I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for Yahoo, not only are they seen by most people as a bit of a joke, largely the stick is unwarranted. They’ve got some great little products and services, two of which I use to this great little way of keeping tracking of easy social media interaction opportunities.
The main service is Yahoo Answers, its a hugely popular social site where users ask and answer questions. If you’ve not checked Yahoo Answers recently, go over now and have a look, there will be dozens of people asking questions related to your industry – no matter how obscure or niche it is.
The nightmare though is having to revisit the site everyday to see whether there’s anything new or relevant. Fortunately the main categories have RSS feeds so you could set up the feed in your RSS reader to keep track of the mentions in your chosen category, but your a busy digital marketer, you don’t have time to check through every question asked on the site. That’s where Yahoo Pipes comes in.
If you’ve never heard of Yahoo Pipes don’t worry, nobody has. It’s simple tool which allows you to do some very simple filtering and sorting of web data like RSS feeds. It can do some pretty clever tricks but what we want it to do is really simple. Take a feed from Answers, search for any questions that contain your keywords, discard those without and deliver those that do into a new RSS stream.
Start by dragging and dropping the a fetch feed icon from the side bar into the main screen. This will then create a box with a text field. Cut and paste the feed url from your most relevant category in Yahoo Answers. If more than one category is applicable click the addition/plus symbol and it’ll add a new text field for another category.
Next click the Operators expanding button in the side bar, find the filter button and drag and drop it between the Fetch Feed Box and Feed Output. It’ll have a text field you can type the word or phrases you want to monitor for. The drop down fields give you flexibility whether you want to look just in the Question Title and/or description Etc.
You can add more than one keyword by clicking the plus symbol, it gets quite clever now as well, you could filter questions that include SEO and PPC or you could set it up for questions that include SEO or PPC. It’s pretty self explanatory when it’s in front of you.
Now you need to connect the feed to the filter and from the filter to the out put. Click the circle and the bottom of the feed fetcher and drag it to the start of the filter, then do the same from the filter to the output. It should look something like the picture below.
Nearly there now, just save the pipe and hit the ‘Run this Pipe’ button. This will take you to a page where you can subscribe to this new feed. But I’m too lazy/busy to check my feedreader daily, so I take it a step further and use FeedMyInbox to take the feed address and email me whenever there is a suitable question.
Clever time saving trick which with a little tweaking you can use on dozens of social sites with RSS feeds. Do you monitor any social sites like this? Any tips to save time checking back for opportunities?