Become an AllBusiness Expert! Apply
social media concept

When I speak, I’m always shocked at how few people use free online monitoring alerts, such as Google or Talkwalker Alerts. It’s one of the questions I always ask, “How many of you monitor the online conversations about yourself or your organization?” Typically, less than 10 percent of the audience raises their hands.

Less than 10 percent.

This is such an important tool. And it’s free. Every single person in the entire world should have alerts.

Even if you aren’t using the web for business growth or using social media tools, monitoring online conversations to understand what is (and isn’t) being said will make you better at your job. It gives you intelligence you just wouldn’t otherwise have.

What if someone is praising your company or one of your colleagues online? Don’t you want to know that? What if they have something negative to say? Wouldn’t you rather know so you can do something about it instead of letting it sit out there and fester?

Set Up Your Online Monitoring

The rumor is Google is going to sunset alerts, so I recommend – if you aren’t already using Google – to bypass it and go straight to Talkwalker. If, however, you already have Google set up and want to add to it, you can do that now or you can transfer everything over to Talkwalker before you have to do it and are in a rush.

Setting up alerts is very, very easy.

  1. Go to the Google or Talkwalker Alerts home pages. If you’re using Google and you’re not signed into your  account, you’ll need to do that first.
  2. Enter the type. I recommend “everything” because it will monitor every conversation on the web for you.
  3. Click how often you want to receive the alerts. I recommend just once a day so your inbox isn’t overflowing.
  4. Enter your email address.
  5. Before you click “create alert,” go back to the top and enter your search term in the search bar. You can click “preview results” to see what types of information you’ll receive so you know if you need to modify your terms.

What Should I Monitor?

Don’t know what to search? Following are 11 different ideas:

  1. Your name
  2. The company name (you can even do company name + city to filter the results).
  3. Your competitors.
  4. Your industry.
  5. Top producers who work for your competitors.
  6. Your colleagues, peers, or employees.
  7. The company name plus the word “sucks”; you’d be surprised at how many people will write something to that effect that you’ll want to see.
  8. Any common misspellings or abbreviations of your name or company name.
  9. Services or products you offer.
  10. Local organizations you support.
  11. Industry organizations.

You don’t need to do all 11, but I definitely recommend the first three.

You’ll receive one email for every search term, including a couple of sentences and a link so you can easily scan them and move on.

This is the easiest and most effective option for monitoring the Web and making yourself smart about what’s happening in the world outside of your office.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.