The internet has given rise to blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Youtubing, Instagramming and emailing. This series of interconnected tubes has brought down entire industries, reshaped others, and given birth to entirely new ones. It’s made the world a smaller place and while some may argue that the world being a smaller place is not a good thing, the list of pros heavily outweighs the cons. What do all these services have in common? They make communication easier.
It’s gotten to the point that you can communicate with the [internet] world using the medium of your choosing. Do you find you’re able to better get a point across with images? Take advantage of a service that caters to your preferred medium and use Instagram or Pinterest to communicate. The written word your thing? Blog about it, create a Facebook post, or keep it simple with a Tweet. Are the thoughts in your head racing too fast for pen to be put on paper, to be typed out? Record yourself and have people listen to your latest manifesto in the form of a downloadable podcast. Display the emotions your hands speak with a YouTube video.
The common thread here is that the internet makes communication with a large crowd or a select few very, very easy in almost every format available/imaginable. This is not cited, but I’m positive literally billions of conversations take place via the internet every single day. I know I participate in several of those, I know I share a few links and chuckle at a few cat pictures per day. The internet is my go to source to find out what is going on around me.
It’s safe to say if you work for a brand or a company that sells a product and uses the internet as a sales channel, your brand, company or product has been talked about on the internet. Your brand, company or product is subject to user reviews, opinions, or demonstrations. Odds are someone has brought you up either in passing tweets or made you the subject of a full featured review or exposé. These conversations can take place on any network and originate anywhere in the world. The conversations can be favorable or unfavorable. What’s important is that you are aware of what is being said on any forum or outlet.
Why is this important? Conversation can run roughshod and go unchecked, with users or commentators having questions, being confused, or just in outright awe of how amazing everything you put out is. Being aware enough to interject when necessary can be a huge boost to the perception of your brand, company or product. Both to battle inaccurate information, and for the appreciative nod in response to praise.
So how do you stay on top of these billions of conversations and filtering out the irrelevant bits? I’ll share the tools I use to do exactly this:
HootSuite in conjunction with TweetDeck
I use HootSuite in order to create conversation by using HootSuite to schedule Tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ posts and even LinkedIn posts.
TweetDeck I have set to monitor conversations. I get notifications every time I have a mention so I can respond in a timely manner. I’ve set it up to monitor relevant hashtags, users and topics of conversations so that at the appropriate time I can chime in with something that will add to the quality of the conversation (and increasing my perceived value as a brand, company or product).
SocialBro at first glance seems to overlap with HootSuite and TweetDeck, but that is not the case in the least. SocialBro really digs deep to provide you with useful, relevant Twitter data. Data such as, where my Twitter followers are from, what industries they work in, when they’re online and how active they are on Twitter. If I were to notice an out of place trend among my followers or those I follow, SocialBro would be the bro to supply that information. My Bro also helps me identify who the influencers that follow me are. I like to think when those influencers follow me, I, in turn influence them and want to make sure I’m tailoring my content to influence them positively.
Mention is Google Alerts on steroids. Mention keeps track of everything! Forums, blogs, and social networks. Then it lets me filter out things that I know are just spam/noise. I get quick alerts/notifcations, so that I can act or react quickly to something that demands it. If the mention calls for it, I can use the application to tweet, retweet or share my mention from within the application. Most important is the Stats and data Export tool, which breaks down my mentions into easy to interpret PDF reports.
Topsy is a bonafide veteran in the game of social search, established in 2007, right around the time RT’s became an official Twitter feature. Topsy is an index of the “public social web” that will analyze any topic, term or hashtag across years of conversations on millions of websites. The paid version, or free trial, will actually let you dive into any key terms of your choosing and let you find new ones and compare those to past trends. It really is a very advanced, in-depth “social” search tool. Being able to gauge the exposure of any event or campaign is huge. See how far your tweets penetrate, and how much your blog posts are shared with Topsy. For the analytically minded, Topsy is a must have.
Then of course, there is the old stand by, Google Alerts, which will send you an email every time a term you’re “listening” for is mentioned somewhere that Google indexes.
What do you think of our list? Got any recommendations for tools that should be added? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages!