How to track social networks and survive

When we have our brand in social networks and we want to create a community, it is important to have at hand whatever people say about us. The volume of mentions about our brand on the Internet depends on the size of our brand. This may sound logic, but it is also determined by the tools we are going to use. It is not the same tracking the presence of the latest fashion boutique that has opened in our district than tracking all what is being said about an international brand.

The famous saying “may they speak good or bad, but may the speak” is halfway true. Who are we to fool? Nobody likes people criticising their work. But what is important in social media is to locate where is people talking badly and understand why. This is the only way to turn things upside down and transform the negative aspects into weapons for the brand.

Daily tracking is key to avoid disgusting surprises, prevent any kind of problem and get a global idea of what is people saying or thinking about us. In addition to prevent possible crises by detecting failures before they take place, the general opinion of users is the most useful feedback, and we have to save it and use it to guide our online communication strategy.

What are the best tools?

There are hundreds of tools to track social networks. Some focus on one platform or a particular aspect of one social network; others are more complete. Taking into account our brand size and the volume of interaction we are used to, we will choose one tool or another. We also have to bear in mind this detail to know if it is worth investing in a pay option or we can do with tools free of charge.

HootSuite

This is perhaps one of the best known platforms to track social networks. Not only does it give an overview about our social profiles, our timelines and specific searches, but it also allows publishing and programming content, as well as answering to messages and comments. The free version allows to manage up to three social profiles, but if we want to pay for the Pro version, we can add up to 50, which are more than enough as a pool for all the platforms where our brand is present. The tool also makes reports to analyse the evolution of the profiles.

Mention

If we want to have everybody in our hands, Mention gives the option to track our presence all around the web, both in social networks and blogs or forums. There are different pay plans, and it is conceived for those who have a high volume of mentions. It extracts a lot of data and makes detailed reports, detecting for example the influence of the user that has mentioned us or the feeling of the mention.

Google Alerts

Locating the conversations about our brand in social networks is crucial, but we cannot lose sight of the rest of the web. Forums and blogs can give us a lot of information about what our clients and users think about our name. Activating the Google Alerts service, we will receive emails periodically when the search engine detects our name. It is not a bad idea to spend one hour a day reviewing what the web is saying about us.

The human touch never fails

Tools make our life easier and do the hardest stuff for us so that we do not go completely mad, drowned in the hundreds of tabs we have opened in our browser. However, these tools are heartless: they do not understand sarcasm, they do not understand that some opinions are more important than others nor can they tell us when will a comment lead to something much more serious.

The human touch cannot be replaced, so we have to analyse carefully all the information so that we are not caught unprevented and to stay up to date.

Image via Balakov.

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