Social ‘Buzz’, or user-generated content, contains valuable data, so keeping tabs on buzz about your brand is critical. Even if your company is not directly involved in social media, your customers most likely are, and their conversations about your brand could be affecting your bottom line. Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets provide a direct line of communication between your brand and consumers. This channel should be treated with as much care as any other form of feedback from customers; just like live chat or direct phone support.

If people have something to say, and a place to say it, they’re going to. Like it or not, your buzz is your brand.

So what can you do about it?

In my previous post, Are You Monitoring Your Brand Buzz?, I offered some bullets on what kind of activity your customers are engaged in. Now, I will cover what kinds of tools you can use to monitor this activity.

According to a 2010 Social Networking in the Enterprise Survey conducted by InformationWeek Analytics, most business technology professionals said their companies are relying on relatively low-tech solutions to monitor online conversations: 56% used search alerts from Google, Bing or similar services; other tools were less common, with only16% of companies using an outside vendor; and 15% used a specialty application from companies such as Radian6 or Scout Labs.

If you’re not tracking buzz, now is the time to start. Look into the term ‘social media monitoring tool’ and see what you come up with. Also, watch this space for some very big announcements on this very subject.