Social Media Palaver: 6 Free Ways To Listen

People are talking about your company and brand in Social Media; with or without your knowledge or participation. It’s old fashioned word of mouth meeting modern day technology.

What used to be said between two people at the water fountain is now shared, sometimes virally, in Social Media, for the world to see forever.

As an example, recently I complemented three employees of a company who are also friends on Facebook.  That message, including the link to their business, was immediately seen by my friends and theirs. That’s well over 500 people and even more if their friends shared my message.

Where I look for conversations:

Conversations that begin on a blog or elsewhere, now often end up on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google Buzz or in a forum.  For that reason I try to think comprehensively as I devise my plan to follow conversations throughout the Social Media sphere.

Six free and easy places to start finding conversations happening now:

  1. Google Alerts.  My favorite starting point.  Set up, subscribe to, and monitor alerts that track mentions of you, your company, your competitors and your industry.
  2. Monitter.  A Twitter listening tool for conversations taking place about topics, companies, and industries of interest.  You can just view or subscribe to results.
  3. Twitter search is another simple tool for finding and subscribing to Twitter conversations.
  4. Twitter Times.  An easy to follow, useful digest derived from people you follow on Twitter and their links. It’s a good place to see who else, in your sphere and outside of it, has commented on a Tweet.  That helps find useful places to participate in conversations, and when to comment or re-Tweet.
  5. Google Reader.  A perennial all around favorite tool of mine.  I use it to subscribe to updates from around the Web on subjects, people and websites of interest and importance.  Even if a site does not have an inherent feed, Reader now creates one for you.
  6. Boardtracker.  When conversations of interest take place within on-line forums, this tool finds them and gets you the information.

Next post on listening will delve into what to do with the information you find. It’s all about the flow of communication.

Palaver: from the Portuguese word “palavra,” speech, parley, discussion, persuasive talk.

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