And not just me, either.
No doubt there are several bloggers and other commentators discussing you, your website and your services out there. Probably more of us if you deal with the retail customer, but nevertheless there are both positive and negative comments available for everyone to see.
I expect you know that if you search on ‘landrover discovery’ the number two site is a blog maintained by a disgruntled (ex-)customer of Landrover, and that there are several anti-Tesco blogs, blogs complaining about telecoms companies, oil companies …
But these companies are not alone. What are people saying about you?
Clever companies monitor what the groundswell of opinion is out there. There are well-established companies that will monitor your reputation for you (such as Cyveillance), but if you just want to test the water, and have a go yourself, one of the easiest ways to do this is to set up a few Google Alerts.
How to set up Google Alerts
1. Visit the Google alerts page. You don’t need a Google account, but if you have one, you’ll be able to make changes later.
2. Put in the search term you’d like Google to monitor. You can create multiple alerts, so don’t put in all your search terms at once, because that will narrow your results. Suggestions for which terms to monitor include: your company name, product names and your own name – but also more general terms. For instance, if you manufacture blue widgets for theatres, under the product name BlueWidget, put in “blue widgets”, “widgets” and “theatre widgets” as well as “bluewidget” – but do create more than one alert for these.
3. Tell Google whether you just want to know if these terms come up in news items, or blogs, videos … or everything.
4. Tell Google how often you’d like to receive the alerts – and which email address to send them to.
5. That’s it. Click on Create Alert. You’ll receive a validation email, to confirm that it is your email and you do want to receive these alerts (an anti-spam measure).
6. Make another alert, until you’ve used up all the search terms you’re interested in. You may need to fine-tune your search terms later – if you’ve chosen ‘supermarket’ as a search term, you’ll be inundated with alerts on people blogging about their toddler’s tantrum in the shampoo aisle. Possibly not relevant if you want to find out what people are saying about Asda.
But what now?
You’ll receive emails listing the places your search term has come up – and then you can follow up to see if you need to take action.
This will of course take time, and you’d probably do well to assign someone to do this monitoring task on a regular basis, as part of their job. You can outsource the job too …
And once you know who is discussing you and your corporate activities – what next?
It will of course depend on what is being said, and what subjects are being covered. Reaction might range from ‘do nothing’ to ‘get the lawyers in’. But somewhere in the middle is the response that treats bloggers and other commentators as you do the financial analysts – a group to be identified and monitored, but also a group to communicate with – and to listen to.
Here’s an example: I mentioned the new Fresh Living widget on Friday … and this morning (Monday) had an email from their Press Office in response.
Now that is smart.