Social searching

Original by Joy Mayer ( /Updates by Matt Dulin

Social searching

Ways and reasons to listen to your community

As representatives of our brand on social media, we need to be paying attention to monitoring what our audience is saying to us. Anywhere we’re talking to our audience, we need to be listening for what they say back. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit … we need to be on top of mentions of our brand.


In addition to that, we have an opportunity to eavesdrop on what our audience/community members are talking about to each other — in general about related to the things we cover. We look for conversations or posts that the newsroom should be aware of. Are there …


  • Posts we should share/retweet/repost?
  • Story ideas?
  • People curious about things we’ve covered lately? Would they appreciate a link?
  • Windows into what matters to our community?
  • Conversations about our content? Feedback we should be aware of?
  • People we should invite to contribute their own content?
  • Potential new sources/voices to include in our reporting?
  • Conversations we should capture to share with our readers?
  • Posts we should hit “like” on as the brand? Or ask about? Or ask permission to republish?
  • New followers we should follow back?
  • On Twitter specifically, set up lists with people whose conversations you especially want to keep tabs on. And search “near:zipcode” to get a sense of local conversation.

Twitter searching

Facebook searching

Instagram searching

  • Facebook signal (mentioned above) allows Instagram searches
  • Banjo – premium service only – there’s a limited “free” tier for verified journalists
  • Websta
  • Hashtag and location searching within the app

Other searching tips and tools

Some paid tools worth mentioning

I’ve been persuaded to add a section for paid tools. Help me fill it out. What tools does your newsroom invest in? (I’ll try to track down the ones I’ve deleted from my list because they’ve started charging!)

  • Geofeedia (recommended by Eric Carvin)
  • SAM (recommended by Eric Carvin)
  • Trendspottr (real-time viral search and predictive analytics service that identifies trending info)
  • DataMinr (finds trending Twitter topics, searches by defined geographical areas, sends alerts) (recommended by Jeffrey Meesey) (by user or keyword) – $28 per year to deep search instagram