Listening can be fairly simple, but can also become fairly complex. How much time do you want to spend on listening? How much money are you willing to spend on listening? The following tools can get you started:
- Google Alerts -- Start with Google Alerts. The system is simple and many of you are already using it. Search for trends in your niche and apply the results to your social media strategy.
- Social Mention-- Social Mention is a free listening tool that allows you to track and measure what others are saying about your brand. The tool monitors social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc. Users can also request email alerts. Social Mention is excellent for someone who is looking to dabble with social media listening, but doesn't want to deal with any complex features.
- Hootsuite -- I use Hootsuite on a daily basis and have been for more than a year. The Hootsuite dashboard allows me to monitor my brand in real-time, searching for keywords, mentions, and hashtags. More importantly, Hootsuite provides analytics. If you choose to go this route, make sure that you download the Hootsuite mobile app for your smartphone.