Social Mention Tutorial for Monitoring and Tracking

Watch social activity across all social networks in one place

Screenshot of the homepage of

Social Mention 

Social Mention is a simple, useful tool for monitoring and tracking social media. It helps you see who's making references to you or your company -- or to any topic, for that matter. It aggregates user-generated content from across different social networks, letting you search and analyze it all in one place.

The social search service falls into an emerging category called listening tools. These include expensive services for big businesses and simpler software for small firms and individuals. At the industrial-strength end, for example, are Cymfony and Biz360. At the consumer end are PostRank and Spinn3r. Social Mention occupies the consumer end; it's easy to use and mostly free.

Like other tools for monitoring social media, Social Mention offers both a free version and a paid service that adds extra functionality. This tutorial reviews the free service.

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Decide What to Search

Start by deciding what you want to monitor. Then enter the name of the company, person, topic, or phrase that you want to research into the search box on the Social Mention home page.

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After you run a search on Social Mention, it may take a minute, but soon you'll see a list of hyperlinked mentions of the brand or phrase you are researching.

If you selected the default "search all" platforms, you'll see material from Facebook pages, tweets, blogs, and more. Click on the links to leave SocialMention's website and view the original mention at the source site.

To the left of the search results, in a big gray box, will be numerical rankings of your search term for:

  • Strength (likelihood that people are discussing the term)
  • Sentiment (ratio of positive mentions to negative mentions)
  • Passion (frequency of mentions by the same authors)
  • Reach (the number of unique authors divided by the total number of mentions)
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A pull-down arrow on the right side of the Social Mention search box allows you to filter your query to restrict it to social networks, for example, or to comments, people are making on ​blogs and networks. The filter you select will determine what kind of results are displayed.

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Also on the results page, pay attention to the left sidebar. It attempts to judge how many mentions of your search term are positive, negative or neutral — and it also generates a list of keywords people are using for your term.

Most useful, perhaps, is the list of top keywords. These are the ones most frequently used in social media that relate to your search term. A bar chart also shows which are most popular and exactly how many times they appear.

Right below are additional lists of top usernames (people mentioning your topics) and top hashtags (terms people are using to reference a topic).

Finally, at the bottom of the sidebar is a list of social media sources where Social Mention has found mentions of your term, ranked by volume.

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Across the top of each search results page on Social Mention is a menu of media sources. This menu allows you to click on any category or source of media to refine your results quickly, without having to run your search again.

What this menu allows you to do is run a general search, for example, to see all the search results. If there are a lot results, and you want to narrow your results, you can click Blogs to quickly see mentions of you or your company only in blogs, or click Comments to see what kind of conversations people are having about your topic in ​the comments area of social networks and services.

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To search particular social networks using Social Mention, click the or select media sources link directly beneath the search box on the homepage.

A long list of media services will appear. Check the box to the left of the particular source you want to monitor and then click the Search button.

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Social Mention is particularly useful for finding images used in social media and networks.

Just click the Image tab across the top of any results page in Social Mention to see photos that people are sharing on TwitPic, Flickr, and other visual-oriented networks.

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After you run a search on Social Mention, you can create and save an RSS feed that will automatically monitor your search term across many different social networks.

To start, click on the orange RSS icon in Social Mention's top right sidebar.

Content related to your query will appear in the standard RSS list format. Use the filters in the right sidebar to refine your RSS results, reordering them, say, by source or date.

Finally, be sure to copy the URL that appears in the address bar of your web browser. That URL is what you’ll need to paste into any RSS reader you may use to monitor content on the web.

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Social Mention also allows you to have alerts sent to you via email containing the latest mentions of you or your company’s name.

To create an alert, enter your email address and search phrase into the Social Mention Alert box. Daily is the default and only choice for frequency if you're using the free version.

That’s all it takes. Easy!

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Social Mention offers a tool for creating a widget (a snippet of code) that you can embed in your blog or website to show real-time search results from across the social media universe. It can be useful if you're willing to learn a little bit of HTML coding.

Start by visiting the Social Mention tools page. Copy the HTML code in the box on the left, and carefully edit the embedded search phrase in it to replace “socialmention” with your own query term.

Then copy and paste your revised code into the HTML area of the page on your blog or website where you want to show the stream of search results from various social media sites.

The widget setup page is shown above, with the code box on the left and a finished widget example on the right.

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