This is the third post in a series on monitoring and listening techniques for social media. Read more in Listen Up! Part 1: Search Basics, and Listen Up! Part 2: Keywords and Operators.

How to Efficiently Monitor References to Your Brand

The list of keywords, both positive and negative, that you need to monitor for references to your brand may be overwhelming. You may be asking yourself how you are supposed to enter all these keywords into a search every day, let alone read through the results to determine which require responses or further monitoring. And how are you supposed to do that on top of all your other everyday tasks? The answer is to automate the process as much as possible. To do this, we’ll rely on a combination of tools (all free!) to streamline the monitoring process and create an easy response method. We’ll break this into two segments: monitoring blogs & news sites and monitoring social media.

Lay the Groundwork

To create your monitoring alerts, you will need to set up user accounts on the following platforms:

I recommend setting up your Google account, including a Gmail email address, first. You can then use this Gmail email address to create your other accounts, ensuring that all your social media communications are funneled through one email account. This will help keep your “work” email account clean, and will ensure that all emails relating to your social media accounts are in one location. Setting up an account for each of these platforms should be fairly self-explanatory. See Part 1 in this post series for more information on setting up TalkWalker Alerts.

I suggest keeping your usernames and passwords in a secure spreadsheet or document that you can access easily. Be sure to encrypt the document and/or set password protections where available.

Create Alerts to Monitor Blogs & News Sites

The first stage is to develop a system of alerts to monitor blogs and news sites. Search engines frequently “comb” these sites for new content, so you can use automation processes to have the search engines check the sites for the content you’re looking for. We will use the free tool TalkWalker Alerts to set up monitoring alerts. In a later post I’ll describe how to combine these alerts with If This Then That (IFTTT) and Google Drive to create a one-stop location for monitoring these results.

You will need your keyword list to complete this stage. Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Group keywords that are similar when possible and use Boolean search operators to create search strings for your brand.Example: (“Michigan State” OR MSU) AND (“graduate school” OR “grad school”) will return any instances that refer to MSU or Michigan State along with graduate school or grad school. 
  2. Create a spreadsheet noting your Boolean search strings – one per line.
  3. Open up TalkWalker Alerts.
  4. Create a TalkWalker Alert for your first search string. Enter your search string in the first line. Leave “Result Type” set to Everything. You can adjust languages to whatever makes sense for your brand. Leave “How Often” and “How Many” set to their default settings. Enter the email address associated with your TalkWalker account. (If you don’t have a TalkWalker account, entering your designated social media management email address here will create an account).

    TalkWalker Alerts Create Tab

    TalkWalker Alerts Create Tab

  5. Repeat step 4 for each of your remaining search strings.
  6. When logged in to TalkWalker Alerts, view your “manage alerts” page.
  7. Right-click the RSS feed button and “Result Type” link on the left of the first line in your alerts panel.
  8. In the menu that appears, choose “Copy Link.”Screenshot: Copy RSS Feed on TalkWalker Alerts
  9. Paste this link into your spreadsheet (from step 2) next to the search string it corresponds to.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 for the remaining RSS feed links. Once your spreadsheet contains all the RSS links for all your search strings you may close out of TalkWalker Alerts.

Read Part 4 in this series to learn how to use the RSS feeds from these alerts to create an automated dashboard for your brand.