I wanted to share with you a few tools I've come across in the past few weeks that might help you out as well. Over at MackCollier.com I recently did a review of Monitter. Monitter is great for local/retail businesses because it lets you do location-based searches on Twitter! Instead of just monitoring Twitter for relevant terms, think of adding the additional layer of only finding people that are tweeting about those terms, but in a specific zip code! Great way to identify potential customers for a small, local business!
Another tool that looks interesting is a blog platform created by Compendium Blogware, that Stephan Spencer did a nice write up on. It seems that this platform would work great for a large company, possibly one with franchise locations across the country, by pulling posts from multiple locations and resorting them under a common theme. For example, if Tom blogs at his McDonalds' location in St. Louis about a particular product on the menu, McDonalds could also automatically put his post onto a blog that would collect all the posts from all the franchisees about that particular product. This is also a great way to bring together information from many blogs and collect it in one place that can easily be accessed. Thanks to Amy for sharing this post with me.
Finally, if you are an avid Twitter user, and constantly sharing links, you may want to give URL-shortening service Bit.ly a spin. Bit.ly will automatically shorten links for you, but it also tracks how many clicks those links are getting. It will also show you total clicks from YOUR link, versus total clicks from everyone that's shared that link. Bit.ly functionality is built into Tweetdeck, and can be used as your shortener of choice. I'm sure Seesmic offers it as well.
BTW on an unrelated note, on Monday I launched a new survey on social media! This survey is designed to give us a better view of what tools companies are using, what their social media budgets are, what concerns they have about social media, and other areas. If you can help me my filling out the survey (it only takes 2 mins, REALLY!), I'll give you a copy of a PDF I created just for respondents, a paper entitled A Blueprint for Handling Negative Comments. This paper walks you through some examples of negative comments you might encounter both on and OFF your blog, and how to respond appropriately. You'll be given the link to download the paper after you complete the survey. As a bonus, everyone that completes the survey will have first look at the key findings, and I'll probably email everyone about this early next week (the survey closes at midnight this coming Sunday).
If you can, please help me out by completing the 10-question multiple-choice question survey here. Thanks!