I spoke at a Government Knowledge seminar today on the value of listening to and monitoring social media. I focused the talk on applications for the public sector, for the majority of the audience. Few public bodies have dedicated budget for social listening. And many would benefit from first understanding what is happening and where – and to what extent – the organisation can use those insights before investing in a paid-for service.
So I suggested some quick tips for a bit of DIY social media listening:
Put a + at the end of a bitly link and you can find out the stats for it eg https://bitly.com/1eZafhW+ This can be hugely helpful for evaluating your own content but even better for understanding if third party content is making a lot of noise (and whether you should engage with it).
A great free Twitter search engine. Useful for some historic tweets (but only a small sliver of what actually happened). Even more useful for finding tweets that linked to a particular URL. Eg. http://topsy.com/trackback?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fpolitics%2F2013%2Foct%2F01%2Fed-miliband-daily-mail-lies-father
Fantastic free tools to grab content from websites. Particularly tweets. Low barriers to entry (price or writing code). See particularly their list of Twitter scrapers. I use it to get all the recent tweets from a particular user (eg. to see how many times they’ve talked about a campaign) or to get all of the followers of an account into a spreadsheet (to build a Twitter list or search people’s bios). The latter can be a great way of building a list of Twitter users in a particular area. Just search for the followers of the local authority, local newspaper etc.
People do still blog, even though there isn’t a single good search engine for the purpose. But do try Twingly and Icerocket (acquired by Meltwater) and also WordPress.com is worth a look. All struggle with spam.
- Free analytics
Make full use of Google Keyword tools, Facebook advertising and Google Trend. Play around with Google Correlate. See what you can discover, don’t get distracted and one day you’ll find a use for the tool.
Lastly, approach it all in the spirit of discovery. Most of what I’ve learnt was in the process of trying to learn something else. Find out what’s possible and compare it to what works for you.