Since I’ve become interested in Social Media, it’s been a task for me to figure out how to manage all the information and conversation which I am interested in. My aim was to cut through the massive amounts of noise and clutter and only hear the conversation about the brand/keyword/client/industry which I need to.
So how do you do that? Well, to get you started here is my basic (101) step-by-step guide: social media monitoring tools (and also for online ‘noise’ generally)
Step 1 –Delicious account (the toolbox for all your tools)
Firstly, I’d set up a delicious account. That way you can bookmark all the sites (‘tools’) you use to monitor the online ‘noise’. Use short tags – more like categories – so you can easily find what you are looking for on your return. So a tag like Social Media Tools is pretty foolproof. So now you have the delicious account to reference your tools you can start setting these up. So….
Step 2 – Set up an RSS feed reader account (subscribed blog ‘noise’)
An RSS feed reader will allow you to track multiple blogs or websites that have an RSS feed. (You click on the little square orange button – have a look at the top right of this page).
Google reader has just been up-dated and now allows you to put your RSS feeds into folders, just like Netvibes, so it’s easier to manage and separate your feeds. Net vibes also allows you to save widgets etc and has other functionality. But Google is integrated with all your other Google accounts e.g. gmail etc. So it’s personal preference.
It’s a good idea to break your feeds manageable chunks such as by topic, client or keyword.
Step 3 – Technorati (blog ‘noise’)
I’d set up a Technorati account. It allows you to search against keywords across all blogs and listen to the ‘noise’, rather than just the ones you have subscribed to in your feed reader. Excellent for tapping into new conversations.
Step 4 – Twitter (twitter ‘noise’)
Read my other posts on Twitter if you aren’t already sold. Then use the search function, tucked away at the very bottom of the page. Put in your search term e.g. social media, your client name etc and then monitor what the ‘noise’ is. You can then RSS feed this search result into your reader (Step 1) and track it on a daily basis automatically.
Step 5 – Google Alerts (general online ‘noise’)
Then there is another Google tool that allows you to monitor the ‘noise’ more generally across the web – Google alerts. This also you to enter a search terms and it allows you to monitor the noise as regularly as you wish – once a day, week etc. A new tool I have found is also Pipes. It’s still in Beta and I tried to search against to terms I am interested in: Honda, Insight; however it could not create results when I know there is ‘noise’ happening. However against Honda it delivered the goods. So maybe one to watch as I’ve heard it is potentially more powerful than Google alerts.
As someone who is potentially interested in social media and the online conversations, once you’ve set these tools up you are ready to ‘listen’ what is being said about you, your client, your industry or your company. I think these tools pretty much cover all the basis at the moment. Unless you are more interested in specific forums e.g. Facebook. For a general overview this is a great starting point.
It may seem overwhelming at first but pretty much all news things are. Once you are used to using the tools, you can put in a diary reminder to just skim read them say once or twice a day and it becomes second nature. Then how much you react to the conversation is up to you.
So that’s my (101) basics in social media monitoring tools. Any more suggestions?