Building A Simple Social Media Dashboard with iGoogle

When you start monitoring social conversations it takes a while to figure out which words and phrases return the most relevant content. There are many excellent subscription tools available, but until you have narrowed down your search terms and brand terms, it’s a smart idea to use a free tool.

iGoogle is one easy-to-create and easy-to-use dashboard.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. If you don’t already have a Google account, set one up.
    If you have an account, sign in.
  2. Once you’ve signed in to your Google account, click on the gear icon on the top right and select iGoogle.
  3. If this is your first time using iGoogle, you’ll see the setup wizard called “Create your own homepage in under 30 seconds.”
  4. Once you have the iGoogle page set up, you can being to create your dashboard.
  5. Organize your dashboard into tabs for easier analysis – next to the Home tab there is a drop down menu.
  6. Choose Add a tab and and name the tab according to the categories of content you plan to monitor.

Brand names, competitors, descriptive phrases about your products, and so on.

7.  Now add feeds of content to each tab.

8.  In a new browser window go to the web, news and social search engines and do a search for the brand names and phrases you have chosen to monitor.  You can use Yahoo News, IceRocket, Social Mention or Topsy. (If you use Icerocket  or Topsy remember to adjust the language you want to see.)

8. Find the RSS feed for each search. You may have to hunt around the page, but it will be there.

9.   Click that link and follow the instructions to add it to your Google Homepage

And voila!  Once you have added all the search feeds from news. blogs, twitter etc., you should have a dashboard that looks something like this


Monitor these feeds of conversations every day for two weeks.  Make a spreadsheet and keep track of conversations that are particularly relevant or the people who talk about you or your competitors often, very positively or negatively.

This simple dashboard will help you organize your listening efforts.  If you analyze the content it will also be a great tool for learning what people are saying about you and how you should respond.

Once you have narrowed down the conversations and the people you need to follow you can upgrade to a paid dashboard.  You can use the phrases and feeds you know to be relevant and use a smarter tool for long term monitoring and social intelligence gathering.


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