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How to Monitor Social Networks for Online Community Feedback

As an online community manager, you’ll spend a lot of time on the social networks to see who’s talking about your brand. It’s important to have an arsenal of tools and networks ready so you can monitor feedback.

There’s nothing a brand wants less than a public outpouring of negativity directed toward the brand. It’s important to catch and respond to any brand negativity as soon as possible.

Consider the following tools for your arsenal:

  • Twitter: The microblogging social network Twitter is a favorite haunt for community managers who want to collect feedback. Using a Twitter application, such as HootSuite, TweetDeck, or Seesmic, allows you to follow hashtags and search terms and receive updates as they come in.

    If you’re searching for comments about Joe’s Furniture Emporium, for example, type that exact phrase in your Twitter app or search engine and see results from everyone who has mentioned your brand recently.

  • Facebook: Facebook is a gold mine of information. Everything your members talk about, no matter how trivial it seems, is an important nugget telling you who they are and what they want. Members of your Facebook community post notices on your wall to discuss why they’re happy or why they have a bone to pick with you.

  • Google Blog Search: You should use Google Blog Search at least once a day. Many bloggers are very opinionated and like to rant about poor experiences. Monitoring blog posts and comments allows you to reach out to a disgruntled member and work on the next steps.

  • Google Alerts: When you set up a Google Alert by using specific keywords and phrases, you receive e-mail notices whenever your brand and other search terms are mentioned. The alerts include links so that you can read the content and respond accordingly.

  • Yelp: If your brand is a store, restaurant, or local business, it may have been reviewed on Yelp. It never hurts to see what people are saying, but there are also reports of trolling and unfair remarks from disgruntled ex-employees on this and other review sites.

Always make a note of who’s saying what and why. Sometimes, banned community members will bad-mouth you or your brand, which comes with the territory, but you shouldn’t always dismiss bad feedback as bogus.

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