Do you know what people are saying about you?

From Blaugh.com

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

How does this relate to public relations? Well, if you aren’t monitoring and measuring the World Wide Web, does that mean people aren’t talking about you?

Nope.

One of the most difficult parts of PR is that you cannot control what others say about you and your clients. If what they are saying is good, well then by all means, let them sing your praises from the rooftops! If what they are saying is bad, what can you do? And how can you do anything if you don’t even know it’s out there?

­­­­But how exactly can you measure something as vast as the Internet?

Let’s take a look at baking. (Stick with me.) Measurements in baking are simple. 1 cup = 8 oz. And 16 cups make up a gallon. End of story.

But for every social media tool available, there’s more than likely 20+ other tools you can use to monitor the same thing. So someone like me who likes to know that x + y = z (always and forever) might be lost in a world full of no exact measurement system.

But rather than leave you sitting here scratching your head, here are my top 3 social media monitoring tools. (You can thank me later.)

This assumes you already have Google Alerts set up. If you don’t, stop reading rightthisveryminute and head to http://www.google.com/alerts and set up an alert for your company. I’ll wait. Good, now we can carry on…

1. I prefer Social Mention. Simply type in the search team, hit “Search” and in seconds you get real-time results from all the major social media sites. In your search results, Social Mention gives you what I call add-ons.

  • Strength – the likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media.
  • Sentiment – the ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative.
  • Passion – a measure of the likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly.
  • Reach – a measure of the range of influence.

2. TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application that allows you to be “always on” in the world of Twitter. Some of the great features of this tool include scheduling tweets in advance, list integration, automatic URL shortening and multiple account management. (As a PR pro at an agency, this is invaluable!)

3. And for a paid service, Trackur seems to be the go-to. Earlier this year, they launched  Trackur Free, so you’ve got nothing to lose to give it a try. (They give you one saved search for free.)

If that’s not enough, thanks to the power of Wikis you can check out a growing list of tools on Ken Burbary’s A Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions.

Happy monitoring!

Tory Patrick is an Account Manager at Vantage Communications. See what else Tory and her colleagues have to say on their blog, Vantage Points. You can follow her on Twitter – @toryk.

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