Listening to online conversation in social mediaA very simple (and free!) way to get social media buy-in from your organisation is to show them that conversations are already happening about your brand or product.

If you can show that, then your organisation then has two choices:

a. Ignore them and hope for the best. Which is never a good strategy.

… or …

b. Start thinking about what you can do about it. Which is where buy-in starts.

But the truth is that you won’t know, until you start listening and find those conversations! So here’are three simple, and free tools to start tracking down those conversations.

Of course there are much more sophisticated and paid tools out there –  take a look at this Wiki page for instance - but for now, here’s where I suggest you start…

3 simple ways to start listening to online conversations TODAY!

1. Google Alerts (http://google.com/alerts)

Perhaps the easiest and most effective of all listening tools. You can create alerts on any keywords that are important to your businesses. As soon as Google indexes a page that contains that keyword, you will receive an alert by e-mail. Why don’t you start by creating a Google Alert on your own name?

Some tips:

- when you create an alert with two or more words, put them in brackets: “like this”
- choose: Everything (type), As it happens (How often), All results (Volume).

2. Social Mention (http://www.socialmention.com)

Social Mention is to social media what Google Alerts is to web pages. It searches user generated content such as blogs, comments, events, videos, news, et al. You can search on the site itself or opt for receiving free daily email alerts for instance on the name of your CEO, company name, marketing campaign or product. A tip: Ignore the ‘sentiment’ element of social mention for now – it’s definitely not accurate enough to make business decisions on!)

3. Twitter search (http://search.twitter.com)

With about 50 million tweets send per day, Twitter is a channel you must be listening to as well. On Twitter you can listen to what’s being said about your company, brand or products – in real time. A tip: check out Twitter Advanced Search. It allows you to exclude certain words, filter on date or place or even on positive or negative sentiment!

Good luck!

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