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"Hello Cendrine,
I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for mentioning our company on your blog.
Much appreciated,

When I received this email in my Inbox a long time ago, I remember experiencing a feeling of contentment. How could a company to which I had never talked before know about my writeup? "Wow," I thought. "I must have done something right."

As it turns out, they were doing what every brand should do on social media: They were monitoring conversations around their name.

For those who would not know what social media monitoring is, here is a short definition from TechTarget:

Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand.

People who mention you on social media are not just aware of your existence. They also find your content, work, product or service worthy enough to vouch for it.

Tapping into that kind of engagement will allow you to:
  • Gain insight into your audience and serve them better.
  • Catch problems, complaints, and questions -- and address them accordingly.
  • Continue the conversation, show people that you care, and humanize your brand in the process.
  • Turn your audience into community of advocates and/or customers.

  • Who wouldn't want to take advantage of that?

    Tools to monitor your presence on social media

    The social media realm is a universe in itself. People posts millions of Tweets, Facebook updates, and blog posts every day. So, the prospect of having to monitor all that can be daunting. Trust me, I was there once. I know the feeling!

    Thankfully, there are now many tools that scour the murky recesses of the Internet to find the information for you -- Google Alerts, Social Mention, Mention, Twitter Search, etc. Click here to see my favorites.

    Tips for thorough monitoring

    A question people often ask me is: "How can I make sure I catch as many mentions as possible?" Here is a short list of tips I have used successfully over the years:

  • Do not just monitor your name or the name of your website. Include your domain name too (e.g. socialmediaslant.com).
  • If you have a unique or unusual name, chances are that people will misspell it. Take advantage of it! Keyword Typo Generator is a solid option for personal names.
  • Do you have a slogan? Keep an eye on engagement around it as well.
  • Do the same thing with the titles of your articles, videos, photos, infographics, and announcements.
  • Negative mentions matter! Try combining keywords like "brand name + fail / bad / negative / unhappy." (See screenshot below)

  • NB: Social media listening is not just great for keeping an eye on what people are saying about you. You can use it to find all the information you need online.

    For example, I found most of the bloggers who interviewed me when I released my latest photography book via Twitter Search! How so? Because results surfaced Tweets in which users mentioned their interest for featuring people like me. I only had to click the included links and follow instructions or hit "reply" to start the conversation.

    All in all, about 90 percent of the bloggers I contacted answered me. (Of course, having a press release helped. But more on that in a later post.) Impressive, right?

    So, how did I discover those people? I just played around with specific keywords and kept an eye on results over the course of several days to a week. For example:

  • "We / I interview authors / photographers"
  • "Looking for authors / photographers to interview"
  • "Authors / Photographers wanted"
  • "Blogger looking for author / photographer"

  • When a combination of keywords did not seem to yield relevant results, I tried something else. Overall, I find this method more effective than relying on search engines.

    Using Twitter Search has also allowed me to come across interesting photography contests and magazines, as well as great Instagram users. Yes, Instagram! Many people cross-post on Twitter. I do it occasionally and love the traffic it brings to my Instagram photos.

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