Want to easily track what people are saying about you, your company, a product, or any topic across the web’s social media sphere in real-time? Now it’s possible, and there are several tools out there that make it much more interesting than a basic Google search.
It’s undoubtedly valuable to immerse yourself in the chatter. Not only can you see what people are saying about you, your company, or your blog, but also you can see what topics are hot in people’s minds all over the world. This can clue you in on what to be aware of, and even what to write your own articles about.
Here are my top four picks for stand out keyword trackers:
1. Social Mention
Social Mention is like a Twitter search for the entire social space. Search for any keyword or phrase on the homepage, and in seconds it aggregates results from sites like Twitter, FriendFeed, Delicious, YouTube, BlogCatalog, and thousands of blogs. And the data is fresh since it tracks conversions in real time. The homepage displays what keywords are the hottest, and being written about more often than usual.
The search results make it clear where the mention was (WordPress, Yahoo news, etc.). It also displays the rate of mention (for example, the iPhone is mentioned once every 9 minutes). You can sort by blogs, microblogs, bookmarks, comments, events, images, news, videos, or all at once. My favorite feature on Social Mention is the keyword subscriber; you can also subscribe to a keyword’s RSS feed, so you can keep up on the very latest on your topic within the social sphere.
WhosTalkin’ is a new social media search tool similar to Social Mention that helps users track what topics are hot on the web. It’s extremely useful for bloggers who want to keep up with the latest on their niches, or anything else, all across the social space.
Simply search for a keyword or phrase, and within seconds you’ll get results from tons of social media sites including blogs, news sites, social networks, and forums. My favorite feature here is the accordion navigation, where users can drill down to specific sites within each category; for example, you can see who’s talking about your keyword of Technorati, or Twitter, or FriendFeed, or all blogs in general.
WhosTalkin is still in beta, so more features are sure to come soon. This is definitely a tool to keep your eye on.
3. Twitter Search
Twitter Search is specific to Twitter (obviously), but the Twittersphere is exploding like crazy. People are addicted to posting their every little move or thought on Twitter, and it can be just as addicting to watch what people are talking about.
The main Twitter Search page shows what keywords topics are hot right now, and are updated frequently. Search for any topic you want, and results come back in less than one second. You can filter results by language, and even translate other languages to English. Then you can retwit the results, or set up an RSS feed for your search query. The functionality of Twitter Search is amazing, and would be #1 if it covered more than just Twitter.
What’s great about Twitter Search as that you can connect with the individuals who have tweeted on your topic easily, which is useful for bloggers when they want to promote their content. Twitter Search is also a great way to find individuals who have something in common with you, so you can follow them in the hopes that they’ll follow you back, and then click on your links when they’re interested.
LinkedIn has caught onto the value of Twitter Search. One of their applications, Company Buzz, delivers the latest Twitter chatter about your company right to your profile, so you and your friends can see what people are saying in real time.
4. Google Trends
Google Trends displays a list of the hottest 100 keywords that appear in relation to all the other keywords out there (oh, Google and their algorithms), updated every few minutes. This information is fascinating, but not necessarily useful. There were only a couple things I would ever find relevant enough to write about in my blog, but if you’re creative you can work these keywords into your post: “Blogger Bob Jones has just about as much credibility as the Church of Scientology.”
Click on any of these hot topics, and you’ll get the latest news articles, blog posts, and web results. You can also see the hotness scale of the keyword, related searches, and when the search term peaked. Turns out Church of Scientology was so high in the rankings because of the recent tragedy with scientologist John Travolta’s son Jett.
Comparison searching is the goldmine here. When starting this blog, I was torn between “internet marketing” and “social media” as my main focus. Although I write about both, I do focus more on social media. When I search to compare the two, I get this as a result:
This says a lot. Even though the term internet marketing has been search for much more, you can see the direction it’s heading… looks like the two lines will criss-cross soon, making social media the more popular topic, as long as social media’s upward trend remains consistent. Looks like this might even happen in 2009, which is perfect timing for me and my little blog here.
What tracking tools do you recommend? Do you think these tools are useful? How have you used keyword tracking in the past?