Even before you hear a ringing in your ear, start listening for your brand and your cause. Monitoring your brand online – as well as your cause – is crucial to your understanding of constituents, similar organizations and donors. The conversations about your cause and brand are already happening— fortunately, you can tap into all of them using a number of available methods and tools.


Why should you listen?

  • Any negative press or responses about your brand can be addressed in real time
  • Stay up to date on cause-related news
  • Spread brand awareness by joining conversations happening about your cause
  • Get to know who makes up your constituency

And most importantly? Learn what your audience actually wants from your organization. See what questions they’re asking on other platforms, such as Quora, and write a blog post answering those questions. Create a Pinterest board featuring content different from your cause but interesting to your followers. For instance, our DIY Board has little to do with caregiving but our followers love to do-it-themselves!


How do you listen?

Know when your content has been copied and pasted

A huge portion of your content is being shared through good ol’ fashion Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Without the proper tools to listen, sharing of your brand through copying and pasting makes the conversation around it inaudible. That’s where Markerly and Tynt come into play. These two tools easily integrate with any platform that allows you to install the widget’s HTML code in your head tag (including Tumblr!). Analytics tell you who is sharing your content, what they’re sharing and where. Attribution to your brand will also increase, since both tools “tag” the shares in some way. Markerly enables readers to share your content just by highlighting text or hovering over an image. Goodbye, copy and paste!

Set up tracking of your brand name and cause related keywords

Dozens, if not hundreds, of keyword tracking tools exist. It takes some experimenting to find the right one for your organization. Mention is one of the most popular media monitors right now and it’s just getting more intuitive. Using Mention, you can track your brand name and cause related keywords across almost all popular platforms. Still, no one tool can do it all. Platform specific tools will always have a leg up on relevancy.

For platform specific tools, try:

  • Commun.it for Twitter
    Not only does Commun.it organize your Twitter feeds, but it also rates your followers according to engagement level and suggests people to unfollow or re-engage. Commun.it automatically composes tweets to your top followers.
  • Tailwind for Pinterest
    Tailwind’s best features are only available to paid accounts but they offer great analytics to monitor your brand’s engagement level on Pinterest, including optimal posting times and pin virality scores.
  • Ripples for Google+
    The more your brand’s content is shared among circles, the greater the ripple you have. This tool allows you to see the butterfly effect of every publicly shared Google+ post!

Keyword tracking with older tools isn’t a bad idea either—Google alerts and Topsy might not be interactive or pretty but they are still relevant. They continue to introduce me to new blogs and content.

Monitor the stories, not just keywords and mentions

Many of the tools mentioned here give you real time metrics of engagement but qualitative listening is just as important, if not more so. The stories being shared about our brand or cause are much more meaningful than link sharing. Feedly and Nextly are beautiful platforms to monitor your audience’s qualitative output through RSS feeds. Both tools simplify monitoring and curating content. Their bookmarklets allow you to add to your RSS collection from anywhere on the web. Subscribe to blogs and news sources by your constituents. Learn from them and engage with them. Not many organizations will take the time to do this but the ones that do will establish a trustworthy and appreciated online presence.


Getting started

Monitoring your brand and cause online feels overwhelming, even with tools to help you. But, believe me, if I can do it, you can do it. Start by discovering and subscribing to your favorite blogs. Set up alerts for your brand name (as well as any common misspellings), your name and your categories of your constituents.


Listen to what they say about you and, more importantly, listen to what they say.

Alexandra Axel

Alexandra Axel

Media Director at The Caregiver Space
Alexandra Axel is the media director for The Caregiver Space, a nonprofit with a free online social network that allows caregivers to share their experiences, find critical resources, cope with stress and effectively combat the isolation and exhaustion of providing care for someone they love. Additional to her work at The Caregiver Space, Allie enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, devouring books, biking, crafting, urban agriculture and imperfectly cooking. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her partner and their pup, Hen.
Alexandra Axel
Alexandra Axel