Social Media Searches
In today’s world, it’s vital that companies monitor their online reputation on the social networks. More than ever, social media has become a platform for voicing opinions and spreading messages. It therefore has a major impact on all the processes associated with image building. In fact, the information on social media can be extremely harmful to your company. Social networks are often misused to spread insults, threats, and rumors. What’s more, sensitive company information can be divulged on the Internet by way of data leaks.
To optimize your search, start by choosing the most important social networks. In other words, the networks where you are most likely to find pertinent information on your company. You will also want to decide how and where this monitoring should take place.
In the following article, I’ll go over some of the ways to conduct a social media search.
Blogs were one of the first forms of Web 2.0 and social media. Today, many long blogs have given way to short micro-blogs such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. Nevertheless, there are still lots of high-quality blogs on the Internet and we’re even witnessing a rise in the creation of new blogs. Blog searches can therefore be useful.
Since the discontinuation of Google Blog Search, two major tools have emerged for searching blogs:
Blog Search Engine is ideal for blog searches. It can be found at the following address: http://www.blogsearchengine.org. Simply enter some keywords and launch your search. This tool appears to use the data from Google.
In other words, its results are often also included in the hit lists of previously mentioned Google searches.
These days, there’s at least one forum for nearly every human activity – no matter how strange or rare. Forums are excellent sources for social media searches. Before getting started, you’ll want to determine (among other things) which forums address the subject of your search. You also need to find out if there are access requirements for searching the forum.
The Google search operators “inurl” and “intitle” are useful for finding specific forums or posts.
Examples with Google search operators:
- “international relations” inurl:forum OR inurl:forums
- “negative review” site:groups.google.com
For more information on Google search operators, see this blog post by Ahrefs.
Special forum search engines can also be used to search forums. The results from these tools can vary greatly. It is therefore recommended that you compare them with the results of traditional search engines. BoardReader (https://boardreader.com) and Omgili (http://omgili.com) are two of the best forum search engines.
Twitter is one of the most popular social networks. The website’s interface lets you follow all the latest news and trends on Twitter. I recommend using Twitter Advanced Search (https://twitter.com/search-advanced) directly. With this function, you can search for an exact phrase or combination of words, exclude words, or search for hashtags.
Twitter offers various search operators to help you with your search. As with Google, these operators can improve the relevance and precision of your results.
For more information on Twitter’s Advanced Search feature, click here.
If Advanced Search is not enough:
Several tools perform in-depth analyses of Twitter search results. Twitonomy (https://twitonomy.com) is perfect for searching a Twitter account for the first time. It lets you track specific keywords, analyze profiles, and create overviews on your topics of interest.
To search Tumblr for content, use Google search operators with the desired keywords.
- “business intelligence” site:tumblr.com
Tumblr itself does not offer an adequate search function.
To make the most of Facebook searches, you must have your own (hidden) Facebook account. Create an account (using the Google address you set up in the beginning) to perform a more in-depth search of this vast network. Once you are logged in to Facebook, you will have several options.
You can search for people, photos, places, and other content in the Facebook search bar. Please note that the results may vary depending on the privacy settings of the user. If you search via the search bar, you will only find public posts with your keywords highlighted in the results.
You can then filter the results to only include photos of people, videos, pages, groups, etc.
You also need a user account to search LinkedIn. You can sign up with your “sock puppet” email address. Once you are logged in, you can search for companies, people, groups, and posts by way of the LinkedIn search bar. You can then filter the results and make use of various advanced search functions.
You can also search LinkedIn with Google.
Use the site operator site:linkedin.com in conjunction with the desired search terms. In this case, the search results only include those results which have been approved (by the respective member) for publication and indexing by search engines.
As with LinkedIn, you’ll need a user account to search the XING contact network. Once you’re a member, you can use the site’s search feature. As an alternative, you can use the Google search operator site:xing.com to obtain relevant search results.
Social media search tools
Several online tools perform quick and simultaneous searches of the social networks. These tools can make your daily work and marketing tasks a whole lot easier. One such tool is Social Searcher (https://www.social-searcher.com), which is a kind of meta search engine for social networks.
Netbootcamp also offers a variety of Internet investigation tools. Simply visit http://netbootcamp.org/osinttools to find the right tool for the task at hand.
To view even more links, check out the OSINT Framework, a collection of links updated continuously by Justin Nordine at https://osintframework.com.
Analytics and Search Console
A free service, Google Analytics is a great way to monitor your company website or blog. It provides you with important information such as referral URLs and the websites and social network accounts with links to your website.
You can then track these links and monitor their sources. By doing so, you’ll be notified whenever someone mentions you – whether it be on the social networks, in a newsletter, in a blog, on a homepage, in an online magazine, etc.
Our tip: Set up alerts
Even with rigorous manual social media monitoring, it’s easy to overlook an important article or post that someone has written about your company. It therefore makes sense to set up Google Alerts (https://www.google.de/alerts). With Google Alerts, you’ll receive an email every time Google uncovers a match for your search term in blogs, news, or on the web.
I’m not always satisfied with the reliability of Google Alerts, so I tend to use them in conjunction with other services (especially for important topics). That said, they’re definitely worth considering.
You can also use comprehensive, professional “social listening” tools such as Talkwalker or Mention. Feel free to contact us for help with your social media monitoring projects.