Zena Applebaum (@ZappleCI): Social Media - Turning Noise into Action
What are the leading social media tools?
Monitor social media for tone, content frequency, trends.
Put context around what you're looking for and why.
Figure out your key intelligence topic (KIT). The basic categories are:
- Strategic decisions and actions
- Early warning topics
- Descriptions of key players
Is any of the information that you need likely be shared through social media?
Start small and be specific.
- Get smart before you buy anything
- Learn each platform's search and monitoring functions
- Try to start with social medial input into current projects
- Define a clear collection plan.
Are these social media sites really where people are sharing the information that you will need?
Do remember your ethics, when collecting information through social media. Know what is ethical.
Social media sits between primary (interviewing people) and secondary research. Social media is people talking about stuff, and gathering that information, without talking to them.
Track information and people over time. Consider tracking information yourself, rather than outsourcing the effort.
For companies, check for official business presence:
- Customer service
Also following/check individuals:
To search Twitter, make a list of search times. Consider using Twitter.com's advanced search feature, as well as third party applications.
Consider creating and tracking Twitter lists.
Use TweetTunnel.info to find tweets that have been deleted.
LinkedIn is the more professional place to find people. Contains active discussion groups. You can track the number of employees that work for a specific company (growing/shrinking). You may be able to find competitor offices/locations by noting where employees say that they live.
In specific groups,check to see what jobs are being posted. What type of people are your competitors trying to hire?
There are queries that you can run in LinkedIn for preliminary information, before going to a fee-based service. Remember that the data is being self-reported and is not verified.
Company profiles have a wealth of detail. Statistics, hiring, promotions, open positions, culture.
Get to know LinkedIn's advanced search feature.
Quora is a site for Q&A. It is built specifically for Q&A, which can make it better than other platforms that allows Q&A. (You may want to search those other sites, too.)
- Users ask questions and other users answer them.
- Sometimes industry and company-specific topics.
- Users vote up their favorite answers.
- Based on real identities, so you can assess respondents expertise.
- Follow topics and users of interests.
Use Quora to find out what people are discussing today about your topics of interest.
Slideshare is a great place to find what your competitors are sharing. (BTW don't put up info in Slideshare that you don't want your competitors to see.)
DYI your analysis by using Excel, but it may take time and effort. You can also by tools to help you do analysis.
Marie Kaddell (@LibraryFocus): Social Media - track it, monitor it, analyze it
Social media gives you a bigger view. It expands what you are hearing. Can hear information from different perspectives. Helps you spot trends. You can identify thought leaders.
You need to recognize that people use different social media channels. Who is talking where?
Monitoring social media:
- SocialMention.com - real time social media analysis tool. Provides graphics and other details. You can receive alerts and download information.
- TweetDeck - now owned by Twitter (tweetdeck.twitter.com) - you can monitor multiple feeds and hashtags. Consider following what is being said about your own company.
- Hootsuite.com - can monitor several social media sites. Versatile like a Swiss Army knife.
- en.mention.com - gathers information from a broad number of resources. Has an RSS feed and apps.
- MyYahoo - allows you to create a dashboard.
- Netvibes.com - also allows you to create a dashboard. Works across platforms.
- Protopage.com - RSS reader. A good replacement for iGoogle.
- Symbaloo.com - another dashboard tool
Specific social media sites to check:
Searching social media:
- Social-searcher.com - searches across several sites. Provides some analytics.
- Icerocket.com (meltwater) - search across social media and blogs. Provides some analytics.
- Hashtags.org - shows you the prolific users of a hashtag and some analytics.
- Hashtagify.me - provides some in depth intelligence
- Google.com/blogsearch - can narrow by date/time
- Technorati.com - for search blogs. No cost to sign up
- Flickr.com - for searching images.
- Flickriver.com - for images
- Google.com - advanced image search
- iTunes - podcasts, videos
- YouTube - 100 hours of new video every minute
- Vimeo.com - videos
- Podcastalley.com - videos
- Blinkx.com - videos
Make sure that a government social media account is truly a government account. For example:
- There is a place on USA.gov that lists government social media sites.
Note that free tools may be all that you need to use.