Listening to real time conversations for opportunities, leads, and reputation management is now a standard marketing item on the to-do list.

While there are services such asRadian6Trackur and Jive Software (Filtrbox) that provide this kind of tracking for a fee, there are a number of tools that any do-it-yourselfer can employ to capture much of what’s being said about their brands, people, products, and industries in real time:

1.  Google Alerts

This one is certainly not new, but I still find people who don’t tap into it. Google Alerts allows you to set up as many custom searches as you like and have Google alert you via email or RSS when any mentions of those search terms hits their radar. Not 100 percent foolproof, but very good.

2.  Google Reader
Google Reader is an RSS reader, which means you can use it to subscribe, capture, read and display anything that produces an RSS feed. Most people use it to sort and read blogs, but anything with an RSS feed will show up here, so you can filter a great deal of content, including tags in bookmarking sites such as Delicious. Every customer and competitor blog feed should be in here.

3.  MyReviews Page

Rating and review sites such as Google Places and Yelp have become essential marketing tools. Monitoring reviews is a big part of managing and building reputation on these sites. MyReviewsPage alerts you when a new review shows up on many of the more popular review sites.

4.  Backtype
Backtype primarily focuses on blog comment streams and is a handy way to track this important content source.

5.  Boardreader
Bulletin boards and forums have lost a lot of their buzz due to social networking sites, but many industries still have very strong and active ones. Boardreader is your alert tool for the most popular bulletin board and forum sites.

6.  Social Mention
Social Mention is a real time search engine and important part of the mix because it not only catches things that others miss, it offers a wide variety of content types such as images, video and audio mentions, as well as giving some data about the influence and sentiment of the mentions.

7.  Netvibes
Netvibes isn’t a tracking or listening tool, but it’s a nice way to manage viewing all of the data you collect. Netvibes allows you to create a custom dashboard of RSS feeds and other elements and can be a great way for you to bring all of the content created by the tools above into one handy viewing station.

Source: Open Forum