I’ve spoken before about how important it is to know what’s being said about you online. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a PR or branding perspective, or just from a personal point of view – hearing is the first step to responding.

If there’s something negative being said, you need to respond and counter where necessary. If it’s positive, you can also respond and just say thanks for the kind words – it certainly won’t hurt to show someone that you appreciate their words.

One of the tools I’ve been messing around with lately is Social Mention. In the words of the application itself:

“Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services.”

And that pretty much sums up what Social Mention offers. Yet there’s more, and it’s these features that make Social Mention pretty cool for your own use or business use.

When you search for something using Social Mention, you’ll get results sent back to you from a myriad of sources, from the better-known social networks to more obscure ones. Tabs above the results allow you to choose from blogs, microblogs, social bookmarks, comments and more.

Where it gets fun is with the ranking system. Look to the right of Social Mention and you’ll see your score out of 100. The higher the score, the more mentions about you, your business or product.

This can allow you to tailor where you’re more effective online, and either concentrate on that area, or try and become more effective elsewhere, depending on your needs. By showing tags and sources, you can also see what words are being used about you and from where. It even tells you when the last reference to you was made.

Once you have your information, you can then save it as a CSV/Excel file and use it for any stats or reports of your own.

Topping it all off, Social Mention also offers trending topics, as well as email alerts and RSS feeds that you can personalize to exactly what you want to know about.

There are a host of great free and premium monitoring services around, but for ease of use and results, I have to say I’m really liking what I’ve found so far with Social Mention.

How about you? Have you used it yet? What do you think about it? See possibilities or just another addition to a crowded market?

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