That you never can choose to ignore.
To make it easier, there are simple tools you can use to monitor social media and keep track of what people say about you, your competitors, your industry, or any other topic you want to follow.
Here are several I tried based on her recommendations:
- TweetDeck. TweetDeck sorts social media mentions by keywords, twitter handles, hashtags... a number of options. Keep in mind searching for popular topics is like turning on a fire hose of information but, unless you're Lady Gaga, monitoring your mentions should be manageable.
- Social Mention. Social Mention searches for keywords on blogs, comments, news, videos, and microblogging services, and generates metrics for those keywords.
- Trackur. Trackur sifts through sources like Twitter, Digg, Flickr, blogs, videos, etc. Try the free version and decide if you want to pay for a monthly plan (upgrade plans can get fairly expensive.)
- Google Alerts. An oldie but a goodie. Enter keywords or phrases and when Google sees them mentioned it delivers alerts immediately, daily, or weekly.
- BoardReader. Google indexes many discussion boards and forums, but certainly not all. BoardReader crawls blogs, forums, images, and microblogs.
For example, a mention sometimes won't appear in one tracking tool but will in another. And occasionally the "sentiment" -- some tools categorize mentions as positive, negative, or neutral -- won't be accurate.
With a little testing you can determine which tools are best for monitoring conversations about your company, your brand, your products -- and your competition. (Or even an old girlfriend.)
After all, what you don't know could kill your business.
Note to readers: Feel free to share any tools or strategies in the Comments below; my list is far from comprehensive!