In my various rounds of speaking engagements on social media with my partner in crime Amy Le, I have been including a slide on general brand tracking/monitoring. This slide always receives a bunch of questions, so I am posting this how-to online so anyone can figure out how to track mentions of their brand anywhere and everywhere on the internet. Now, if you’re frugal, there isn’t one great system to compile every possible mention of a keyword across the internet. But if you use about four different ones, you can get everything.
This is probably the section most people know how to do already, but it is where the most mentions originate, so I still include it first. Thanks to Twitter’s home page redesign, most users know they can search Twitter and see all mentions of a brand or keyword. Well, what if you don’t want to keep refreshing Twitter all day? Applications exist for all mobile and desktop platforms to notify you when new comments mentioning your brand or any keywords you want to track exist. My favorite of the free platforms is Tweetdeck, though Seesmic is pretty similar. Tweetdeck in particular also pulls in data from Facebook, Foursquare, and LinkedIn related to your accounts on those platforms, but is not able to scan data mentioning your brand on them due to the lack of public availability. Tweetdeck and Seesmic are available as desktop applications that can be hidden in your tray until you receive a notification as well as all mobile devices. Reply to people if it makes sense and retweet some complimentary remarks.
One note here: Neither Tweetdeck not Seesmic will remain free forever. It’s important to note that there are other players in the space that already charge and may be better suited for your more aggregate monitoring needs, such as SproutSocial, HootSuite, Radian6, et al. This post focuses on free apps, but want to make sure you keep this in mind.
I know what you’re thinking. People still use forums? Hell yeah they do, and you should know what people are saying about you on them. BoardReader allows you to search all forums for mentions of your brand. What makes BoardReader even more invaluable is the fact that you can subscribe to searches so any time a new mention occurs you are automatically notified. Just perform a search and click the “See Tools…” link at the top to subscribe. My personal preference is RSS (no, it’s not dead), but setting up a personalized home page isn’t a bad idea either. Jump in the conversation if you want, but do it respectfully and don’t hide your connection to your brand.
There are numerous blog search sites. The important thing to remember is that all of them are good besides Google’s. My personal choice is Icerocket. Just do a search and click the Results RSS link on the left. Pop that into your RSS Reader or personalized home page and you’re set.
In reverse of my section on blog posts, Google News actually works pretty well here. Just search your brand and find the RSS link at the very bottom of the page. Rinse and repeat on the RSS Reader or personalized home page.
If you’re asking yourself what are backlinks, well, you should learn some SEO. Backlinks are the most important part of search engines’s algorithm. They determine the authority of your website. SEOMoz has a great post on using Yahoo! Pipes to track new backlinks.
Now, all of this can be applied to your competition, so if that’s important, replicate these suggestions with your competitors’ brand names for competitive research.
So, now that you know how to track it, what are people saying about you?