After my whuffie post last week, I had a number of people ask me how to keep track of their social reputation beyond just doing Google searches on yourself or your company’s name.
First of all (and perhaps most importantly), you have to get an RSS reader (aka feed reader). You don’t have the time yada yada yada, but if you care about your online reputation or who is mentioning you or your company, then you certainly have the time. If you’re on Windows, grab FeedDemon (free). If you’re on a Mac, use NetNewsWire (free). If you’re on Linux, grab Liferea from the depositories. If you want to live “in the cloud” and use a web app, you can’t go wrong with Google Reader.
Got one? OK, next step… actually find places that have the data your’e looking for. Here’s how I do it for myself, CostPerNews, my podcast and Motive Interactive:
1. In your feed reader of choice, create a folder called “Vanity Searches” or “Social Graph.”
2. Grab the “Google Alerts” for all of the terms you need to watch. This is social reputation 101 and chances are you have heard of Google Alerts. However, it’s amazing to me how many online marketers don’t use the service. You can get email. This is delivered by email instead of RSS as well.
3. Google Blog Alerts works similarly to Google Alerts but is a little more comprehensive. There’s some redundancy with Alerts, but it’s still worth watching.
4. Another oldie but goodie is Technorati. While not always up to date or accurate, there’s still some value in watching your brand there. Just put in whatever term or name your watching in the search bar on the upper right and grab the feed on the results page by clicking the RSS button.
– Now that we’ve gotten the foundation out the way, let’s go to the good stuff –
5. Here’s an excellent “Yahoo Pipe” for keywords that monitors news sources from multiple sites such as Digg, Technorati, Yahoo News, PRWeb, and Google News. Just put in whatever term you’re looking to watch, hit “Run Pipe” and then click the RSS button beside “More Options” on the right. This is probably my favorite way to track things on the web.
6. The grandaddy of all Yahoo Pipes for vanity searching is the Social Media Firehose. Works the same way as the keyword pipe above but gives a wide blast of data. It’s valuable, but you have to weed through a lot of duplications. Still recommend.
7. While you’re at Yahoo Pipes, grab the “Twitter Reply Sniffer.” Basically, this is a way for you to stay aware of anyone that @’s you in Twitter (you’re not on Twitter? Geez). Put in the terms or names you’d like to keep track of and you’ll get a custom URL. You then have the option to receive new alerts via Google, email, phone or RSS. Click on that orange RSS button called “more options” over on the right and add it to your “Social Graph” folder in your feed reader when the prompt comes up. Presto.
8. If your company might have some mentions on YouTube, you can track user tags and mentions using this YouTube tag Pipe. Not useful for everyone, but still good to have in the old feed reader.
9. Along those same lines, you can’t go wrong with Summize. Instead of just monitoring @’s on Twitter, Summize notifies you anytime a term you specify is mentioned. Grab the RSS feed on the right and add it into your feed reader. Highly valuable.
10. FriendFeed is becoming a great way to keep track of how others perceive you in the social media space because it is one big aggregation ball of goo. However, you can make some sense of out that with FriendFeed’s nifty search feature. Just put in whatever you’re keeping track of and grab the RSS from the page (should be in the URL address bar). Add that to your feed reader for sure.
If you follow those 10 steps, you should have a pretty good grip on what people are saying about you on the social web from Twitter to FriendFeed to blogs to Digg to YouTube. My “social graph” folder in my feed reader is increasingly becoming the first place I go in the mornings for news just to see if there’s anything going on that I’ve missed or to see if there are any conversations I can have with fans, friends, foes or potential evangelists.
Hope this helps!