How to build a free higher education social media dashboard
How To Set Up A Free Social Media DashboardIn this tutorial, we’re going to set up a dashboard to help you monitormentions of your college or university in Facebook. We’ll be usingSocialMention.com, but you may also use IceRocket.com. Bothperform similar functions.You may also follow this process for Twitter feeds, blogs, news,comments and videos.Tools You’ll NeedAn RSS Reader – RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’ssimply a method for staying in touch with the content from a website.Popular readers are iGoogle, Google Reader and Netvibes.Social Mention - this is a mashup search engine of many of theformats of content such as audio and video - I’ve found it a very niceway to turn up some mentions that don’t occur anywhere else.IceRocket.com – This is another search engine that allows you tosearch Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news and images.The ProcessIdentify your key terms – These are the words that your studentsuse when they talk about you. The can be as broad as your universityor college name or as narrow as a particular program that you offer.Here are some examples: • Ferrum College • Gardner Webb • “Methodist University”
• Georgia Bulldogs • Go CougarsPutting your phrase in between apostrophes tells the search engineto look for that exact phrase – so it will return results for the words“Methodist University” where they appear together.Use other terms that are common to your admissions process. If youare searching Twitter, use (#) hash tags to look for particular words: • #admissions • financial aid • application deadlineBrainstorm different ideas and consider stringing phrases together,like: • “Elm University” + financial aid • “Oak College” + dorm • “Ash College” + attendingThese phrases are very narrow and you’re not likely to see them popup very often, but once you have dashboard it takes nothing tomaintain the queries.Set Up Your Reader – In the example, we’ll use iGoogle. This is yourpersonal home page with Google. If you don’t have it set up, go towww.google.com/ig and create a gmail account.Run Your Search Query – In this example we’ll usewww.socialmention.com.Go to www.socialmention.com
On the first page, enter your query.Click the “or select social media sources” link. Click the Facebookradio button.Click Search.You’ll receive a list of results that represent how that phrase has beenused in Facebook updates. Note that these results only representstatuses that are not “Friends Only”. They are visible to everyone.
Go to the RSS Feed link on the upper right of the screen and copythe link address. Depending on your browser, you can right click thelink.
Add the query to your readerFrom your Google home tab click the dropdown arrow and click “Adda tab”Go to the tab and on the right hand side click the “Add stuff” link.On the lower left, click “Add feed or gadget”
Paste the URL.Go back to your Google home page to see the feeds.Repeat this process for other feeds like Twitter and blogs usingSocialMention.
Other Tools for Creating SearchesThere are a variety of other tools for running search queries. Thisguide only covers Social Mention, but if you are interested in tryingother sites, here’s a short list for you to browse.Google alerts - Google Alerts allows you set-up customer searchesfor any phase and receive email or RSS alerts any time your phraseshows up in online media, blogs, web pages and news.Search.twitter - For now, monitoring twitter is a separate stream(Google seems to be adding twitter conversations to SERPs) - usingthe advanced search function allows you set-up very specificsearches, even including geographic details. These searchesproduce RSS feeds and can then be subscribed to.tweetbeep.com - Similar to Google Alerts, but for twitter. Set-upsearch phrases and receive notification any time your phrases showup in twitter conversations.Boardtracker.com - focuses on the most popular bulletin boardconversations and can turn up responses that don’t show upanywhere else. Some industries still have very heavy bulletin boarduse.Backtype.com - Backtype is a search engine of sorts that focuses onblog comments. Blog comments don’t often make it into themainstream search results so this is a way to listen in on this set ofcontent.