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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.
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.
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.
Once subscribed, you can quickly scroll through them to sift for content ideas and find conversations to join and questions to answer.
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.
Plug that number into the formula and put it into your RSS reader and you’ll be subscribed to the page.
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.
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/.
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.
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.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.