RSS: Your Social Media Monitoring Secret Weapon

Ever ended a workday and thought: “Whoa, what just happened?” Social media goes by pretty fast.

But if part of your job is social media monitoring, you need to make sure you don’t miss anything. That might include keeping an eye on competitors, tracking conversation around your industry and nurturing and following up with leads.

Luckily, there’s a simple, free and foolproof way to store everything in one place and make sure nothing slips through the cracks: RSS feeds. I use RSS feeds every single day for lots of different social media monitoring purposes. Here are some of my favorite uses and how to implement them.

LinkedIn

Paying attention to the questions posed on LinkedIn Answers is a great way to get involved in conversations relevant to your industry, find content ideas and establish yourself as a thought leader in a niche. And LinkedIn makes it easy to keep track of all questions specific to your industry. Just browse through the list of topics, pick the ones relevant to you and subscribe.

subscribe-LinkedIn-Answers

Quora

Similar to LinkedIn, Quora is another spot to keep up with conversations and participate in discussions. Quora also offers quick feeds for subscribing to topics you’re interested in.

Quora-subscribe

Once subscribed, you can quickly scroll through them to sift for content ideas and find conversations to join and questions to answer.

Facebook

If you want to make sure you get all of a page’s updates, subscribing to a brand’s Facebook feed via RSS is handy. You can keep up with what tactics your competitors or industry peers are trying that you might need to know about, or easily check in on customers and clients.

Unfortunately, Facebook’s recent switch to Timeline makes finding a way to subscribe a little tougher than it used to be, but it’s still possible with a bit of copying and pasting. The formula you’ll put into your feed reader is:

http://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=rss20&id=(your 11- or 12-digit ID number here)

Let’s use Marketing Land’s Facebook page as an example. To add this page’s feed to my RSS, I’ll go to their Facebook page and click on their profile photo. The last string of numbers in the URL that results is the page’s ID number.

facebook-subscribe-number

Plug that number into the formula and put it into your RSS reader and you’ll be subscribed to the page.

subscribe-Facebook-page

Twitter

Keeping track of Twitter via RSS feeds provides lots of flexibility in social media monitoring. With a few simple formulas to copy and paste, you can keep track of Twitter accounts, searches, hashtags and users’ favorites right from your feed. Here are a few you might want to have on hand to get started:

    • Favorites: http://twitter.com/favorites/yourusername.rss
    • Account: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/youraccount.rss
    • Hashtags: http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=search%23yourhashtag
    • Searches: http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=your%20search

      For a more complex search like “‘social media’ AND tool AND suggest OR recommend,” use a tool like this URL encoder to simplify the code you’ll add after q=.

Once you get the hang of these searches, you’ll be able to get even more specific as you drill down further. This is a great way to filter out a lot of the noise of social media to get to the stuff you’re looking for.

Pinterest

Even emerging networks like Pinterest are fair game for RSS tracking. For instance, wouldn’t it be really helpful to monitor which content of yours (or any other site’s) is being pinned across the site? You can, with RSS.

We can check this on a site-by-site basis by visiting http://pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com/.

pinterest-source

But it’s even better to pull pinned content into an RSS feed. While Pinterest doesn’t offer an RSS feed, Ann Smarty provides a step-by-step guide to easily creating one in this post. The net result will be a list of pinned content and the users who pinned it, delivered right into your feed.

Anything Else

Beyond social media sites, RSS feeds have plenty of other uses. Add industry blogs and news sources into your reader to stay up to date easily. Add customer and influencer blogs to find content to curate and share via social media networks.

If you come across a site you’d like to subscribe to that doesn’t readily offer RSS, there are tools like Feed43 can turn any web page into an RSS feed.

Do you use RSS feeds in your social media monitoring? What tips am I missing? Let me know in the comments.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Marketing Tools: RSS | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column

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About The Author: is a content crafter at Buffer. She has been an editor and writer at publications including Allure, Time Out New York, Playboy and The Tennessean. She speaks frequently on social media marketing and community management topics.



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  • http://www.jimbanks.co/ Jim Banks

    Awesome stuff Courtney. Particularly like the LinkedIn and Quora tips.

    I use Reeder it helps me to categorise the topics I follow better and from there I can add a post feed to Evernote by just pressing the letter E. You can also add to  reading list for Safari, end to Readbility or Instapaper, save to Pinboard, Delicious, post to twitter, Mail a link or view in Chrome. 

    Makes curation a lot more manageable. I only wish it de-duped, there is a lot of re-posting, recycling of the same story.

  • http://www.commstrategies.com/ Joel Don

    Great tips on ways to leverage RSS, thanks!

  • Martijn van Beek

    Hi Courtney, great article with some very usefull tips. I’d like to add Yahoo Pipes as a very usefull tool (http://pipes.yahoo.com). Even with little to no programming knowledge, it is a very versatile tool with which you can make your own RSS-feeds, or mix several sources into one feed. And much more. Great stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Thanks, Jim! I will have to check out Reeder for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Thanks, Martijn! I worked with Pipes a while back and found it a little complicated. Sounds like I need to get in there and give it another try. Love the concept! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507992415 Jerry Bergquist

    This is a great tip.  It’s going to make monitoring so much easier!

  • Martijn van Beek

     When you stick to just making a feed it’s pretty basic. (I know there are a lot more possibilities that require some skill :-)

  • Sean Spediacci

    I’m obviously a little biased, but I’ve been using Netvibes before I started working for them and it’s a great way to manage all these feeds.

  • http://twitter.com/GnosisArts Gnosis Media Group

    And … use Gnosify if you want to get your feed updates via RSS :-) – http://s.gnoss.us/gnosify c @aleyda:twitter

  • http://twitter.com/BlueAppleonline BlueApple

    Nice idea! I appreciate your effort, wanna see more tips on social media. Thanks Courtney

  • Craig Broadbent

    Some great tips. I would add that you can use Feed My Inbox to deliver straight to your email rather than have separate email and feed readers, I find it a bit more efficient! And RSSMix is a more straight forward way of grouping feeds. The two combined are pretty powerful. 

  • http://twitter.com/waworld Web Analytics World

    I didn’t think anything could make me an even bigger fan of RSS feeds and my Reader…I was so wrong! Thanks Courtney, I’d not twigged about using it with Linkedin Answers or Twitter favourites, something I’ll be rectifying today!
    Ange from the @waworld team

  • gerri50

    RSS is simply amazing!!! Every day I go through my Google reader to keep up to date with whats going on in industries I am interested in. What I liked about this post was your mention of Feed43. I have come across a number of sites that I wish had RSS feeds; now I don’t have to miss out on anything. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    So glad to offer something you can use, Ange! I appreciate the kind words.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Yes, fewer sites seem to have RSS these days. It seems to be going out of fashion, which I just don’t understand!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    I’ll have to check those out, Craig! Thanks for the tool tips. :)

  • http://blog.momekh.com/ Momekh

    Wow. Never looked at RSS. Ever. How you present it is just brilliant. Sharing it across the n/w because this can be very, very helpful. Great tips Courtney. Thanks.

  • http://www.esocialmedia.com Jerry Nordstrom

    Finding and using RSS is one thing, managing feeds in a reader is another, where you really are headed is creating a social media management platform. Listen, Monitor, Respond, publish and build connections.  Radian 6 can handle all of this, but if that price tag is too high you can create the same using Disqus.com for conversation management, Hootsuite for influencer identification, follower management and content scheduling/publishing and Netvibes for robust listening/monitoring. Connect all of these with Googles Social Analytics and you have a robust social marketing management platform all for a total cost of $5.95/month (Hootsuite Pro).

  • http://twitter.com/ITCareerCoach KingsIey Tagbo

    @Jerry Nordstrom, I haven’t heard of Hootsuite Pro and @Courtney Seller thanks for this article and the mention of Feed43 … I am interested in their ability to turn any website into an RSS Feed … 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T3QX5RXOALW4OROLIRHXVGPI5I Stone Lu

    Very useful tips! i have to study and practise as you said, i am positve that it helps!

  • Nicr

    Interesting article with some nice tips. We’ve been using another tool called Feedity – http://feedity.com to create custom RSS feeds for tracking external websites. Its been very useful to us.

 

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