Using Google To Join In The Conversation

Fort Wayne Web Design Alert Icon

Keeping track of your brand can be a difficult task.  With all these on-line, social conversations happening it can be difficult to really know what is being said about you, your company, your products, etc.  But knowing what is being said about you, your business, your key markets is CRITICAL. As I’ve said before, if you don’t know about these conversations, you can’t join in the conversations.  And, I guarantee, conversations are happening.  The only question is – are you going to participate.

So, if we agree that there are conversations happening online (blog posts, product reviews, twitter posts, facebook comments, youTube videos, etc.), the question is “how do I find out about these conversations and join in”?

Well, that a great question and there are a lot of good answers.  In a previous post (Two Simple Business Uses For Twitter) I described one method – using the Advanced Twitter Search based on location.  This is a great way to find people who are twittering about you or a topic of interest within a certain distance from you (i.e.  anyone talking about “antiques” within a 50 mile radius).  But, what if you want to join in on conversations happening on other mediums?  What if you want to know about blog posts, web site updates, facebook posts, etc.?

The answer now is Google Alerts!  Google Alerts are a great way to get regular updates any time Google finds a web page with your search term.  Using Google Alerts, you could get an e-mail every time Google finds a new web page that mentions the search term you chosen.  You can choose to get e-mails immediately, and daily or weekly digests (summaries).  You can also choose to have the results delivered to an RSS feed – my personal favorite.  Assuming you choose instant e-mail notifications, you would receive an e-mail every time Google finds a new article, blog, video, image, etc. that contains your search term.  What an awesome way to join in the conversation and help to control your brand.

Here’s the basics of how Google Alerts work:

  1. Visit www.google.com/alerts and create your Google alert.  The main screen (once you are logged in – you will have to have a Google account) looks like this:
    Google Alerts Home Page - Make New Google AlertSimply type in your search terms, select a type (for instance – if you only want to get results from blogs, etc.), select How often, and select where to deliver the information to (you can choose RSS later)
  2. After you click “CREATE ALERT” you’ll be in the manage screen.  It looks like this:
    Manage Google Alerts You can see from this screen shot that I had two Google Alerts set up – both being delivered to an RSS Feed, updated immediately (as-it-happens).  So, any time the words EH Design (my company) or Eric Hall (my name) appears in a new page in Google, the RSS Feed will get updated.  I’ll know immediately whenever sometime is talking about these terms.  Since this time, I’ve added a couple more Google Alerts – basically centered on my around some of my key SEO terms – Fort Wayne Web Design, Fort Wayne E-Commerce, etc.

    Here’s what the RSS feed looks like in my browsers (I’m running Apple Safari – so Internet Explorer would look a little different):
    Google Alerts RSS Feed - Safari

  3. My final step is to Monitor my RSS Feeds in a convenient RSS Feed Reader.  Since I use an Apple, I monitor my RSS Feeds in my E-Mail program (called, Mail).  So, just as I would go to Mail to view any no e-mail message, so I go to mail to check if there is a new e-mail message, I also see if there are any new Google Alerts.  Here’s what it looks like in my Mail program:

Google Alerts in Mail Program
Google Alerts – a great way to keep up to date with your own brand, product, search terms.

Want to know more? Have other ideas about? Leave a comment and share your thought. Or, contact EH Design & Consulting today, and we can talk about all the ways Social Media can help your business!

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