Listening is important for any business.

A way to do that is through marketing research to understand what consumers care about, and get insights to what they think about you.

However, it is usually quite expensive and time consuming, and you would only be able to capture a static snapshot of consumer interests.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem!

That’s by listening to the social media buzz.

I’m not saying that marketing research is ineffective and can be completely replaced by this simple idea. What I’m really saying is, listening to the social media buzz can complement research and offer quick and dynamic insights to consumers’ attitudes and behavior.

Listening to social media buzz is not and should NOT be limited to mere tracking of blogs and Google searches. Other social media sites, such as those for micro-blogging, social networking and pictures and video sharing should be monitored too. Read this to get a sense of why you should do so.

In this post, I will share 38 free tools that will bring you directly to the social media buzz.

Brand and buzz monitoring

1. SocialMention – A search engine for social media information. It also offers social media alerts and a real time widget for tracking social media buzz related to you

2. Socialmeter – It scans major social websites to analyze a web page’s social popularity. Very easy to use

3. HowSociable? – A brand visibility measurement tool based on 22 different metrics

4. Addict-o-matic – Create a custom page with the latest buzz about your brand or products

5. UberVU – Find out what people are saying about your brand, products or events, and follow the comments all over the social web

6. Username Check – Quickly check if anyone is using your brand as a username on any social sites. Great for controlling squatters

7. Trendrr – Track and compare the trends of any keyword, such as your company name, CEO. You can also compare them to other keywords

8. WhosTalking – Social media search engine to find people talking about your brand based on news, pictures, social networks, etc

9. Serph – Buzz Tracker in real time

10. Trendpedia – Creates charts showing the volume of discussion surrounding different types of topics

11.Omgili – Lets you measure and compare the buzz specific terms

12. Google Alerts –Real time alerts sent via email about keywords you want to track

Blogs monitoring

13. Blogpulse – Check if your brand is hot in the blogosphere through tailor-made reports and daily graphs, powered by Nielsen

14. Google Blog Search – Use advanced search to search blog posts indexed by Google

15. IceRocket – Blog search tool that also creates impressive graphs

Conversations monitoring

16. Tinker – Follow live discussions on facebook and Twitter

17. Samepoint – Search engine for finding conversations on specific topics

18. BoardReader – Search multiple message boards and forums

19. Commentful – This service watches comments/follow-ups on blog posts, Digg, Flickr galleries, and others

20. BoardTracker – Tracks keywords in forums

Twitter monitoring

21. TweetDeck – User-friendly Twitter client. You can make searches based on keywords

22. Twitter Search – Twitter search engine allows you to search real time events

23. Twitstat – Displays most popular words that appeared on the last 500 tweets

24. TweetScan – Search for keywords about your company or services on Twitter

25. Twit(url)y – See what people are talking about on Twitter

26. Hashtags – Real time Tracking of Twitter Hashtags

27. TweetBeep – Track mentions of your brand on Twitter in real time

Multimedia monitoring

28. Flickr – Search Flickr for photos related to your brand

29. YouTube – You can search for videos and channels created by users about your brand

30. Truveo – Aggregate video search engine for videos from YouTube, MySpace, and several others

31. Viral Video Chart – Check top 20 most-viewed video compiled by this aggregator

32. WikiAlarm – Receive email alert when your wikipedia page is edited

Search data monitoring

33. Keotag – Search information about your brand across the web

34. Google Trends – Search trends and compare search volume by country and region

35. Google Insights – Compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time

36. Wordtracker Keywords – Shows average daily search volume of a given keyword or phrase

37. Facebook Lexicon – Displays volume of wall postings for specific words

38. FriendFeed Search – Scan all activities within Friendfeed network

Hope you will find these resources useful and let us know if you are currently using any other service that tracks the social media space!

Source: http://www.penn-olson.com/2009/09/18/listen-to-the-social-media-buzz-with-38-free-tools/?goback=.hom

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