It’s always nice to see someone tweet a link to a blog post that you’ve written. It’s even nicer when you see that they’ve customised their message with some kind words.
By keeping an eye on what they’re saying, you can often find some worthy people to network with – they’re often in a similar industry with similar opinions. Of course, there’s always the flip-side, in that you may see some negative tweets about your blog post. Perhaps you’ve made an error, or someone simply disagrees with you.
There are a few ways to see what people are saying about your blog posts. Some are better than others:
Add a ‘via @twitterhandle’ message to your tweet button
Twitter’s official ‘Tweet’ button (and many buttons found in WordPress plugins) have a few options that allow you to customise the button’s function, as well as the actual tweet that will be posted unless the user customises the message. Visit the Twitter resources page to create and customise your button.
As well as a nifty option to add a pre-set hashtag to the tweet, you can also add ‘via’ and ‘recommend’ Twitter handles.
By adding your Twitter profile to the ‘via’ field, you’ll receive a notification within Twitter when someone tweets your article… but only when a) they use the button itself, and b) they don’t modify the tweet to remove your Twitter handle.
To demonstrate this, I’ve created the below buttons with customised tweet text, a hashtag, and my Twitter profile in both the ‘via’ and ‘recommend’ fields. I believe the recommend option shows your account as a ‘Suggested people to follow’ once the tweet has been posted, as shown in this article.
So while this may be a good way to receive a notification when someone tweets your blog post, it’s not perfect as many people will either create their own Twitter update or remove your Twitter profile from their tweet.
Use Twitter’s search tool to monitor links to your site
This one’s a bit more fool-proof. It’s as simple as putting your website address into the search box on Twitter.com. Twitter will show you all public posts that include a link to your blog (and it doesn’t matter if the link text is hidden using Twitter’s link shortening service).
As a shortcut, you can copy the below into your web browser, and just swap ‘marklincoln.co.nz’ with your own website’s domain name:
The beauty of this is that you can use the advanced search tool to filter the results, e.g. tweets within a certain date range, tweets in a particular region, and tweets that are negative, positive or a question.
Use a third party tool to receive notifications when someone tweets your content
This last one provides the best of both worlds – all posts that include a link to your website AND a notification when someone posts a link.
Twitter used to provide an RSS feed for searches so that you could simply add your pre-made search to an RSS reader. However, now that Twitter has removed this function, the only alternative is to use a third party tool. This is where Topsy comes in handy.
With Topsy, you can perform a search for site:marklincoln.co.nz to view all posts that link to a particular website. If you also log in via your Twitter account, you can interact with those tweets.
So far this is just like using a Twitter search, but Topsy adds a few key features that take the search functions to the next level. One of those is to receive email notifications. Once you’ve created the search, hit the cog icon to the right of the search box and select the email alert option (you can change the email address used by clicking on your username in the bottom-right corner and then ‘Topsy Alert Settings’.
Now all that’s left is to observe the conversations about your post, in a lurking, stalkerish, and slightly narcissistic kind of way.