In today’s dog eat dog world, it is essential to monitor and manage the online discussion regarding your company’s products or services. Social search tools provide an easy way to keep track of what is being said about your company online and to organize an appropriate response to attacks or comments that don’t serve your company’s best interests. Incorporating these social search tools into your existing online reputation management strategy can allow you to:
- Build name recognition and trust – By managing your company’s online reputation effectively, you can create a positive image for your company and enhance consumer trust and investment in your products and services.
- Develop insights into consumer likes and dislikes – You can engage your target audience in a real dialogue that can help you focus your company’s research and development plans where they will do the most good.
- Identifying new leads – Social media listening tools can even point out new demographics and potential audiences for your company’s products.
Social Search Is Awesome.
If you know how to use social search correctly, you can identify potential link building opportunities in virtually any industry. You can also gain deep insights into an industry or demographic based on topics of interest. This in turn will help you identify content marketing ideas and messaging that will resonate with the demographics you are targeting. In short, it is full of awesome.
With that said, here are the top 5 free social search tools I like at the moment…
Social Mention– This free online service provides daily updates via email on the keywords you provide. The Social Mention Widget scans comments, blogs, news, video content and review sites to provide you with a comprehensive overview of current public comment regarding your company and its products. Searching the entire Social Mention collection of sites takes a few seconds; however, you can also customize the sites you wish to search for faster response times. Helpful charts allow you to track the number of times your company is mentioned and whether that mention was positive or negative. The Social Mention social search tool even includes a handy toolbar for continuous monitoring. The company also performs customized coding to create the ideal social media listening solution for your particular business needs.
Pros – Social Mention is easy to use and offers a number of convenient interface and customizable search options.
Cons – The interface and options may be too limited for advanced users; Social Mention also includes a high percentage of irrelevant results.
Addict-o-matic– Cute and quirky, Addict-o-matic feels more like an aggregator than a social search tool. It offers you the option to type in just about anything on its streamlined home page. Within seconds, the helpful robot mascot will deliver a customized page on the topic you selected. While most of the content is relevant, some tweaking may be required to produce useful results. Once your adjustments and customizations are complete, you can bookmark your page and return at any time to run the report again.
Pros – Addict-o-matic compiles all information into one simple page for ease of reading.
Cons – The social media listening tool works well, but it lacks both the finesse and the added tools of some of its direct competitors.
Topsy– With the look and feel of a search engine interface, Topsy will appeal to users who find Google intuitive and easy to use. Results can be sorted by relevance or by date, and Topsy includes filters that limit results by date, by network, by content type or by language. Topsy does not index all the main social media sites; Google+ and Twitter are searched, but most others are sadly missing from its lineup. Topsy can be useful as a supplement to more comprehensive social search tools and may offer better coverage of Google+ than some of its competitors.
Pros – Topsy delivers fewer irrelevant results than its competition and presents a clear and familiar interface for end users.
Cons – Topsy’s limited selection of search sites may limit its usefulness for some companies.
Who’s Talkin– The Who’s Talkin social media listening tool incorporates some of the less common social media sites including Plazoo, FriendFeed and Plurk in its overall search, making it a good helper social search tool for other more comprehensive social media tools. The interface is simple but effective; however, Who’s Talkin is outclassed in terms of gadgets and technological advances by several of its competitors.
Pros– Who’s Talkin is easy to use and includes some less common social media sites.
Cons – The tool offers few customization options and is limited in terms of overall coverage.
Kurrently– The Kurrently real-time search engine provides access to Facebook and Twitter and has a high degree of relevancy for the selected topic. However, most other social search and social media listening tools provide access to Facebook and Twitter along with numerous other sites; this puts Kurrently at a serious disadvantage when compared to other social media tools available in the competitive marketplace.
Pros – Kurrently does what it does rapidly and effectively.
Cons – Other social search tools are far more versatile and comprehensive for monitoring the online conversation.
These tools can be used alone or combined with others to produce a clear picture of your company’s online reputation and the steps necessary to enhance that public image. By implementing a comprehensive social media listening strategy, your company can identify trends, correct issues and plan proactively to manage the online conversation effectively.