Paul M. Banas on Consumer Insights, Marketing Research, and the Digital Media Landscape
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Monitoring Brands Across Social Media And Twitter

“One of these days, your boss will wander into your office and say “I assume you’re keeping track of which brands in our category are using Twitter””.

This is a very real world situation that marketers and marketing researchers will soon find themselves in, according to this post from Tom Cunniff at the iCPG blog.

This applies to social media in general as well.  For broader monitoring, I wanted to build on a social media monitoring approach that I’ve blogged about before and that recently Chris Brogan did a good job outlining as well.

But rather than using Google Blog Search, I’d suggest using the new RSS feed functionality that Google Alerts rolled out a couple of months ago, in order to aggregate the significant amount of online content that exists outside of formal blogs.

1.)  Develop Key Words To Track

This could be a brand name (“Energizer”) or a specific topic “homemade barbecue sauces”.  Start by typing the word or phrase in quotes in Google to see how relevant results are with the phrase.

If your brand name is also a word with multiples meanings such as “Tide”, you may need to add something like the word detergent to keep from capturing conversations on surfing or beach combing.

You can also track:

  • A URL for a Website
  • A person’s name or online nickname

2.)  Getting the search feeds:

Once you have the keywords, it’s simply a matter of setting up a search feed with different social media monitoring tools.  For the three listed below, that means adding your keywords to their search box and then clicking on the RSS subscription button to get the auto-link:

  • Google Alerts – for online news, videos, images, and other sources
  • Technorati – for monitoring blog postings
  • Twitter Search – for brand chatter on the Twitter micro-blogging platform

3.)  Aggregating Feeds In Google Reader

By collecting these feeds into one folder on Google Reader, you can monitor all your brand related mentions from social media in one convenient place.

Another good aggregation tool would be Friendfeed, especially for those who are trying to distribute their monitored content to a far flung group.

That way you can send your boss the link, and he’ll never even get to ask if you’re on top of social media and your brand.

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