As a marketer, it is important to listen as often as you market. In some cases, you might even have to hear more than you talk yourself. Listening is an important part of Social Media as it not only keeps you in pace with how the market is shaping out, but also, more importantly gives you updated information of what your competitors are saying about themselves in the same space as you. The different media that you would like to monitor these days include news, web, blog, images, videos, twitter, Facebook, and Microblogs.
There are two types of listening tools available on the web today, namely Search and Tracking, and Real Time Search. Each of these set of tools perform a particular function and as proved that Social Media today is like a jigsaw puzzle, the right piece can make all the difference. Although you might come across various paid listening tools such as Radian6, Trackur, SM2, and Scout Labs, there are some awesome free tools that perform well. Here are the top 20 free listening tools available in the market today.
1. Google Alerts:
This is the simplest tool to set up. Gmail Alerts provide email updates based on the query or topic of your choice. It can be used to monitor developing story, keeping an eye on competitors or the industry.
2. Google Trends:
Google Trends, as the name suggests, follows the trends and provides insights into broad search patterns. An additional feature is the ability to show how new events affect the search popularity.
3. Google Insights:
It helps you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames, and properties. You can further filter the search based on many properties and features.
4. Google Reader:
It is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. Meaning, if there are web pages that you follow, they can be integrated with your account to show you updates and feed revisions in the different websites.
5. Google Blog Search:
This helps you to be update on top stories debated on blogs. Additionally, it helps you search for particular blogs in particular topics.
6. Google News Search:
This tool tracks news around the world. It also enables you to filter news based on your interests. Additionally, it helps you add particular topics that you want updated information on.
7. Yahoo Sideline:
Sideline is a desktop application used as a User Interface Library (YUI). It allows users to create and group custom queries by topics of interest. This tool does real time monitoring and search of Twitter.
8. Yahoo Pipes:
It is a web application tool that helps in search of companies and brands across the web. It lets you remix popular feed types and create data mashups using a visual editor. Information in Pipes can be published and shared easily, without needing to write code.
It helps in setting up keyword and brand alerts for Twitter mentions, for free. You can register using your Gmail account or any other account to have twitter mentions sent to the registered email ID.
It is a Real-time twitter monitoring tool. It filters the news out of live internet content to make it available, based on your interests. It identifies key influencers on a topic to provide the relevant information, quickly.
11. Twitter Search:
As the name suggests it is a direct search on twitter. It helps you keep track of information as it happens. Keeps you updated on what is happening right now on Twitter. It also has the Advance Search option that enables you to filter your search and restrict the results to topics that are relevant to you.
It tracks tweets from the highest authority bloggers named by Technorati. After filtering based on Techorati's top 100, it also includes many more of the web's most influential voices.
It is a Twitter Search Dashboard that allows you to do a real-time search for up to 9 different topics, events, conversations, hashtags, phrases, people, groups, and so on. As new tweets are created, they are updated automatically in the grid.
14. Social Mention:
It is a real-time search tool across social networks. It tracks the web, news, blogs and much more. Using this tool you can receive free email alerts on a daily basis, on topics of your interest. It can be used to provide instances of mention of particular brands, your company, marketing campaign, a developing news story, and competitor and so on.
15. Facebook Lexiconb:
It is a tool that updates you on the buzz surrounding different words and phrases on Facebook Walls. The information is pulled from the wealth of data on Facebook without collecting any personal information.
Omgili forum search engine lets you find communities, message boards, discussion threads about any topic. Omgili's advanced search features make it the best search engine for forums out there. It is the best way in the known universe to find out what people are saying about anything and everything!
This tool shows the most trending topics, and helps in identifying top stories and news sites. An automated trend discovery system for blogs. It analyzes and reports on daily activity in the blogosphere.
It is a search engine that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions.
This is a real-time twitter monitoring tool. It is a widget that you need to download and install to monitor twitter. Helps in searching for keywords in Twitter.
20. Board Tracker:
This tool tracks conversation on topics in forums. This tool searches and tracks heading of forums online, based on a keyword or topic. It provides emails and instant message alerts on relevant threads across all forums and boards
It is an Internet search engine used to search blogs. The name is a blend of the words technology and literati, which invokes the notion of technological intelligence or intellectualism. It uses the author's tags on the websites to categorize search results, while ensuring the recent results are displayed first. More importantly, Technorati rates each blog's "authority", which is the number of unique blogs linking to the blog over the last six months.
It helps you track the popularity and awareness of trends across a variety of inputs, ranging from social networks, to blog buzz and video views downloads. You can even compare trends. Additionally, you can monitor and evaluate comparisons across a variety of sources.
23. How sociable:
HowSociable offers a simple way for you to begin measuring your brand's visibility on the social web. All you need to do is to type a brand name and it will show you how visible it is on social web.
Postrank monitors and collects social engagement event correlated with online content, across the web, real-time. It offers services in three categories, namely, data services (including APIs), analytics (for effective discovery), and consumers (free tools for publishers).
Guzzle automatically categorizes feeds by inspecting and analyzing each feed. When you require any information on a particular keyword, Guzzle.IT instantly provides the latest information, using the pre-categorized results.
Sorav is a young entrepreneur started his Internet Marketing career at the age of 17. Sorav is amongst the pioneer of Social Media & Digital Marketing in India. He writes Social Media and Digital Marketing Blog and conduct Social Media Training and Workshops across various cities over the globe. Connect with Writer Sorav Jain on Twitter: @soravjain, Facebook, LinkedIn