A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at Professional Fundraising Magazine's Digital Communications for Charities conference, called The Social Media Conversation (slides are here). Kicked off by Roger Jones and creative director of The Good Agency, Reuben Turner, my bit was a case study of what I'm working on for Compassion in World Farming. So I quickly go over how we're optimising their use of Flickr, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and then go over how we're monitoring it. Monitoring social media activity is what everyone seems to be talking about right now, i.e. monitoring your brand's "buzz." So the sites I talk about are Qdos, HowSociable, Twitter Grader, Google Trends, Google Insights, Omgili, Serph, and of course Google Analytics.
Qdos I have only seen used for individuals and not for brands or organisations, but I don't see why it wouldn't work for them, so I've been using it to assess changes in Compassion's online reputation over time. It's quite fun to see who you're more famous than, and it provides a nice "splodge" diagram of how active, unique and popular you are and how much impact what you say has. It doesn't work for an organisation's Facebook Pages though.
HowSociable allows you to subscribe to monthly updates and compares you against famous brands like Coca Cola who are given a rank of 1000, so your number is in comparison to that.
Twitter Grader grades you against other Twitter users so you get a score depending on how much you tweet, how many followers you have, and how many people you're following. They've also just launched Facebook Grader where you can get a score for how famous you are on Facebook. Myself, I do better on Twitter.
Others I'm using but didn't have time to talk about include Social Mention, Samepoint and Twitterholic. Twitterholic is great because you get a graph over time of how many followers you had each day, so if it suddenly drops you can go and check what you said that offended everyone. Mine dropped off quite significantly one day when I called Chris Rock a racist, but I reckon Twitter had just done a sweep of spam accounts and deleted a bunch of people.
I also showed how I've created an iGoogle "dashboard" of RSS feeds made up from search results from a number of the above social media conversation search engines, in order to easily track the latest thing that has been said about the organisation, to see if there's any opportunity to join that conversation. On that there's also a Dipity timeline of YouTube videos.
Mashable did an article about how to track influential voices using Buzzgain (apparently my face came up as influential about something or other! I'm very proud — having my face on Mashable is the Social Media equivalent of being on the cover of Time Out), so I need to check that out, too. There's also a bunch of Twitter directories which I use to find the right people for Compassion to follow, some of which are covered by Mashable this week too, for example Twellow. Another Twitter tools I've used to find the right people to follow is MrTweet, and I'm using Twitterfeed to automatically feed our Flickr photostream RSS, Flickr group RSS, and YouTube RSS in to Twitter. It's important not to rely on auto feeds though or your Twitter stream will be boring and nobody will follow you back.