This is a sample question from Sarah in Cape Town.


How can I keep track of what is being said about my NGO on social media, especially Facebook & Twitter?

JonathanStoneman100x100This is a sample answer from Jonathan in London.

Let me show you some very simple techniques to do just this.


Let’s start with Twitter. You will, of course, already be following your NGO using its Twitter handle, and you will therefore get tweets sent out by your NGO, as well as by anyone mentioning that name.

You can adjust your settings to send you alerts for all mentions – this is typically to your phone or email account. This saves you the trouble of checking Twitter all the time.


But you may also need to keep a look out for hashtags connected with your NGO and the country or countries it works in. If you are using a PC rather than a tablet or smartphone to monitor Twitter, we highly recommend using Tweetdeck ( – accessed via a browser you just create a new account using your Twitter login credentials).


Tweetdeck allows you to keep a column open for each search or hashtag, so rather than a general stream of everything you follow on Twitter, you see a stream specific to that hashtag, or search.

You should also consider lists – every Twitter user has the option of putting the people they follow into a list; say, one list for their contacts in one country, another for another country, another for a certain interest, and so on. To get to the menu, click on the profile – to see this:


Every account has this menu; so you can use other people’s lists. For example – find a follower of your NGO’s account, and click on the profile. Look at the lists they are “subscribed to” and if you see a useful one, you can subscribe to it yourself – it’s like following several people with one click. (Beware – if you follow someone else’s list and they change the list, or delete it, you will get those changes too, so if there are interesting people on a list, it’s worth following them yourself rather than relying on the list’s owner to keep it that way!

In the Tweetdeck screenshot, you can see I am watching some hashtags #OpenData and #openjournalism, and two lists – both with the same name – one set up by me, and one by someone I follow.


In a way, Facebook is much simpler. You can search for the name of the NGO’s you are interested in.


Facebook’s built in search is really intended to find users by name. If you want a “richer” search result it’s worth using Google to search Facebook for you. You need to type

(this limits the search to Facebook only) and then add the terms you want to add – you can use names or people or organisations, of course, but you may also want to use phrases you know people are going to use, such as “NGO helped me” or “NGO saved me”. (Put the phrase in quotation marks so Google looks for all those words together: the same applies to names – “Jean Martin” finds those two names together, not each one where they occur separately)

If you do this kind of search, make sure you are already logged into Facebook, otherwise clicking on the link will not work.