Monitoring social media is about more than remaining active on your own social media account. Developing an engaged following requires reaching out to industry influencers and listening and responding to your target audience. There are quite a few social media monitoring tools that exist, but many of them are costly and don’t make sense for small to mid-sized businesses or non-profit organizations. Here are three free tools to help you better monitor your brand in social spaces.
Social media is time consuming, and unfortunately, if you are looking to get the most out of social media, there is no real substitute for investing time. But some social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, can help you manage the time you are spending more efficiently and help you to see and focus on what’s working for you, rather than grasping at anything and everything, hoping to find some social media miracle.
Hootsuite has a lot of features that you can play around with and implement for yourself, but there are three main tools that stick out when it comes to saving time. First, Hootsuite allows you to access all of your social media accounts in one place. This means no jumping around from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and back - simply log into your Hootsuite account to interact with all of them. The second beneficial feature relates to scheduling your social media posts. While a great time saving feature, you have to be careful not to just set it and forget it, because social media still requires so aspects of sociability. And finally, Hootsuite allows you to set up monitoring based on specific keywords as they are being used throughout social media platforms. This can help you to manage your brand’s reputation and give you a good glimpse at what people are talking about in your industry, all without a whole lot of effort.
Social Mention is a search tool that crawls a wide range of social platforms across the web and returns a list of post and comments that contain your keyword. While this can be a good way to discover what people are talking about in your industry, it is not the feature that makes Social Mention stand out when it comes to social media monitoring. Rather, the way Social Mention has made its mark is by providing a detailed analysis of the following:
- Strength: the likelihood that a search phrase is being discussed in social media
- Passion: the engagement level of a search phrase or how likely it is that a given person will engage in discussion repeatedly
- Sentiment: a ratio of positive comments versus negative comments
- Reach: a measurement of a range of influence based on the number of authors divided by the total number of mentions
Use Social Mention to quickly monitor your brand’s social media presence or the social media presence of your industry on the whole. Using the metrics above, you can get a good idea of what you are doing well when it comes to your social media strategy and where you could use some improvement.
With Google Alerts, you can monitor broad keywords to find content worth integrating into your social media campaigns and sharing with followers or you can implement highly targeted searches for specific social media sites. For example, if I wanted to share useful blog posts about web development with my followers, I might set up a Google Alert for “web development” and opt only to see content from blogs. I could then receive an alert with a list of all of the articles referencing web development from the past day or week. You could also use Google Alerts to receive email notifications of conversations about your brand or industry from specific social media platforms, but it is typically more effective to use other tools such as Hootsuite for this.
There is no foolproof social media plan that will work for every business, but utilizing some simple tools can improve your workflow and help you to determine the best course of action for your brand. If you have a favorite tool to supplement your social media strategy, we would love to hear about it in the comments below.