This post highlights 10 tools for discovery and managing url and brand chatter. If you're doing business online or offline, these tools are essential. As the saying goes, "keeping your ear to the street."
Google web search should be your obvious first choice for listening. Web search will sometimes drown you in thousands of pages of results, most of which is often not relevant or current to your search query. Web search is great for research and historical purposes. When you are listening for real time chatter about your brand, Google blog search is the tool you need to be using. Most chatter either positive or negative can track back to the source, bloggers, blog postings, and comments left on blogs.
Google Custom Search allows you to create a custom search engine that only searches the keywords and sites you specify. It's basically a filtering layer over the main search engine. Custom Search can be used for an endless amount of purposes. It can be a very effective and a productive tool in your arsenal, and it just takes a few minutes to set up.
3) Google Alerts:
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Creating an alert is as simple as the screen shot above shows. Input the keyword, sources to search, or leave it set at the default of comprehensive, this will search everything. Lastly set your email alert frequency.
4) Google Reader:
It's simply not feasible to visit hundreds of websites/blogs a day looking for brand mentions, chatter. Google Reader makes it possible to stay on top of several hundred websites in one place.This is as close to real time as you will get courtesy of RSS feeds. As I mentioned earlier, there is a good chance that you will find chatter on blog postings and comments. Compile a relevant list of these blog RSS feeds and if possible their comment RSS feed as well. As you come across them, input them into Google Reader. If a source does not have RSS implemented, a custom search filter will do the trick. Google Reader should be your central hub for content discovery, digestion, redistribution and monitoring.
Twitter can be, if not as equally important as Google Blog search for discovery of mentions regarding your brand. Twitter needs to be paid special attention to. It's no longer the shiny toy for early adopters, it's gone mainstream. Consumers are voicing their frustrations in growing numbers on Twitter, and corporations are listening. If something is being mentioned on Twitter, it should be relativity easy to track it down using a basic Twitter search. You can also narrow your results down further using search operators or advanced search. Twitter search pages also gives you an RSS feed for the search term. You can add the RSS feeds to your watch lists in Google Reader.
Technorati is a good tool for searching a url or brand mentions. It searches a broad base of content sources. It's built on blogs, so it's a safe bet any mention of your brand on a blog will usually be picked up by Technorati. Use this in combination with Google Reader.
Yacktrack is a tool for anyone who wants to search for comments on the content they produce. It searches various sources such as Twitter and other blogs for chatter about your content. Yacktrack does a nice job of searching for those distributed comments and pooling them into one place. You can additionally search for comments by either url or keyword. Yacktrack search page results also gives you an RSS feed for the search term. I would recommend adding that to your Google Reader watch lists.
8 ) Filtrbox:
Filtrbox is for professional, persistent media monitoring. Filtrbox makes it easy to mashup all your content sources into one monitoring service. It offers a plethora of features and options. It's "FiltrRank" technology scores content based on three dimensions: contextual relevance, popularity and feedback. In testing I was extremely impressed with the accuracy and relevancy of the test filters I set up. Some of the various added features are, email alerts, the ability to share articles found by Filtrbox via email, or post them to Facebook, Digg and del.icio.us. Filtrbox offers a free, and a pay to play membership offering.
9) Social Mention:
Social mention is a social media search engine. It searches various sources such as Google blog search, Twitter, Delicious, FriendFeed, Digg etc. The data looks to be very fresh, and as close to real time as possible. In addition, they state that they offer email alerts and personalized RSS feeds. I was unable to locate these features on the site.
10) FriendFeed Search:
FriendFeed search deserves a notable mention. FriendFeed, at its core is a social content aggregator, but it's also a very powerful social media search engine. FriendFeed gives you the ability to search its entire user base for content that is being imported in from over 43 different social media sites and applications. FriendFeed also has a highly active and vocal community. Rest assured if it's on a blog, it's being posted, shared or commented on FriendFeed. FriendFeed recently also implemented the capability to search rooms.
(Image source: Sachendra files)