Todd Hoskins Reviews Tools for Business
Todd Hoskins chooses and uses tools and products that could belong in an entrepreneurial business toolkit. He’ll be checking out how useful they are to folks who would be their customers in a form that’s consistent and relevant.
Cool Tool Review: Google Alerts
A Review by Todd Hoskins
Do you know the people, posts, and sites that are influencing your brand and industry?
Are you engaging in the most relevant conversations?
With the advent of the real-time web, you no longer need to wait a few days or even a week to learn that you’ve been praised or defamed on some obscure site. Alerts represent an early advancement from search-based tools to discovery on the web. Alerts is rather infantile in this sense – you have to tell Google exactly what you’re looking for. So, the key is determining:
What’s important to YOU and YOUR business?
Here’s a simple way to think about what alerts you should create:
The first alert someone sets up (other than their own name), is usually your company. Make sure to also add alerts for competitors. Google lets you determine the frequency at which you get alerts. So, for a primary competitor, you may want immediate alerts. For others, daily or weekly may be fine. As the notifications are sent to your inbox or reader, you want to manage how much volume you get on an ongoing basis.
For the people category, monitoring executives, analysts, and industry luminaries allows you to stay up to date on what is being said about whom. Whether or not you choose to set up alerts for your employees is up to you. I would question anyone who spends a good portion of their week monitoring what their people are saying. If alerts are set up for the other three categories, you should get any post that is relevant without playing big brother to your employees.
Products is a no-brainer. My only caution here is, if you are setting up alerts for more than a dozen products, you may want to consider a social media monitoring solution. Nathan Gilliat watches the industry closely. There is value in getting the additional analysis and tracking, but you pay for what you get.
Finally, the category that most people miss: issues. Too many companies are jumping into blog and Twitter conversations only when their company is mentioned. Consider the values, objectives, and challenges your company is pursuing and facing. Listening and participating in conversations about “financial transparency,” “deregulation,” “surfing,” or “single payer health insurance” will both enliven your content creation and allow you to highlight what is important to you as an individual or a company.
Setting up Google Alerts takes less than five minutes. But thinking about the keywords and themes you want to monitor should be an ongoing process.
Summing Up â Is it worth it?
Enterprise Value: 2/5 â more sophisticated tools with graphs, charts, and sentiment analysis exist for a cost
Entrepreneur Value: 5/5 â if you know of a more simple way to quickly get the info you need, please let me know
Personal Value: 4/5 â tracking your favorite band, athlete, or ex-boyfriend provides some balance to the more professional alerts