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04 Jan 2014
social media listening tools

Social Media Listening Tools

When you’re actively sharing content to social media, a good social dashboard is essential in helping you find excellent content to share.

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating an awesome social listening dashboard.

1. Start with Google Alerts

Start by adding alerts for: major keywords, your brand name, and competitors.  Once you have them all in the Google Alerts Dashboard, you’ll be ready for the next step.

2.  Add your RSS feeds to Feedly

Feedly is an RSS reader that has grown in prominence after Google Reader bit the dust.  It’s a great, easy to use platform that has great mobile and desktop integration.  Feedly can quickly get out of hand, so it’s important that you structure your feeds appropriately.  Use category names on Feedly, so you know the source of the feeds.  At this point we’ve only gotten Google Alerts RSS, so create a Feedly category called “Google Alerts” and add all of your keyword, competitor, and brand name feeds to this alert.  You also may want to add “Popular” feed sources to your Feedly, including Technorait, Gawker, WeheartIt, and more.  Finally, you can also do a keyword search on social mention, grab the RSS, and include that RSS on Feedly so you can find mentions across the web.  Consider using both your brand, competitors and keywords for these alerts.

3.  Surf the web looking for Authority Relevant Industry Blogs

Spend time looking for a few authority blogs to add to your “seed set”.  Add each of them to Feedly.  Once you have a great seed set in Feedly, monitor articles that have more than 100 shares.  Here’s an example:

social media listening tools

Even if they don’t have a large number of shares, keep an eye out for great, relevant articles that can be shared.

4. Identify Influencers

Based on some of your research finding authority blogs, find influencers in your field.  Create a spreadsheet with all of these influencers, and add their Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Plus and Pinterest profiles.  Stay very relevant, and only add people who are genuine authorities and whose content you know you can trust.  Keep this list highly updated as it’ll determine much of what you do next.  Try to find at least 100 influencers.  You’ll start by seeding your list during a research phase, but once you are actively curating content, you can add new influencers as you discover them.  Once you’ve compiled your list, then visit each social profile that your influencers are active in, and follow them everywhere.  You don’t want to miss their conversations in any of the channels they’re active in.

5. Create Social Media Lists of your Influencers

Having identified your influencers, the next step is to add them to a social listening dashboard.  Hootsuite is ideal for this task.  You can Add a Stream for Influencers on each social media channel.  For Twitter, you can add a pre-existing list, or create a new one through Hootsuite.   You cannot create Facebook lists on Hootsuite, so this is one step that you may want to do separately, and here’s how.   On Google Plus, you can create a Circle called “influencers”, which effectively adds those people into a “list”.  When you click on that Circle, their content is the only content that shows, agreggated into one visual list.  Now you have 3 different content sources of influencers.

6.  Set up Social Media Alerts

There are a few tools you’ll need for this: nutshellmail, Twilert, HyperAlerts, and Pinalerts.  For each of these, you want to set up alerts for your keywords, competitors, and brand.  This way you will be notified in your emails for relevant content.  Set all of these up to email you once / day, so you can review content that you may have missed during your social media “rounds”. is another tool that will monitor the web for your keywords, and send you alerts in your email.

7.  Content Curation Tools, and are excellent sources for content discovery.  They’re great sources for new information that you may not have come across around the web.

Daily Social Curation Routine:

  1. Visit Feedly to identify interesting news articles from your blogs and feeds
  2. Visit Hootsuite to search your social streams plus your Twitter Influencers lists – reshare and engage.
  3. Go to your Facebook lists and see what your influencers are talking about on Facebook.  If you are active in relevant industry FB groups, stop while you’re there.
  4. Visit Plus and surf your “Influencers” stream.  +1, share, and mention relevant articles.  You should also be a member of a couple of authoritative communities – stop in, say him, and search for interesting new content.
  5. Check your email for tool alerts notifications, summarizing social activity for the day.  You’ll receive content notifications from, twiltert, nuttshellmail, hyperalerts and pinalerts.
  6. Visit content curation sources like and socialmention to discover and share new content.

By following this routine on a daily basis you should be fully engaged in your brand’s social presence, while achieving sources for content curation and engagement.


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Search engine marketing expert with 15 years of experience in the industry, working with small mom and pop shops as well as large corporate websites. I have experience with all aspects of inbound marketing, including SEO, Link Building, Social Shares, Usability, Conversions, PPC, Email Marketing, and more.