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Published February 8th 2012

4 Of The Best Free Search Tools for Basic Social Media Monitoring

This quick guide to entry-level search tools for simplified social media monitoring was written by Camella Mendez, an expert in content strategy.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when they engage in social media marketing is not responding to mentions, questions and even compliments published by other people there.

Not only is it common for users to shout out to brands and companies on channels like Facebook and Twitter, it is also an established best practice to respond to what people are saying – the good and especially the bad.

Engage in Social Media

If your brand is Lady Gaga, who presumably receives thousands of mentions a day, you might have an excuse to ignore a few hundred of them (or most of them.)

However, even brands like @CocaCola, who have hundreds of mentions a day, respond to each and every one. In fact, they staff full-time teams who do nothing but reply to Twitter mentions.

For companies like Coca-Cola, this method of customer service is as fundamental as answering telephones.

Coca-Cola use a suite of heavyweight SMM tools, but if you’re a very small company or are just testing the waters, basic SMM searches are not difficult to perform.

When you realize how easy it is to monitor what people are saying about you, your company or your products on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, it’s surprising many companies don’t do take the time to do it.

In a matter of minutes, you can make social monitoring a daily routine you won’t believe you never had. You can also make a huge difference in how you engage with your customers and how they feel about you.

Here are four free and simple-to-use tools that will help you monitor what people are saying about you on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

Four Tools For SMM Search Success

None of these services are ever going to compare to the paid-for tools, but are an excellent entry point to researching social media monitoring.

Topsy

Topsy is as simple to use as search engines like Bing and Google. By simply entering your search terms, let’s say “Lady Gaga” for example, we can be presented with thouands of results showing what users are saying about her on Twitter and now Google+.

You can optimize your results to see only what users are saying within the hour, all the way back to 30 days ago. Users can also filter results by tweets and G+ posts featuring photos, videos, links and more.

Social Mention

Social Mention pulls results from across various social media profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo News and more.

Social Mention also measures the sentiment of your search terms. For instance, a search for the British designer Vivienne Westwood reveals 138 mentions that are positive, 493 neutral and 18 negative.

Tweetdeck and Hootsuite

Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are applications you can use to monitor one or multiple social media profiles.

At the heart of these tools is a handy dashboard you log into everyday that displays all of the activity happening in your newsfeeds, as well as any activity that includes brand mentions, responses or direct messages.

You can manage multiple Twitter handles and even Facebook profiles from the convenience of one area.

Both of these applications allow you to monitor keywords. This is extremely helpful for companies who create content that revolves around specific topics or who are conducting market research for new product development.

Tweet Alarm or Twilert

If automation is more your style, These products will become your favorite tool. Simply enter your email address, Twitter name, and the keywords you want to monitor and Tweet Alarm will send you an email every time someone mentions you, your brand or product on Twitter.

The Tweet Alarm service is still in beta. Until its testing and optimization are complete, it might be best to mix Tweet Alarm in with some of the above services. On the bright side, Tweet Alarm could add new features that might be even more helpful in the future.

This article was written by Camella Mendez, a content strategist for Internet Exposure, who are a Minneapolis web design agency that specializes in web design, web development, content marketing and SEO.

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