Every day I’m asked for access to our social monitoring tool. On the one hand, I’m excited that folks want to engage but on the other I question them on what objectives they want to meet. Are you looking for Twitter metrics? Influential bloggers? Other business intelligence?
If you’re thinking about social monitoring services, do this first: search Google. Yep, you heard me. A glance at Google results for your chosen topic will start you down the right path. You’ll see what type of site your topic is mentioned on and how often. Google’s recent redesign offers one-click access to parse by web site, new site, blog, Twitter update, photo, what-have-you. Explore those options with this thought in mind: “How are people communicating about my topic?”
From here, use some free social monitoring tools to help separate the grain from the chaff. The social channels themselves offer useful tools. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube offer decent metrics and intelligence options. Other tools I use and recommend: SocialMention, TwapperKeeper, Klout and Twubs.
Metrics are great, first define some context and apply it your social strategy. Only then will you have the information you need to make a deeper dive into the listening waters.