Tag Archives: social media monitoring

Free social media monitoring tools

I haven’t checked these out myself but considering how important social media monitoring is to crisis communication these days, wanted to forward these to you. If any of you do use them and can give the pros and cons to crisisblogger readers, please let me know.

Six free social media monitoring tools courtesy Ragan.com.


Tiger, Toyota, Austin Plane Crash, Olympics–too much to discuss

There’s just so much going on to talk about and so little time–particularly with a brutal travel schedule lately. But, some of this stuff is just too good to pass up. So here are some quick takes.

Tiger. Rich Lerner of The Golf Channel did a great job of reviewing how the media covered the Tiger’s story and apology. The coverage, punditry, comments end up saying more about us as a culture and our media environment than Tiger. For my part, the criticism against Tiger for so tightly controlling the circumstances is stupid. Throwing himself into the rough and tumble of the kind of questions he would get, now that would be stupid. I think he did well, but as I saw inĀ  a comment from Nick Faldo, it’s all about the actions now. He’s got a long way to earn back what he has lost. Like every major crisis, he and the golf world will never be the same for this. But, one hopes and prays, that a new Tiger will emerge that will earn and deserve our admiration and respect. Time will tell.

Toyota. More headlines of problems–now steering it seems. It causes one to wonder how a company that for many years made cars that were above average in safety and reliability could in one or two months go completely in the toilet. Well, I don’t believe the reality is there. I think this is what happens often when things go bad. Additional scrutiny causes additional problems and things pile up. Now the media-shy chairman is preparing to face a highly skeptical and go-for-the-throat Congress. Secretly I wish that Mr. Toyoda would ask the members of Congress this question: How can you be credible as watchdog of the public interest when you have a dog in the hunt? How can the American public take you seriously when your president has more to gain from our problems than anyone else on earth? I still am amazed that the media has not focused more on the inherent problems of mixing the roles of corporate ownership and protector of the public interest. That continues to me to be the fascinating undercurrent in this Toyota saga. (I note that Washington Post included a reference to this conflict but in the context of a story about Toyota spending money to buy off Congress–sometimes these guys just can’t get off the tried and true story lines. Tiresome.)

Austin plane crash. I will be sharing more details soon of direct involvement in the communication around this event. But what was most fascinating is seeing the way in which Twitter in this case drove the mainstream news as well as the situation awareness of the responders. Instant news is no longer about reputation management. Instant news via the internet and the latest incarnation of internet use we call social media is forever changing the game of response management. I blogged on this on emergencymgmt.com about how DHS was monitoring social media around the Olympics in fulfilling its mandate to provide a common operating picture and situational awareness. It was absolutely fascinating to watch this story unfold, particularly being part of the process.

How can you know when somethings going viral? Bitly is helping

For Twitter users and other social media types, bitly is the well-known tool that helps you shorten big long urls or webpage addresses into something much shorter that will fit on a tweet. Now bitly is offering another invaluable service based on all the data that flows through its system. It can show you which videos are hot right now.

Why is this important? Ask Dominos–and if you have to ask why, look at yesterday’s post. How will you know if some competitor, opponent, disgruntled employee, unhappy customer who knows how to write cute songs has posted something on YouTube or Vimeo. And how will you know if it is gaining traction and getting tweeted and retweeted by millions. Bitly will make this easier.

This is just one more example of the flood of new capabilities being offered almost continually that allow communicators to monitor what is happening on the internet. My post yesterday on Emergency Management about top PR blunders discussed the fact that blunders occur when people don’t know what is going on out there, and most of all when they don’t think about how what they are doing will look to others when it does hit the social networks.

Listen, listen, monitor, monitor.

Searching and Monitoring–more important and more powerful than ever

For the past few months whenever I have been presenting to groups on crisis communication or Joint Information Center operations I have said that the most important job of crisis communication today is rumor management. It most certainly is not putting out press releases, and it may not be that important to put out information releases at all–depending on the event as we will see. The reason is simply that with social media those publics out there have access to all kinds of very fast information they didn’t have before. The emergency management community is struggling with the issue, which I blogged about recently, about how do you handle things when people out there know more than you do?

I was speaking at a state conference of emergency managers about this phenomenon and one of the attendees came up to me afterwards and said it just happened to him. He was responding to a fatality car accident and by the time he got to the hospital, the parents of the victim were already there. They knew before he did.

So in major events that are visible to the public, such as Flight 1549, the public will know more faster than the responders and probably also the media. Such is the power of those little devices we carry in our pockets and the network that makes them live and work. But, one of the truisms of crisis communication is that the initial information about an event is always wrong. And with a lot of people speaking from their perspective a lot of what is communicated about any event is going to be wrong. That’s where crisis communication comes in and why rumor management is fast becoming the biggest and most important job. You have to know what is being said and you have to be able to respond and correct misinformation very quickly. If a lie becomes the truth when it is repeated often enough, just think how often a lie can be repeated when it has gone viral. You’ve got to have the ability to stop it in its tracks before those tracks turn out to be a big honking tank bearing right down on you.

But how? Monitoring has become one of the biggest jobs in the JIC or the Crisis Command Center. I’m modifying crisis plans I’m working on to beef up the staffing for the Monitoring and Rumor Management unit. A sizeable event we were just involved in demonstrated how critically important this monitoring is and how it drives the information that is required.

Fortunately there is an increasing array of excellent tools available to do the monitoring–many or most involving online searches. And many, but not all, are free. And monitoring tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated which means that we have to keep evolving with them. Brian Solis, one of the widely recognized thought leaders in social media has an interesting post today about the evolution of search.

If anyone has any experience with monitoring services or rumor management during a crisis, please let me know. This is a very important topic and wouldn’t mind having a few guest posts on it from people who have been through the mill.

Now, blog monitoring as a customer service strategy

Got a gripe with a company? Want to get sweet revenge by ranting on your blog site? Well, you can probably expect an email or call from the company you are trashing. At least that is what one blogger found to his surprise.

Blog monitoring, along with media monitoring is becoming essential part of the public relations business. But now it is becoming part of the customer service business. And that is a good thing. While social media and the internet can spread the bad news faster than any physical watercooler, they also offer the subject of these rants the opportunity to listen in. And they are beginning to. It is a Distant Early Warning system–a way of heading off serious problems before they become serious problems. For crisis communicators and issue managers the lessons ought to be obvious. If you are not putting in place a simple, easy way to track the conversations online about your organization, it’s like a company under threat of war shutting off all their radars. Not smart.