I’ve been looking into various social media monitoring tools which are available but haven’t found one that completely fits the bill for our library so I decided to create one from scratch. I wanted something free, so I first looked into aggregated search tools such as SocialMention and IceRocket, which are great for searching a lot of different types of social media sites, but not all of them. And the biggest drawback of these tools is that they don’t let you combine searches and/or use boolean operators in your searches. So, for example, my library is The New York Law Institute, but we couldn’t get that name on Twitter so we’re the NYLawInstitute on that social network. We also often use the acronym NYLI so I’d want that included in searches as well, especially of the blogosphere.
So I decided to use a free start page which allows you to create private pages as I wanted to limit viewing to staff. I chose Protopage since I’m a big fan of their start pages. I used their Widgets tool to quickly add RSS Feeds of searches I did on various sites and ended up with a great dashboard that is going to let us watch and participate in conversations that are happening across the Web.
Create Your Own Social Media Monitoring Dashboard
- Go to Protopage.com and sign up for a free start page.
- Select the “Add Widgets” option at the top and see the section to “Add a News Feed Directly” and/or “Add a Twitter Feed” that pops up on the left.
- Start by adding the Twitter Feed by typing in a search term for your library and dragging the widget to your dashboard. If your library uses an acronym or other name, also create a widget for that term.
- Go to your preferred social media and social search sites and enter your library’s name. Run the search and then grab the RSS feed and create a widget on your start page. Here’s a list of suggested sites to start with and where to find the RSS feed for each.
Websites to Search and Monitor
- Google Blog Search – You’ll want to keep track of what people are saying about your library in blog posts so this site is essential to search. Once you’ve run a successful search for your organization, scroll all the way down to the bottom and you’ll see the RSS feed linked there.
- IceRocket Blog Search – Google’s Blog Search will not include posts from what it determines as “Homepages” in the RSS feed for their search, many of which I’ve noticed were actually blogs such as this one. In order to get results from those sites as well, you’ll want to run an IceRocket Blog Search. The RSS feed is located on the bottom left sidebar of the results page for a blog search.
- Google Alerts – It seems the only way to get an RSS Feed of a Google Search is to create a Google Alert for a search term and then select the delivery method as “Feed”. This will then give you the link to the RSS Feed which you can use to create a widget on your start page. This will only give you the most recent results.
- Bing Search – You can easily grab an RSS Feed for a Bing Web search for your library by conducting it in Internet Explorer and then selecting the orange RSS Feed icon that’s built into the top toolbar.
- WordPress.com Search – If you want to be really thorough, you can also do a search of all WP blogs here. The RSS feed is located on the right sidebar of the search results page.
- Social Mention – This is an excellent aggregated search of about 75 different social media channels. You can run a search here and then grab an RSS feed which is made available on the top right of the search results page.
- FriendFeed - FriendFeed lets users aggregate their content from many different social channels and they offer a public search of everyone’s posts. You can conduct a search for your library’s name and then grab the RSS feed by scrolling all the way down the search results page.
- MonitorThis – This search engine searches 25 different search engines across the Web for results and aggregates them on one page. The don’t offer an RSS Feed, however if you can run the search in IE and then select the orange RSS Feed icon that’s built into the top toolbar.
- BoardReader - This search tool monitors 50,000 forums and message boards for who’s saying what. They don’t offer an RSS Feed, so you’ll want to run the search in IE and then select the orange RSS Feed icon that’s built into the top toolbar.
- Facebook Search – You can now search what everyone is saying in their updates, not just your friends, by selecting the “Public Posts” filter on the left sidebar of Facebook search. You do need to be logged into Facebook to access FB Search, however, so you may want to create a “Bookmarks” widget linking to this and other similar sites that you need to be logged into, with specific instructions.
- LinkedIn – You can search what people are saying in their updates about your library on the popular professional network LinkedIn, by logging in and selecting the “Updates” search filter.