Who is Talking About You and Your Brand? Leveraging Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

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If you have made social media marketing part of your overall marketing plan then you'll want to take the next step and set up social media monitoring tools to help you keep your finger on the pulse of what is being said about you, your brand, product or service.
Now, you can totally geek-out and sink way too much time into trying to find out about who is talking about you and what is being said, but the purpose of this article is to help you to set up some simple, free tools to monitor your social media presence that will not suck up a ton of time.

Before you start monitoring your social media presence and tracking your buzz online, make sure that you have clearly established goals and benchmarks so that you know what success looks like for you. Are you looking to generate more traffic, or maybe more engagement, (shares, retweets, mentions, conversations)? You want to get more people talking about your brand? Decide what the goal is so that you will be able to effectively measure your progress.

The first thing you want to keep track of is who is linking to you. Go to google.com and type: Link to: www.yourwebsite.com into the search box. You'll get a list of all of the sites that are linking to that page so you can see who is linking to you so maybe you can start creating relationships with those blogs or websites.

Type your name, your product name, or brand into the search box with quotation marks, for example, "The Super Widget," and you'll get links to pages that mention that phrase.

Use Google Analytics to see who is linking to you, talking about you and sharing your content.

Google Alerts is the most basic way to cover your bases as far as monitoring your buzz online. Set up Google alerts for your name, your company name, competitor's names, etc. and the information you are looking for will be emailed to you in digest form every day.

Use your Google Reader to set up a social media monitoring dashboard. Use this RSS reader to subscribe to the feeds of your favorite blogs, competitors blogs, industry news sites, supplier sites and even Twitter searches.

To monitor your buzz on Twitter.com, there is Tweetstats.com. Just type in your Twitter username and TweetStats will give you a granular breakdown of how many times a day/month you tweet, what times of day you tweet the most, who you re-tweet and @ reply to. You'll see a tweet cloud where you can get an idea of your top most common words, and your most used hash tags. After you've been using Tweetstats.com for awhile you can even get follower stats.

Now the most important step in all of this is to use what you learn as you monitor your social media presence. As you find other sites linking to you, strike up a conversation with them and maybe offer to do a guest post or reciprocate by mentioning them favorably. Keep an eye on your competition and learn from them to improve your marketing. Social media monitoring is an effective way to measure the ROI of the time you spend on social media marketing.

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