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26 Free Tools For Monitoring Your Brand's Reputation

December 16, 2009

Filed under: General

Are you listening? Do you know what people are saying about your brand?

Pam Dwyer, recently posted an exciting article on the most popular tools that you can use to monitor your brand’s reputation. This is an excerpt from one of her recent postings. You can also visit Pam’s blog site on:

If you have customers, odds are they’re talking about you to their coworkers, to their friends, and to anyone else within earshot — including those on social networks. Isn’t it in your company’s best interests to be engaged and take part in the conversation so you know what’s being said and can respond appropriately?

As brands get going with social media, they find that understanding who is talking about them online, what they are saying, to whom, and where is a great advantage. After auditing your current brand footprint, you’ll be armed with the data you need to start weighing what’s important to your audience about your brand and where you should have a presence.

Build a list of keywords and terms about your brand, customers, company, and market, then use some of these free tools to get a clearer view of what people are saying — with this knowledge in hand, you can begin to really develop a social-media strategy:

1. Addict-o-matic
Allows you to create a custom-made page to display search results.

2. Bloglines
A Web-based personal news aggregator that can be used in place of a desktop client.

3. Blogpulse
A service of Nielsen BuzzMetrics that analyzes and reports on daily trends in the blogosphere.

4. BoardTracker
A useful tool for scanning and tracking forums conversations.

5. FriendFeed Search
Scans all FriendFeed activity.

6. Google Alerts
Target keywords that are important to your brand and receive streaming or batched reports.

7. HowSociable?
A simple way to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social Web.

8. Icerocket
Searches a variety of online services, including Twitter, blogs, videos, and MySpace.

9. Jodange
Tracking your brand or a product is one thing, but turning that tracking into a measure of consumer sentiment about your brand or product is something else entirely. Jodange’s TOM (Top of Mind) tracks consumer sentiment about your brand or product across the Web.

10. Keotag
Keyword searches across the Internet landscape.

11. Facebook Lexicon
What are people talking about on Facebook? Lexicon searches Facebook walls for keywords and provides a snapshot of the chatter volume around those terms.

12. Monitter
Everyone is talking about Twitter, but what are people talking about on Twitter? Beyond the integrated search of Twitter apps like Seesmic and TweetDeck, Monitter provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere.

13. MonitorThis
Subscribes you to up to 20 different RSS feeds through one stream.

14. Samepoint
A conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about.

15. Seesmic
Monitors multiple Twitter accounts and enables keyword searches and tracking.

16. Surchur
An interactive dashboard covering search engines and most social media sites.

17. Technorati
Search engine and monitoring tool for user-generated media and blogs. Billing itself as “the leading blog search engine,” Technorati has been helping bloggers and those with their fingers on the blog pulse stay informed for years.

18. Tinker
Real-time conversations from social media sources such asTwitter and Facebook.

19. Trendrr
Want to know how your brand or product is trending compared with others? Trendrr uses comparison graphing to show relationships and discover trends in real time. Use the free account, or move up to the Enterprise level for more functionality.

20. Tweetburner
In the world of Twitter, URL shortening is the key to effectively connecting with the public. Tweetburner also lets you track the clicks on those magically shortened links, giving you some hard numbers.

21. TweetDeck
Not only a great way to manage your Twitter account, but the keyword search means you can see what people are saying about you.

22. Twendz
Public relations firm Waggener Edstrom’s Twitter-mining tool that monitors and highlights user sentiment in real time.

23. Twitter Search
Twitter’s very own search tool is a great resource. Can be subscribed to as an RSS feed.

24. UberVU
Track and engage with user sentiment across FriendFeed, Digg, Picasa, Twitter, and Flickr.

25. wikiAlarm
Alerts you to when a Wikipedia entry has been changed.

26. Yahoo! Sideline
A TweetDeck-esque tool from Yahoo. Monitor, search, and engage with the Twittersphere.

Listening and making sense of how your brand lives on the Web is only part of the calculus — the next step is how you leverage that information to engage with your audience.

Tags: social networks, keywords, twitter, blog, facebook

10 Commandments For Effective Online Social Networking

December 3, 2009

Filed under: Social Media

A 10-step game plan or practical guidelines that will make you a better member of the social-networking communities in which you participate. Full details of this excerpt can be found in author Paul Chaney’s "The Social Media Handyman" ( ).

1. Pull, Don't Push
One of the first lessons you will learn very quickly when engaging in social media is that old-school marketing tactics don't work. Don't come out of the gate pushing your products or services. New tools require new rules.

For example, don't respond to new Twitter followers with a "Thanks for following. Visit my website for a free... [insert promotional message]."

Such a response is a dead giveaway that you are new to social media and do not yet understand that it's a "pull" medium, not a "push" medium. If I want to review your credentials, I'll read your bio. (You did complete your bio, right?)

2. Win the Right to Be Heard
Social-media engagement is a conversation, and participation in the community is required. In fact, you might say that participation is the fifth P of marketing. (The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion.)

Your value as a participant is judged by the value you provide to the community as a whole. Be a "glory hog," and you'll garner little attention. Share freely, and you will become a respected member.

3. Content Is Still King, but Conversation Is Queen (and Conversion Is the Prince)
Nothing beats well-written, informative, entertaining content in all its forms: blog posts, tweets, videos, podcasts, images, webinars, or whitepapers. Place yourself in a position of being a knowledgeable expert (assuming you are, of course). Community is the context.

Moreover, keep content and commerce separate. Never the twain shall meet is a good rule of thumb. Editorial and advertorial content should be distant kin, if related at all.

4. Authenticity and Transparency Are Social-Networking Cornerstones
The words "authenticity" and "transparency" may seem trite, but I believe they remain the cornerstones of this new media-marketing paradigm. Be real. Be open. Be honest. Admit mistakes when you make them.

5. You Don't Have to Be on Every Social Network

It's impossible to maintain an active presence on every social network, and you don't have to. You do have to be where your customers are, however. They expect you to be there.

6. Give, and You Shall Receive
Having an attitude of helpfulness goes a long way toward establishing a credible name for yourself in social-media circles. "Seek first to understand, then to be understood," said St. Francis of Assisi. "People don't care that you know, until they know that you care" is how I put it.

"Lose control of your marketing," is how author David Meerman Scott puts it. Give ideas and information away freely, with no strings attached. Be willing to give up control of the marketing message (as if you could hold it close to the vest in the first place, given the current Web 2.0 landscape).

7. Don't Throw the Marketing Baby out With the Bath Water
The rules of marketing still apply to social media—well, most of the rules, anyway. Social media is another channel to build your brand and market your message. It's not a panacea, and it's not a replacement for other forms of advertising and marketing.

I have learned that marketing has room for integration. Email and search remain the areas where most marketers spend their top dollars, and for good reason: Email and search both perform very well. All forms of marketing are interrelated, and social media is finding its place in the spectrum.

8. Social Media Is a Mindset, Not Just a Toolset
You have to incorporate the essence of social media into your thinking. Don't just change your toolset (tactics); change your mindset (strategy).

9. Be Yourself, Whoever That May Be
A good friend of mine has a mantra that she follows in every respect: "Be yourself." (It's even her personalized license plate.) No better advice can be given, whether or not you engage in social media. One thing is certain: You can't be who you are not. (See Step 4.)

Use your photo as your avatar and your name as your handle. That's not to say you shouldn't have an identity tied to your brand. It's just that in social media people would rather relate to and build trust with other people than with brands. It's a trust economy, after all.

10. Social Media Is Not a Religion
Although it does come with a set of largely unwritten rules (sorry, I don't know of any stone tablets that have been brought down from Mt. Sinai), social media is not a religion, no matter how hard guys like me try to make it one. There is room for experimentation. In fact, experimentation is the only way the medium will grow.

Tags: social media, marketing, market, brands, customers, video

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