Did you know you can monitor your online presence?
Online business sure is a two-way conversation, and you can’t participate unless you know what conversations are going on online. If you have built an online presence for your company, you should plan on keeping track on what’s being said about you and your business or industry on the web.
By monitoring certain keywords, businesses and people, you can find out how your business is doing compared to your competitors, see what people are saying about you and research trends and experts in your niche.
Some great free tools are available to monitor your online presence. Most of these only require a few minutes to set up and then require only a few minutes per day to monitor.
Google Alerts is a fantastic tool that lets you monitor the web for new content. Just enter the search terms you’re interested in following and enter how often you want updates sent to your email address and you can monitor any word or phrase.
You can set up Google Alerts on your name, your company name, your brands, keywords, your competitors’ companies, and top influencers in your industry. This way you will be on top of everything new that appears on the internet, concerning you and your interests.
Twitter search gives you a feed of search results of keywords, companies, people, and #hashtags on Twitter. The results are almost instantaneous and allow you to keep real-time track of tweets concerning you and your interests.
Topsy is a similar tool that searches keywords in tweets over the past 6 months (Twitter’s search only goes back about a week).
LinkedIn Answers lets you ask and answer industry specific questions. You can subscribe to RSS feed and read all the questions in a category relevant to your company and your customers. You can keep track on your customers' questions, answer questions to show your expertise and follow other discussions in your industry.
Social Mention shows you all conversations about company or any other keyword across a wide selection of social networks. See instantly who is talking about you or your products.
You can also set up alerts here, like Google Alerts but for social media. The possibility of creating a "social buzz" widget for your website is also available.
Addictomatic is a very similar tool, although I have the impression it is less accurate than Social Mention although it has some advantages as well like a handy overview page and blog searches.
Monitor the quality of your online presence
There are a some free tools that will analyze the quality of your online brand. Use Twitter Grader, Facebook Grader, and Website Grader to get a free analysis of how your pages rank compared to others. See how changes you make to your website and online conversations improve your ranking.
Monitor your online presence in real time
Use software such as TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor online conversations in real time. Set up different columns that monitor @mentions of your accounts, searches on keywords and names, and activities by your Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections.
Use the information
Monitoring your followers is very important. Besides staying active with them, your followers can tell you a lot about your online presence.
Keeping track of your online presence gives you also the chance to spot issues before they become problems, find opportunities in your niche to grow your business and build a reputation as an expert in your industry. Responding to people that mention you or your competition can help you to win new customers and to build up new relationships in your industry.
Plenty of similar tools are available on the web, but I couldn't possibly list them all. If you know another good tool to monitor your online presence, feel free to post it below in the comments.