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In my opinion, the foundation to any engagement in social media should be the ability to listen to what people are saying about you. Actively engaging in the conversions people are having about your business can be an extremely powerful marketing tool and the benefits can be as diverse as improving your site’s rankings to helping retain existing clientele.
One thing to keep in mind when tracking your business’s social presence is to not only concentrate on brand lead terms. Whilst it is key to see what’s being said about your company’s brand name, it is equally important to monitor phrases relating to the periphery of your business. Mentions of the products or services you provide should be monitored as well.
The first step however before engaging with those all important discussions is to arm yourself with the tools to find who’s talking about you. With this in mind I have put together a list of FREE tools any business can use, be it big or small, to help track their social media presence.
Twitter Search – http://search.twitter.com/
A great way of getting a quick overview about what people are saying on twitter. You can also set up custom searches to keep you on top of particular topics in certain geographical areas.
For example, if I wanted to know what people were talking about PPC in London and surrounding areas, I would construct a search like so:
PPC near:London within:100km
The search would be populated like so:
These searches can also be saved to Google Reader or TweetDeck, meaning you don’t have to constantly be carrying out these searches and will be alerted new developments as they hit Twitter.
Google Alerts – http://www.google.com/alerts
A content monitoring service which automatically updates users on new content from online sources such as news, blogs or discussion boards. You are notified when new content is published based on a set of search terms you set and save using your Google account.
Updates can be sent to a feed or emailed to you.
Tweet Deck – http://www.tweetdeck.com/
A great way to work across multiple social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. By amalgamating your various accounts into one easy to manage feed, it will save you time not having to constantly log into multiple accounts. You will also be able to share photos, videos and links across multiple platforms quickly and easily.