This blog post is Part 1 of 3 in an email series titled “3 Critical Steps To Social Media Success – A Social Media Manager Shares His Secrets”. It has been written in collaboration with Reid Travis, Social Media Manager – Panchero’s Mexican Grill.
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Reid Travis has been working as a Social Media Manager for Panchero’s Mexican Grill for over 18 months now, and in that time he has adopted some great practices that have helped him excel in his job. The basic everyday roles of a social media manager can be divided into three umbrella categories; monitor, manage and measure. For the remainder of this post we are going to dive into the details regarding the monitoring portion of Reid’s job; share a few tips and hopefully inspire you to implement some of these practices for your company, or personal brand.
The Importance Of Monitoring Your Brand Online
Monitoring is an aspect of social media that is too often overlooked. Marketers sometimes come into the scene only to create more content for the web. However, content already exists, and it’s being created by everyday people.
Over 500 million people spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook, Twitter boasts more than 50 million tweets per day, and everyone and their Mom is blogging. (literally, Google Mommy blogs)
The point is, people are spending a ridiculous amount of time on the internet these days, and majority of it is spent just talking. Social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web. Instead of simply consuming content, everyday people are more excited about being able to create content; even if it’s just 140 character messages blasted to the world. Like it or not, some of that content is about you or your brand, it’s inevitable. I want to show you how to take this fire-hose of information and filter it down into streams of content relevant to your interests.
The first service I would like to introduce you to is called Social Mention. Social mention is a free service that drills down and takes a great look at general chatter. Compiling mostly, but not limited to, public Facebook statuses and Twitter updates, Social mention is able to show you a good snapshot of the conversation surrounding a keyword or brand at this very moment.
Other small analytics such as sentiment, key words associated with your brand and top users are also offered from the service. Definitely a great place to start if you’ve never tracked a brand before, but also used pretty heavily by serious social managers. If you’re already an RSS user, the feed can be RSS’d for easy updates, too. I highly recommend taking a glance at social mention.
Google Knows (almost) Everything
Next up, lets take a look at Google Alerts If you are a Gmail user, this is a great service you can utilize to help keep an eye on news and blog updates regarding your brand. Social mention may look at live chatter, but when your brand is mentioned in an online news source or even a blog, the mention can sometimes get buried beneath the constant chatter in a large social aggregator like SocialMention.com. Positioning alerts inside your Google mail system will ensure that you don’t miss mentions.
Enter a keyword into the box, and position the various drop-down menus to fit your delivery preferences and hit go! Google constantly sweeps the internet for you and sends results directly to your Gmail address when it finds a hit. I have Alerts set up for “Pancheros” and “Panchero’s” to be sure I don’t miss any stories regardless of how the author spelled Pancheros in the article. If you have a brand name with this sort of attribute, or maybe even a common misspelling (bloggers are not perfect editors) I would suggest tossing alerts up for those words as well, just to be sure.
If you don’t have a Gmail address, but still like the idea of being able to see when your brand is mentioned in online news sources, give the Google News search a try. Bookmark this page in your browser and make a habit of searching your brand every morning when you arrive in the office. Might not be automated updates like the Google Alerts system, but at least you’re still seeing the news.
Don’t Forget To Monitor Blogs
So, we have basic chatter,(Facebook and Twitter) and also online news sources taken care of, with a dash of blog sweeping. But, like I said, everyone and their mother is blogging so it doesn’t seem like quite enough to depend on Alerts for your blog mentions. I want to show you two more services that are pretty darn good at pulling in blog posts by keyword searches.
If you can’t tell already, I’m a pretty big fan of Google; a lot of their services are free and they really do work wonders with the internet. So naturally, the first blog tracking service I want to show you is another Google service called Google Blogs. If you have ever used a basic Google search before, this is essentially the same thing except all the results that appear are strictly blogs. You are able to filter out all the news sources, websites and other content that you may not be concerned with right now and just focus on those wondrous blogs!
Not as much of a fan of Google as I am? That’s fine, option two for blogs is not a Google service; meet IceRocket. With a focus primarily on blogs, IceRocket is very efficient at showing you what’s being said on the internet via those amateur, but sometimes very influential web writers.
Prefer to Watch vs Read?
Watch this 7 minute video that reviews the tools mentioned in this article.
There you have it, an arsenal of free services at your disposal to help you be more informed about your own brand. Social media content can be powerful, running a new marketing campaign, adopting a new product or service, looking at acquiring a new company or partner? Use any and all of these services to check what the public has to say! These keyword searches don’t always have to surround just a brand. Get specific and use the content out there to make some seriously informed decisions about your company or brand.
Just monitoring a brand can be a full-time job in itself, especially if you are tracking a very popular brand. But remember, none of these services are any good if you don’t take the time to slow down and actually read a lot of the content coming through your searches. Find what genre of blogs typically pick up your brand, take some time to really identify with the consumers that are talking up your brand online by actually reading and getting to know their content. It will make you feel more connected to your consumers and more familiar with how they are interacting with your product, service or brand.
I would love to hear what you think! Do you have any tools that you use to monitor conversations online that I haven’t covered in this article?
Thanks for tuning in for the first of the three part series on social media. Next time we will tackle how to efficiently manage a social media presence and what tools I’ve found to be a great help.