It’s been a little more than a year since I put together my list of 26 free social media monitoring tools you should be using to monitor your brand’s reputation.
In that time, new social networks have gained increased importance, and new tools have come onto the scene. The original list still remains important, but consider these additional 8 social media tools to be your 2008 update.
If you know of any free tools that should be added to the list, please share them in the comments section for others to see.
Now that Twitter is entering “mainstream” it’s vital for businesses to pay attention to what is being said about them on the micro-blogging service. Use Twitter’s official search engine to monitor your brand and subscribe to the RSS feed that accompanies the results. If you’re not a fan of RSS feeds, TweetBeep offers a similar service with alerts sent via email.
2. Blog Comments
There’s a new blog comment tracker in town and it goes by the name of BackType. Monitoring blog posts is not always enough. A blogger might post a positive article about your company, but your detractors subsequently rip your reputation to shreds in the post’s comments. I like BackType for reputation monitoring because it lets you search comments that mention your brand, but it also lets you search comments left by a particular person. If “Billy252″ is constantly criticizing your company, BackType will alert you whenever he leaves a new comment.
3. Forums & Message Boards
BoardTracker is still my favorite message board monitoring tool but BoardReader is another one to add to your list of social media monitoring tools. BoardReader lets you monitor forum posts, topics, and actual forum names (good for knowing when a new forum starts specifically to discuss your company).
4. Web Page Changes
What if you want to monitor a page that doesn’t offer an RSS feed for changes made? If you’re a Windows user I still like Copernic for this task, but for the rest of us there’s WatchThatPage.com. Tell WatchThatPage to keep an eye on any web page and you’ll receive an alert if any change is made to that page. No more worrying about what’s being added to that RipOff Report page–OK, you can worry a little.
Google Trends is the most popular trend analysis site out there, and you can also get trending charts with paid social media monitoring tools too. For those seeking an alternative, Trendrr will scratch that itch. You can track and compare the trends of any keyword–your company, CEO, etc–and even compare them to other keywords. Trendrr’s pretty charts definitely qualify as social media “eye candy.”
6. Social Media Snapshot
Want to take a quick glance at the social media mentions for your brand? While Social Mention isn’t a tool I’d rely on for day-to-day social media monitoring, it’s great at providing a quick snapshot of conversations surrounding your brand. Enter your keyword one time and switch between blogs, twitter, bookmarks, comments, events, images, and more.
I typically recommend that, when a new social network launches, companies go ahead and register their company username–even if they have no plans to actively use it. The web is littered with stories about companies that had their brand “hijacked.” With Username Check, you can quickly see if anyone is using your brand as a username on any of the major (and many minor) social networks.
8. Facebook Buzz
Now that Facebook has become the hottest social network, it’s time to pay attention to the conversations that happen there. With Facebook Lexicon (you need to login to see it) you can search any keyword and instantly see how often it is discussed on Facebook users’ “walls.” Take a sneak peek at the new Lexicon and you’ll also see demographic and sentiment data for popular keywords.
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About The Author: Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world's most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian. You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.