Google Alerts - A Must-Have Tool to Monitor Your Online Brand

Dr. Purushothaman
September 12, 2013

Building a strong brand requires time and commitment as well as ensuring you portray a consistent on-brand message.
Everything you do and say; the people you connect with; the conversations you have - speaks your brand.
Your brand is your reputation. It's what other people think of when your name is mentioned so you should be protecting your brand and reputation at all costs.
I'm sure we all have a story to share where we have heard of people being terminated from their employment, or a business losing customers because of their actions and information being posted online.
We have a classic example of where a well-known actor has continued to tarnish his brand with his unprofessional antics - only to have his very lucrative deal ended, all in the public forum.
While it can take many months (even years sometimes) to build a strong brand message - it can be tarnished (or even destroyed) with just one comment or interaction that reflects negatively on your reputation.
So how are you monitoring the online conversation that is going on about your brand?
One great tool that will allow you to do that is Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is an online monitoring system that provides you with relevant Google results for the specific query, keyword or topic you tell it to monitor.
Here are three key ways you can leverage this tool:
1. Monitor and respond to online conversation about your brand
Each time someone writes about you or your business, you'll be alerted to this online conversation, which you can then respond to.
One of my Social Media Bootcamp graduates - Sharon is in the business of tinting cars and homes. She set up an alert for her business name and continued to receive daily alerts directly to her inbox.
One of the alerts she received was of a satisfied customer who had written a post in a motor vehicle enthusiast groups' forum. The customer had commented how happy she and her husband were with the service they had received and how well the product had been keeping heat out of their car.
Sharon immediately went to the forum and replied that she was thrilled that the client was happy and they were only a phone call away if they needed further support. Sharon also left her contact details beneath the post.
Here was this online conversation about how wonderful Sharon's tinting service was in a forum that had hundreds of her potential customers. And, all of whom now had her contact details should they also want to get their cars tinted.
Pretty awesome, yes?!
2. Monitor and keep current with industry news
If you are looking to build your credibility as an expert, you can use Google Alerts to keep you up-to-date with news and views relevant to your industry.
You can then include this information in one of your articles or blog posts to add data from a reputable source that confirms what you are saying is accurate. This can add to your credibility.
For instance, recently I wrote an article on the difficulties some women faced when pricing their services, tending to undervalue and undercharge.
In fact, not only women business owners but also women in the workforce in general, therefore finding themselves getting paid considerably less than their male colleagues. [This is a topic that I frequently write about and coach clients on, so I am quite familiar with the topic.]
Setting up a Google Alert on this topic I was able to source two different organisations that had had similar findings in their surveys.
So, in my next article I referenced both these sources to confirm that other organisations were also finding the same thing.
This added to my credibility in this area as it confirmed that this was not just something I had said, but was also confirmed through two different sources.
Here's a link to that article so you can see what I mean.
Are there organisations in your industry that you should be monitoring so you can keep current with industry news? Research and once you find a few, set up a Google Alert to keep you informed when they next send out information.
3. Monitor other organisations working in the same industry
Setting up a Google alert to monitor online conversation for keywords and phrases relevant to your field, will also enable you to monitor and build relationships with other key players and organisations in your field.
This is a great strategy to build your brand, your relationships and your credibility - all very important elements when building your business.
As an example, through monitoring for business blogs for women running their own business, I was alerted to the blog BizChickBlogs, run by a dynamic and ambitious entrepreneur - Tia Peterson.
Through reaching out to Tia and building a relationship with her I am now regularly publishing articles on her blog and am also contributing video posts for her One Question Series. My articles and videos are now being shared with a community of like-minded entrepreneurs - my target market.
Remember to be mindful that building the relationship and the connection with people is very important.
When approaching someone, don't bombard him or her with spammy, self-promoting messages.
Extend the hand of friendship by reaching out; see how you can help them; be supportive; share information; and work on the relationship first.
The rest will follow naturally. Remember, people will be far more willing and open to working with you if they know, like and trust you.
So, what do you think? For those of you who aren't using Google Alerts - have I convinced you yet that this IS a tool you should be using?

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