Monitor & Respond

Once you’ve decided which social media site fits best with your goals, you’ll need to monitor the site for questions and comments. The following are not endorsements, but are merely recommendations to help get you started. You should choose the tool(s) that best fits your goals and workflow.


Most social media sites provide the option to receive email notifications when someone attempts to interact with you. On Tumblr, this option is found under Preferences:


Tumbler preferences


On Twitter, the notifications are found in Settings -> Notifications. The two most important notifications are indicated by the red arrows.


Twitter notifications

On Facebook, this option is found under Account Settings -> Notifications:


Facebook notifications


As you can see, you have many notification choices. The ones marked with the red arrow are probably the most important.


Google Alerts
Google Alerts are another option for receiving email notifications. These notifications are based on search queries entered in Google’s search engine. From the Google Alerts web page, to set up an alert:

Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you'll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams
There are many options for monitoring Twitter. Following are a few options.
  • Twitter Search
    There are several ways to search trends and topics on twitter. If you are using twitter.com or a twitter application like tweetdeck or seesmic there is a built in search function. This will give you a current real-time view of what is happening in the world or in your neighborhood. You can also monitor twitter without having an account by going to search.twitter.com. From here you can go to Advanced Search that gives you the ability to search geographic location down to the zip code.
  • Hootsuite (http://hootsuite.com)
    Hootsuite lets you monitor multiple networks, provides custom analytics and team collaboration. You can schedule messages to be posted at pre-determined times.
  • Monitter (http://www.monitter.com)
    Monitter is a real time twitter search tool that enables you to monitor a set of keywords on twitter. It also allows you to narrow the search to a particular geographic location, allowing you to find out what’s going onin a particular part of the world.
  • Sideline (http://sideline.yahoo.com)
    Sideline ets you watch, search, and monitor Twitter in real-time.
  • twilert (http://www.twilert.com)
    Twilert Sends regular email updates containing mentions of any keyword you want.

Many of these services are free to use. While this is great from a budgetary standpoint, they carry the very real risk that they could shut down tomorrow. Keep this in mind when structuring your social media plan. You don’t want to build too much dependence on any one service.


Blog Comments
Blogging platforms, such as Wordpress and Blogger, allow readers to post comments. While the configuration varies, it is possible to receive email when someone posts a comment on your blog. Many people have replaced the built-in commenting system with third party comment systems such as Disqus or IntenseDebate.


Disqus and IntenseDebate are widely used commenting platforms for blogs and websites. They contain built-in moderation and administration tools as well as analytics. They allow commenters to login once and comment across several sites.


Guidelines for Responding and Forwarding
At all times, keep in mind the Professional Use Guidelines, Official Use Guidelines and the General Principles from this toolkit. Engage people in conversation in a timely manner and keep the tone friendly and professional.


If you see something posted by someone not affiliated with the Health Science Center and the post relates to a HSC department, please help out and let that department know by forwarding them a link to the post or comment. First consider whether your answer could be useful to the general public; if so, use a public post. If the situation requires a more private response, consider contacting the person who made the post and ask it would be acceptable to have someone at the Health Science Center contact them personally regarding the issue in question. Be sure to engage with posters in a way that respects privacy, using private channels (twitter direct messages, Facebook private messages, or email) where appropriate.