example of what you can do. This is my public page where it track Sitecore mentions, and of course, on my personal pages, I track all of my competitors as well. Very handy indeed and simple to conifgure.

Tessa said...

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