social listening toolsWe love Susan Moeller at Buzz Sumo.

We love her so much, she was the featured guest on our most recent #SpinSucksAMA.

So, it was a no-brainer when she asked if we could help her with some information she wanted regarding breaking news and info sources, what communications pros are using to capture mentions and stories, and how effective their tools are.

Of course, the obvious choice was to turn to the Spin Sucks Community and gather our responses there.

Our community is filled to the brim with super knowledgeable people in the public relations and communications industry, and we knew we would get some great responses to help Susan out.

This week, as the #SpinSucksQuestion, I asked:

When there’s coverage about your brand—whether on media or from influencers—how do you find out about it? Do you get notifications? Are they reliable? What works, what doesn’t, and how could you improve the process?

We received so many terrific responses—thank you!—and I know Susan is planning to include a few in her blog post as well, so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of your answers.

Slack for the Win!

A few people mentioned combining tools like Talkwalker with Slack, as a great way to alert them when their brand is mentioned, or if there’s breaking news regarding an item or topic

Christopher S. Penn is a fan:

We use Talkwalker and Brand24, wired into Slack, so that we get notifications as they happen in a special channel just for coverage. Works great.

Christophe Abiragi is also someone who takes advantage of Talkwalker:

I still send alerts to email and then have them filtered into a dedicated folder.  I’ll set up Google and Talkwalker alerts. For these, we’ll have some general searches for the brand name, then more specific searches that include the brand name along with key executives, products, etc. that will often bring up different results.

We’ll also set up searches within specific publications where the brand is most often mentioned, or that are of highest value/influence. On Twitter, we’ll use a variety of different searches based on specific lists, whether or not the user is verified, or different engagement metrics. I use IFTTT to send all of those to email as well.

Overall, the strategy is to have multiple overlapping searches across different platforms to make sure that we’re seeing everything. Since Google alerts results are pretty slim now—we’ll also bookmark a bunch of targeted searches for the brand, and check them regularly.

Albane Flamant, from Talkwalker, talked about how useful Slack is when combined with other social listening tools:

I’ve plugged in my social listening feed into a slack channel to get real-time notifications of my earned mentions. Another option would to get email alerts, but I get enough messages in my mailbox as is.

Social Listening Tools

Matt Maxey uses Meltwater for alerts:

We track primarily through Meltwater, which gives an instant alert. While for any influencer we’ve partnered with, we also have in the agreements to notify us as things go live.

Sometimes, it Just Depends

For Howie Goldfarb, the resources and tools he uses for alerts are situation-specific, based on the audience involved:

This depends on the brand and community. A small business can get away with alerts from all the social nets, and say Talkwalker alerts for web mentions. I also would do Google searches and hashtag streams.

There are more sophisticated platforms for listening from Hootsuite to Sprout to Radian6, etc. It’s really a volume decision, as well as tactical. Some brands might only listen. Some might require interaction or responses from a team, and there are ACD [automatic call distributor] types of technologies that distribute to team members so all mentions get addressed.

What’s Your Social Listening Tool of Choice?

There are many options when it comes to social listening tools, depending on your budget and needs.

There are some great free options out there, as well. 

How do you get the information you need? What’s your favorite plan of attack for tackling social mentions? We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Leave it in the comments, folks!

Whitney Danhauer

Whitney is living in Central Kentucky with her husband, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher, and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about all things communications for Spin Sucks, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.

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