social media how toAre you looking for easy ways to monitor social mentions of your brand, product or name?

You can easily listen to what people are saying online on any topic you want to track.

In this article, I’ll discuss two real-time social analytics tools and how they can enhance your monitoring.

Get Real-Time Insight

Topsy is a search engine that gives real-time insight into online conversations.

It uses proprietary data-indexing technology to provide you with not only the most recent search results, but also the most relevant results based on the calculated social influence of the conversation.


Once you arrive at Topsy, you can elect to search Twitter, photos, videos, trending topics, expert articles or "everything."

One of the great features of using Topsy to search Twitter is that the URLs are automatically expanded when the search results are indexed.

What this means is that you can see which tweets are linking back to your website that you might not otherwise see.

You’ll also be able to view tweets about you that don’t tag your @handle.

url search

The URL search for "" results in tweets using shortened URLs ( or

Some of the topics that you’ll want to search for on Topsy are:

  • Your name
  • Your company/brand name
  • Your product name(s)
  • Your competition
  • Your industry
  • Your website URL(s) (leave off the “www”)
  • Your email address
  • Your employees’ names

Use Topsy not only to get a pulse on what people are saying about you online, but also to show you trending topics that would be good to add to your Netvibes dashboard.

Monitor Your Social Media in One Dashboard

Netvibes is a free PR-newswire service on steroids. It will become your go-to dashboard for everything that’s being said about you (and anything else you want to monitor) online.


To get started, go to Netvibes and click the sign-in link at the top right. To set up your free account, you can simply connect with Facebook.

You can choose from hundreds of pre-installed search widgets, which include connecting to your own Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Once you’re signed in, you’ll see your first dashboard. Simply enter a search topic (such as the ones listed above for Topsy) and search.

Your dashboard will populate with search results organized by source, such as Google Alerts, Google Blogs, Yahoo! News, Bing and others.

You can add more news outlets by adding widgets to your dashboard.

widget panel

Just click the Add Content button at the top left of your screen to access the widget panel.

You can also use Netvibes to monitor RSS feeds from sites/blogs that you want to remember to stay current with.

add a feed

Click on Add Content and then Add a feed. Enter your feed's URL and click the Add feed button.

Just click the Add a feed button, and enter the feed URL.

The easiest way to organize your Netvibes account is to separate each search topic into its own dashboard. Each dashboard will appear as a tab across the top of your screen.

separate tabs

Here's an example of how to set up a Netvibes account above. There are separate tabs for product names, my company name, my name and Twitter handle.

Be sure to set up a tab for each of your website URLs as well, so you’ll know when someone is linking back to you. This information will also appear in your Google Analytics account, but it’s nice to have all of this data available to you in one central location.

add new tab

Click the + button to the far right of the tabs to add a new one. Simply type in your website URL and click Create to add a tab for each of your sites.

Any time a new article or conversation on your search term occurs, you’ll see an alert in red at the top of that dashboard. Netvibes operates in real time, so each time you log in you’ll see the latest results.

red alerts

The red numbers in parentheses indicate the number of unread alerts for each tab/topic.

The great thing is that once you create your Netvibes account and enter all of the searches that you want to monitor, your social media listening station setup is complete. All you need to do then is remember to log in and check it frequently.

Check in regularly to make sure you’re not missing any opportunities to connect, reach out to solve a customer service issue or respond to a favorable mention. Being responsive gives people incentive to click over to your site.

With free pro-level services like Netvibes to help you keep tabs on online conversations, there is no longer any reason you can’t know almost instantly when you’ve been mentioned online.

It’s time to take action. Your next steps are to set up your account, and then add weekly or biweekly reminders to check into Netvibes in your calendar or schedule.


Most people are not taking the time to regularly monitor online conversations about themselves and their company. Using these tools gives you an excellent opportunity to stand out among your peers.

So, what do you think? Are you already monitoring online conversations about yourself and your business? Do you have a story of how responding to an online mention of you led to an opportunity or revenue? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

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  • Thanks for the tips. Another tool that I personally use to manage my social conversations and discover new interesting sites and individuals is Engagio ( It has an inbox that brings in all of your social conversations to one place and because it focuses on conversations, I have a better chance of discovering and getting engaged in interesting discussions. Let me know if you give it a try.

  • Amy

    Do you think it is important to pay marketing firms to do this or can it reasonably be done by a single entrepreneur?

  • What I’ve outlined above can absolutely be done by a single entrepreneur.

  • Cool thanks for some new sites that I’ll have to throw into the mix. Of course don’t forget about search.twitter 🙂 

  • Nancy

    Thanks for the referral to NetVibes. I’ve been away from social media for a year (or 100 years in social time!)…are RSS feeds as relevant today as they were “way back when”? Anybody using Technorati anymore?
    thanks for your suggestions.

  • Excellent tips Laura! As a soloprenuer I can see myself using them. Thanks for your valuable input. 

  • Great resources thanks!

    How is NetVibes different from the others (i.e., Buffer, HootSuite, TweetDeck) ? There are so many 3rd party app/tools/sites to choose from, so why is this one better … ?


  • HI Laura,

    Thanks for the tips!  How does Netvibes compare with Hootsuite?

  • CX

    These are all really great resources. Thanks so much for sharing! 

  • I thought I had it all covered with my Google Alerts and advanced Twitter searches, as well as native Twitter notifications, but the first time I looked in Topsy, I found several Tweets that had referenced my product positively that I hadn’t seen! It’s a good one.

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  • Yup, another great resource!

  • Great question Nancy, I haven’t found technorati to be useful anymore

  • Hey Devani, the tools you’re mentioned post updates to social media, netvibes doesn’t do that

  • They don’t do the same things – hootsuite posts to your social networks, netvibes is a search/monitoring tool

  • Yup I have found topsy to definitely be the most comprehensive, it’s a great tool

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  • I monitor a lot of Twitter searches via Hootsuite, so I would beg to differ…

  • Gotta stay on top of !

  • Hey Bojan – you can of course use it for that purpose, but it can’t do a wider net like netvibes can. And netvibes doesn’t do any scheduling.

  • I agree with Bojan … I can set up searches, monitor conversations, and follow topics of interest all from my Hootsuite dashboard. I also use and LOVE IT because it sits in my gmail inbox and I can see instantly when something new comes along and can continue the conversation right from there.

  • Awesome, glad you found this useful 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by Katya!

  • Thanks for throwing that one in the mix, looks cool!

  • Great tips, I have never heard of topsy so I’ll be looking into that one for sure! thanks.

  • Topsy is also an excellent way to find out what Twitter users and influencers are sharing your content.  Check the box to see influencers only and look for original tweets with your links in them to find the ones who are really social media savvy. 

    Topsy can also be used to determine what hashtag is most popular when there is more than one. For example, to see if #smb #smallbiz #smallbusiness or #smbiz is most popular. Another use is to select hashtags that are not already being used for your next event, project or new site. 

  • Thanks.  Another useful tool.

  • Richard GohYK

    Wow, just the type of information I was looking for. Social analytic is very important given the fact that we have to work smart and that means by being always constantly within the realm of awareness in regards to targeted niche markets and news trends. Really two great links to powerful resources which I am adding to my list of Internet marketing arsenals!.Cheers

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  • Thanks Laura. I have just signed up for Netvibes and it is great.

  • Mark McDonagh

    I will be checking out Topsy – looks like a great tool

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  • No problem. I just checked your website and it is extremely useful! I have signed up to get updates.

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  • Cinnected

    Big help. Thanks!

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  • You’re welcome, glad you found it useful!

  • It is awesome, gives way better results than google alerts in my experience. 

  • Yeah I don’t know why it doesn’t get mentioned more, I love netvibes!

  • Thanks Richard!

  • Great tips, thanks for adding that in Gail!

  • Great article. I would add though that most monitoring/publishing tools are not as strong on accurately answering: “why is this conversation happening and who is driving it?”  With that answer, one can justify the ROI of why they should or shouldn’t spend X amount of time engaging.  Sysomos Heartbeat and Sysomos MAP tries to differentiate it’s platform on that point.   

  • Oh got it! thanks! 

  • Great article! I will definitely have to check out Topsy and Netvibes. I’ve been using Hootsuite, but I’m taking your word for it that these tools are far more comprehensive :). I worked in a community manager role in hospitality in my last position, and Hootsuite was incredibly effective for listening to the realtime conversation around us. If there was a complaint over Twitter we could immediately fix it by sending the guest an amenity or simply solving the problem. Many times the guest wouldn’t use our handle, so I found searching out all conversations, no matter how far-reaching the search terms, enabled me to monitor what was going on — and act immediately.

  • This is really useful, thanks Laura. We’ve also started using TweetDig to categories tweets / users / hashtags / conversations – its the only user friendly service that allows us to monitor mixed categories at the same time. Has anyone else tried TweetDig? let me know how you find it?

  • Jay Richard

    Great post. Now I have another service to research. I have also heard about Tweriod and WhoTweetedIt. Decisions, decisions. Thank you. 

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  • Fran

    Love NetVibes, is there a way to have it show your Facebook Page, instead of your Profile? Thanks!

  • Fran

    Netvibes doesn’t seem like it will work for me, I’m looking for a way to track all of my local listings: Yahoo Local, Bing, Google Places (Local), Yelp, etc. and Social Media all from one place.  I’ve been using Symbaloo as a dashboard, but I thought maybe there was something that might be better. I want to be notified when someone reviews my business from any of those sites. I know I can pay for that from Yahoo Local, but I’d rather not!  Thanks.

  • Thanks for sharing this tools. Social monitoring is a must for a brand. Familiarity with the latest analytics tools. Indeed right, with this it can enhance your online topic and easy to track.

  • Hey‘s simple and a goody.

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  • Enrico Cerrato

    Hi Aylin, great info you shared with us, thank you. Can I ask you to give some example regarding the “I found searching out all conversations, no matter how far-reaching the search terms”…it would be really helpful

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  • Osmaan Mooraby

    Awesome Tips