Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram- with each passing day, it seems that social media platforms proliferate even more.
As an affiliate or other marketer, you simply can’t monitor every social media network and answer all the questions or comments addressed to you. Likewise, you can’t possibly be aware of every negative review or complaint made against you.
Or can you?
While social networks have indeed proliferated, so also have various online tools to keep tabs on these networks. Best of all, most of these monitoring tools are free and easily available through a simple download or sign-up. Here are some of the best social media monitoring tools currently available:
You can’t get any closer to social media monitoring than with a free tool actually called Social Media Monitor, courtesy of Wildfire. Using this tool, you can monitor your fan base growth and activity on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can also monitor your competition’s fan base and activity. Also, you can create social media campaigns (e.g., giveaways), then simultaneously publish and monitor them on several different social networks and your own website.
If you sell affiliate products or operate a website centered around a given keyword, you can use Social Mention to look for mentions of your keyword on social media platforms and within blog posts, comments, videos tweets, etc. Social Mention is also available as a downloadable search engine toolbar for your Internet browser.
With the Bloglines Reader tool, you can easily track all of your followed websites or blogs for new comments, events and other updates. To start, simply customize the site’s dashboard with some preferred view options and input your affiliate (or other) website URLs.
This free tool enables you to work with and update up to five social networks at a time; furthermore, if you have an international audience, you can schedule your content for geo-specific publication. Hootsuite also enables you to listen in on conversations that customers are having with their current brands; dissatisfied customers become an excellent opportunity for you to enter the conversation and offer a solution. Finally, for businesses that use marketing automation and/or sales platforms, Hootsuite integrates with systems like Marketo and Salesforce.
There is a host of Twitter monitoring tools. Track, for example, enables you keep tabs on select keywords and have their mentions sent directly to your mobile device in real-time. Twilerts does the same thing, except that the mentions are emailed. Contaxio allows you to track your Twitter friends and followers and find out how much of your content they are recommending or retweeting- a tactic that is useful when you are considering who to follow back. Last of all, there is Pulse of the Tweeters, which sifts through millions of tweets to locate Twitter users that are the biggest influencers when it comes to your keyword or brand.
This social media monitoring tool sends you daily reports of your social influence as measured by retweets, follower counts, memberships, unique mentions, etc. in numerous social networks including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Your social media “klout” is reported as a score (i.e., Klout Score) ranging from 1-100, which is calculated using the platform’s proprietary algorithm and represents “influence on the social web.”
While it’s relatively easy to locate blog post or Facebook content, forum comments and image captions are sometimes harder to track. To this end, Boardreader monitors over 50,000 forums; it can also be set to track new discussion trends surrounding your product, website or name.
This old stand-by is useful for monitoring conversations around several different selected keywords, then sending you alerts either immediately or on a scheduled basis (as decided by you). Because you typically receive a laundry list of relevant mentions, you can use these findings to craft new blog or other social media content for your networks.
Lesser known, but equally powerful, is this content mashup tool offered through Yahoo!. With the Yahoo! Pipes tool, you can select numerous social media content feeds and combine their relationship with each other into a single pipe. You can also set specifications on your pipes; for example, you can receive geo-specific notices or notices only when social media mentions exceed a certain threshold.
If you are trying to keep tabs on the competition and benchmark your site against someone else’s, this social media monitoring tool alerts you when a competing website has made changes to its content or updated an outside information page (e.g., Wiki).
Social media monitoring is only as good as your strategy
While it may be tempting to download and use as many of the above listed tools as possible, remember that they all take time and energy to master. And once you obtain the latest blog comments or criticisms from your online audience, what then? It’s far more important to have a social media action plan in place to take advantage of the incoming information rather than become overwhelmed by the tools and their infrastructure. In this way, you can win new customers and maintain a positive online reputation.