5 Great Monitoring Tools and How to Use Them

I am always looking for the next great social media monitoring tools and I use them constantly. I use them to monitor the brands I manage in real-time, from my work computer to my home computer to my smartphone, I always want to be in the know and I am sure you do too. It has taken me a while but I have found my staples, what I use everyday that has not been overcome by new products and those who have upgraded beyond those products.

But why monitor? Why, I am glad you asked…

 I monitor for several reasons, but do you really have a choice anymore? With everyone’s regular online experience becoming more integrated with their social online experience, someone somewhere is talking about your brand, and if not certainly your industry. Also, monitoring can help you find new target markets, help find quality control issues in everything from your product or service to your website content, easily identify emerging trends in your industry, and monitor your competitors as well.
What about the time it takes to do all of this?

 You can easily monitor a single brand in less than 10 minutes per day, I will detail this in the individual monitoring tools below.
Let’s get to it!

These are my top 5 social media monitoring tools:

  1. Google Alerts  –  www.google.com/alerts – Set up your keywords, type of content (everything, news, blogs, video, realtime, and discussions), frequency of e-mails (as it happens, daily, and weekly) , and the volume (only the best or all). I set mine up for all of everything daily. This allows me to see what has happened while I have been away from the keyboard and to give a recap of the last 24 hours and includes all the links. This tool is also easy to quickly forward to a colleague. To review it takes about maybe 2 minutes.
  2. SocialMention – www.socialmention.com – Their tagline says it all “Like Google Alerts for Social Media”. They include blogs, microblogs, networks, bookmarks, comments, images, news, video, audio, and Q&A. This is perfect for those Yahoo! Questions that you never seem to find until they are already answered, this is also great for monitoring new posts on Digg or StumbleUpon. Another 2 minutes for this social media tool.
  3. TweetDeck – www.tweetdeck.com – This tool I don’t even really have to check! You can set up multiple twitter accounts, see an integrated home feed, mentions, and inbox, sent tweets per account, multiple twitter searches and more, but the best part is that you can set up desktop notification so that you can leave Tweetdeck running in your browser or in the background and receive a little pop-up window every time someone mentions you or a keyword you set up! The time this takes depends on the amount of mentions so we will say 2-3 minutes.
  4. HootSuite – www.hootsuite.com – HootSuite allows one to manage all of your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and more! I adore having all of my Facebook fan pages in one place, it makes it so easy to review them for additional comments and wall posts and quickly respond. And, it also has analytics built-in as well and who doesn’t like analytics? Reviewing Hootsuite takes about  2.5 minutes total.
  5. Addictomatic – www.addictomatic.com – Create a bookmark that shows me the latest buzz on any topic I set up? Yes, please. With Addictomatic you can enter your keyword or key phrase and set up a custom page where you can choose from 25 different sources or use them all to create a quick snapshot. Pulling up and reviewing this bookmark takes about 1.5 minutes.

Bonus!

For those hoteliers out there I suggest Revinate in addition to these, it allows to monitor all of your reviews and social media in one place, it even allows to monitor several different properties.

Also, you can set most of these to RSS feeds as well and review them Google Reader. Facebook also now gives you the ability to set up your fan page notifications in an RSS reader.
Well, there you have it, my monitoring favorites in 10 minutes a day!

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