So you finally have that budget you’ve been trying to acquire to build out your social media marketing team. You’ve done your research and picked out your social listening product (such as MutualMind), and now you have to come up with the correct keywords. This can be a difficult task in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become second nature. First, you’ll want to think of the brand you’re listening for. Understand all the ways people might talk about that brand. If they’re on Twitter, will they use a hashtag? possibly yes. Will they use the brand’s Twitter handle? If they have one, then most likely, yes! You’ll want to use these variations when setting up your keywords.

I suggest creating one larger, advanced keyword for all the variations to make it easier on yourself when doing comparisons during your analysis.

First step, determine who is your client? Do they have a unique, one-of-a-kind name like “Wal-Mart” or is your client someone such as Target corporation in which your keyword setup is going to need to be more advanced? “Wal-Mart” can stand-alone as a keyword because when someone mentions it, they are definitely talking about the store. On the other hand, when someone mentions Target, they could be talking about goals or shopping or even archery. Pulling all mentions of Target, including those that are not relevant to your research, will cause you a lot of additional work and possibly cost you a lot of extra money. To prevent this, you can use the Boolean operator “AND” to be sure you only pull mentions of Target AND shopping. I would also recommend words such as: stores OR shop OR clothes

To help expand the listening so you pull as many mentions as possible while keeping them on topic. This technique means that you won’t pull every mention of Target, even the relevant ones like, “I love Target”, but the quality of data will be much better. To expand your search, you’ll want to include more “OR” statements, while using more “AND” or “NOT” operators will narrow your search.

Here’s one example on how MutualMind software helps you craft the right keyword query. Note the color-coded syntax validator and the graphical tree-based interface to help you understand and visualize the query. This is one of the most favorite features in MutualMind.


Creating high quality keywords is essential to any social listening campaign setup. The analytics you gather will not be as effective if the data is cluttered with irrelevant content. You must get in the head of the consumer and understand how they may refer to your brand, so you can then understand what your brand means to him.

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