It’s no surprise that social media helps companies get a ton of attention, increase brand awareness, improve visitor traffic, generate leads, convert into sales and add subscribers. What some companies are yet to understand is that the Internet buzz can turn negative to the extent of even ruining businesses. Listening and closely following Internet conversations can often aid timely interventions to deflect possible catastrophic outcomes. However, keeping track of all the different threads of online conversations is a big challenge. Social media monitoring and analytic tools go a long way in helping organizations on this front. At a recent social media roundtable organised by EASTWEST, we found that among dozens of providers, there are not yet seen a satisfactory solution for social media monitoring in China, paid or unpaid. For now, the best solutions in China remain manual mapping of online conversations using free tools such as Google blog search, Yahoo or locally dominant sites such as Baidu, Sogou, and Qihu. We have gathered the best free social media search tools for easy reference. Qihu.com: Social networking sites and microblogging sites are popular; no doubt. But, online BBS forums are still the place where most online conversations take place in China. Qihu.com does a good job of monitoring online BBS forums and blogs according to the specified keyword, which is based on data from 1.1 million Chinese online BBS forums and all Chinese blogging sites. Youdao.com: It is a search engine released by Chinese internet giant, NetEase. It lets users search for web pages, images, news, music, blogs, and more. Youdao recently launches real-time search updates to track what is happening around the Web- for example, microblog updates, news content, and Web pages. However, at the moment, Youdao cannot aggregate tweet-like updates across different microblogging sites. It only tracks updates from NetEase microblog. Google updates: Google real-time search now shows updates in Chinese language from facebook, twitter, and web pages. Baidu Index: Baidu Index is a similar product to Google Trends for brands, which is based on Baidu’s webpage and news search data. It provides statistics such as ‘keywords search volume’, ‘users attention volume’, ‘media attention volume and statistics categorized by cities, regions and demographics. It also allows users to choose the timeframe of one month, one quarter, half a year and a year to monitor and compare up to three keywords in Baidu Index.