Are You Listening?

Social Media Listening Tools

Social media content is a great source of information for research, customer service and planning purposes. It’s important to use tools to effectively listen to what is being said about: your company, its products services and representatives; your competitors and clients; your market niche as well as your target geography and other marketing considerations.

With millions of people on-line every day exchanging opinions, thoughts, feedback and other information – this data source shouldn’t be ignored.

But how to listen effectively, what to listen for and how to do so in a timely manner? As with any other market research initiative, it is important to have a social media listening strategy or plan that outlines what you are hoping to learn, the information you want to track and how you will analyse and use it.

There are thousands of social networks, millions of blogs, how do you sift through this information to find the gems that are relevant to your company and industry? It’s important in advance to know what you want to listen for. Identifying and listening for keywords pertaining to your company name and product or services names is a good start. This allows you to get going with something concise and manageable and get a feel for the type of information you will return.

There are a number of tools available to effectively listen some are free, the obvious one being Google and some charge. If you expect that you will use these tools extensively or if you hit the wall with free tools then you may want to consider the paid options as they provide structured and strategic solutions.

Here are some more specific services:

FREE

Google Alerts – this service sends e-mails outlining Google search result for your keyphrases.

There are a plethora of Twitter tools like Twitter Search, Monitter (my current favourite) and Tweetlater that allow you to monitor for keywords via email or online.

Pipl – great tool for assessing your personal brand online across multiple social networks

Backtype – search terms, follow conversations.

PAID

Radian6 – this is a paid service but word on the street is that its worth paying the price. Radian6 tools

Trackur – another tool for social media monitoring. Starting at $18 a month with a free trial.