I saw a great piece of advice on louisgray.com that I wanted to pass along.

When I talk to brand managers about social media, I recommend three clear steps:

  • Understand
  • Observe
  • Act

They need to understand that your brand is at the mercy of its constituents. And you need to be using monitoring tools to rapidly discover and act upon how it is being used or mentioned – no matter what day it is.

Some basics to get started:

Twitter Search – to see realtime mentions of your brand or keywords.

TweetBeep – sending alerts of keywords or your brand to e-mail.

BackType Alerts – to see whenever your brand is mentioned in comments around the Web.

Google News search – alerts to e-mail for your brand.

Google Blog search – alerts to e-mail for your brand in blogs.