When people are talking about your company online, whether good or bad, you should know about it. And the great thing is that on today’s web, you can!
The Web 2.0 phenomenon is all about the conversation happening online. People are talking out there and you can listen! Some companies still fear this! They are terrified that if they begin to engage in social media (Twitter / Facebook / Blogging / etc) that someone will say something bad about them. Well let me tell you, people are going to talk about your company whether you like it or not, you might as well be there to help the conversation along in a positive way! So let’s talk about how you can quickly hear what people are saying online about your company (or any subject you are interested in) which gives you the chance to respond if desired.
1) Google Alerts! This is the big dog! You should have Google alerts ready to alert you anytime someone mentions your company’s name. It’s super easy to set up. Just go to Google.com/alerts
You can type in whatever terms you would like to track in the ‘search terms’ box. Remember to use quotes if you want to only be alerted to a specific phrase. More on that below.
Next, select the type of search. I usually just go with everything but you can limit your search to just blogs or just video sites.
The next option is to choose how often you receive your alerts. For my company name, MusikPitch, I want alerts “as-it-happens” so I can immediately know when my company is being discussed. For other subjects I track, such as “need a songwriter,” I get alerts only once-a-day. I have to specify “need a songwriter” within quotations or my alerts will contain all the results using those three words even if they aren’t in order. You can always test your alerts as they are so easy to create and edit. Use the most basic ones first and if you are getting overwhelmed, get more specific.
I also usually set my alerts to the max of 50 per email. My terms are so specific that I rarely get close to this number. I’m guessing for weekly results emails (as opposed to per-day or as-it-happens) this limit may be more important. If you are getting more than 50 results per search then your company name is either Justin Bieber or your terms aren’t specific enough.
The final selection is to receive the alerts via email (which is how I like to get my results) or via your RSS reader. More on RSS readers below.
Search Twitter – This was the original Twitter search engine that was later incorporated into the Twitter website itself. You can type in your company’s name and see who is talking about you on Twitter.
I’ve typed in MusikPitch in the example. I can see my most recent tweet and also a tweet from a Japaneese blogger talking about MusikPitch. I have the option to translate this tweet which I did earlier. You can also select the orange RSS feed button to feed results directly into your reader.
TweetDeck – Going to Search.Twitter.com all the time or checking your reader all the time may be a pain for some. It would be better to just be alerted right away but Google alerts doesn’t cover tweets that well. You could use a service called Twilert, which feeds tweet searches into your email just like Google Alerts. If you want a really fast option though, check out TweetDeck. TweetDeck is desktop software (you have to download and install it on your computer) but it is free! It is also pretty amazing stuff! You can type in your company’s name as a search term and TweetDeck will alert you with a little chirp everytime someone mentions your company. I’ve noticed TweetDeck gives me faster results than Google Alerts because as soon as someone tweets something about MusikPitch, I see a little chirpbox pop-up to alert me. TweetDeck can monitor multiple types of accounts, each in a different column. To the right is my MusikPitch search column. I also have colmuns for my Facebook newsfeed, LinkedIn newsfeed, my Twitter account, and a bunch of search terms I like to monitor on Twitter such as “need custom music.”
HootSuite is similar to TweetDeck but I don’t use it. I find that people are either TweetDeck people or HootSuite people. There are arguments back and forth about which one is better. I know how to use TweetDeck though so I stick with that one – although HootSuite sends me emails and seems to be adding some pretty cool new options. I may have to check it out soon.
RSS Readers are great ways to get lots of information in an easy to read format. There are many RSS readers out there to choose from but I just stick with my Google Reader. I’m already using so many Google products and it’s nice when everything works well together.
As I mentioned above, many of the alert systems can generate feeds directly into your reader, giving you a simple place to see all the conversations about your company occuring online. I have SO MANY feeds though because I enjoy many subjects talked about on many different blogs, I may miss mentions of my company if they are only going into my reader. I’d rather have them go into my email where I know I won’t miss them. And I like to see them right away so I use TweetDeck as well.
Don’t think you are limited to just tracking mentions of your company name though. These services allow you to track any mentions of anything. So you should probably add your full name to some of these alerts as well. You should also add any keywords that you are targeting or are interested in learning more about. For example, you notice I track mentions of “need a songwriter” online so I can engage in conversations with people who need a songwriter. If I see that they may benefit from using MusikPitch, I will mention it. I also like to learn as much as possible and keep tabs on music supervisors. So I have some alerts set up for that term which keeps me up-to-date on what’s happening in the music supervisor world. There is so much information and conversation being added to the web daily and these systems will help you filter out just what is important to you. You should get started by setting up your alerts today!
Did I miss anything? Is there a service that you are having success using? Let us know in the comments….