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DIY social media monitoring

5 steps to a free online monitoring platform

DIY social media monitoringHere are instructions for setting up what I like to call your online listening platform — a way to use Google Reader to continually pull-in the latest news and information for your important keywords and phrases.

Step 1

Before you get started, you want to identify what your important keywords and key phrases are. A free tool to help: Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Type in the top 3-4 terms you think others would use to find your company, product or service, then let the Keyword Tool show you what words and phrases actual online searchers use. Identify the top 30 or so terms for your online presence.

These should be a mix of product and brand names, team players and generic industry terms for who you are and what you do. A good strategy is to aim for a number of mid- to high-volume terms for which there isn’t a ton of competition. Then create online content that includes those terms on websites, blogs, newsrooms and in social media. Repeated use of the terms on various platforms will ensure maximization of your rank in search results.

A good goal is to have half to three-quarters of the first page search results for your most important terms link to content you have published.

Step 2

Create a Gmail account for your company. I recommend one generic account that can manage your AdWords (if you chose to do pay-per-click advertising), Analytics, Drive (cloud document sharing), FeedBurner (RSS delivery), Google Site Search and Reader.

Step 3

In another browser window, go to Google News search. Enter your keywords in the search box (you may want to put it in quotes; Boolean search tools are helpful), click on the search button, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the RSS link.

If you’re already logged in to your Gmail account, you should come to a screen that asks if you’d like to subscribe to the feed using Google Reader. You can say yes. Or, you can copy the URL of the feed and then paste it into your Reader account using the subscribe button towards the top left.

What you’ve just done is searched Google News for content that includes your keywords, then added that search result to your Google Reader. Now your RSS feed is updated every time news sites (as identified by Google) are updated with content that includes your keywords.

Pretty slick, right? You’ve just spent a few minutes and you’re done. You don’t ever have to do that search again.

Repeat this process for all your primary keywords and phrases.

Step 4

Next go to another search tool to repeat the process. Additional places I usually go to scour the Web for content are:

Google Blog search
Bing News

Step 5

Here’s where you organize your Reader. You can do this after you perform all the search queries, or while you add RSS feeds for search queries.

Organize your Reader into folders for people, products, brands, services, etc. You can even rename search feeds to better identify them.

A quick look at a folder tells you whether there are unread items and how many, in the same way your email inbox works.

In Summary

You’re all done! You’ve probably spent 15 to 30 minutes setting up your own FREE online listening platform. Now it’s time to reap the rewards.

You didn’t have to pay someone else to do this for you. Congratulations.

Now all you have to do is make it a daily habit to check out your Google Reader for new content.

Use the tool to:

  • Identify what others are saying about you, then decide whether or not you want to join the conversation
  • Monitor your share of voice and sentiment in your industry
  • Come up with new content ideas for your publishing channels
  • Find good content you can share with your social networks (this is known as content curation)
  • Measure how effective your own publishing is by the percentage of your content that appears in the Reader (on your own and others’ channels)
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