Knowing what others are saying about your race online can be a godsend. Whether it’s catching the odd frustrated comment, helping answer participant questions or simply keeping track of mentions of your event, it pays to keep on top of things.

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend time or money monitoring the web. We’ve looked at the best free tools for the job so you can start listening into what people are saying about your race straightaway.

And here they are!

Hootsuite

Hootsuite offers the best and most comprehensive solution for free social media monitoring. What’s more, you can use your Hootsuite dashboard as your social media control centre, not only monitoring social media activity you’re interested in but actioning it directly, without ever leaving the platform.

First thing you’ll want to do on joining Hootsuite, is to associate your social media accounts. For the free Hootsuite version, this means just one account per social platfrom, which is probably enough for most people.

After you’ve linked your accounts with Hootsuite, you are ready to set up social media streams – these are keywords, mentions, events (likes, follows, retweets) happening across social media networks that are flagged by Hootsuite and delivered to you in one neat column stream With your streams side by side, you can pick up posts happening anywhere on social media and action them right there and then.

As part of your free Hootsuite plan, you get a ton of other useful tools, such as Hootsuite’s social content scheduler (allows you to schedule content forward across all platforms from one place), social media analytics tools and Hootsuite’s own ow.ly shortened URL facility, making Hootsuite an absolute must-try if you’re starting to outgrow your current arrangements.

Warble

warble alerts logo

We first started evangelising about Warble in our feature about tools we use to boost our own productivity. Unlike Hootsuite, Warble is a no-frills bare-bones Twitter monitor, so if simplicity is your thing Warble may be the tool for you.

The main advantage of Warble is that you can get your Twitter keyword alerts (hashtag alerts, mentions etc) delivered to you by email, which is handy if you want to have a quick browse through results over breakfast or your morning commute. For each of your alerts, you will receive an email with all relevant tweets in clickable format so you can follow up with tweet authors if necessary.

With Warble Alerts you get to use all the search operators you would use with a Google search, including exact phrase matching, keyword exclusion and AND/OR functionality, so you can put together some pretty complicated alert queries.

Give Warble a go – you’re bound to pick up someone gossiping about your event without your knowing about it!

Google Alerts

google alerts logo

Although less frequent than Twitter mentions, references to your event on the wider web are also valuable to keep track of. For that, there is Google Alerts, the ever-vigilant hound of content on the world wide web.

You can use Google Alerts much like you would use the regular Google search box – the difference is that results from your search query are monitored periodically and alerts are sent to your designated email address when new hits of your query come up.

For example, if you would like to be informed when your Fabulous Half Marathon comes up in online news, add the query “Fabulous Half Marathon” to your Google Alerts (with the quotes to ensure an exact, case-insensitive match) and next time Google picks up a piece of news that includes that phrase, you’ll know about it.

You can choose to receive one email per search query at any time of the day or a single Google Alerts digest with all your results in one go. It’s up to you.

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💡 If you’re struggling with content for your Facebook page or race website, you can use Google Alerts as your tailored news digest to find news you can share with your audience. Need more content ideas when there’s nothing to talk about? Here’s some tips to get your creative juices flowing.

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