Monitoring your brand online

Track the open web with Google Alerts

One way to ensure you are aware of mentions of you or your brand is to set up a Google Alert.

This tool has been around for some time, but many are still yet to adopt it, or leverage it correctly.

Visit Google alerts and you can use Google to monitor for news about your brand or industry. To ensure the results are relevant enter your search term  (the brand name or industry terms you’d like to see information for) and click show options.

You can select how often you whish to receive the alerts, “as-it-happens” or  a weekly digest. I find the as-it-happens setting ideal for responding to mentions in the news and gives me a chance to respond with immediacy, thanking the author for the mention.

From there you can choose “only the best results” and limit the country results to your country of interest. This is helpful for neighborhoods that take their name from the United Kingdom or other locations in the old world. There are a number of areas called Canterbury around the world, for example.

Build your brand and interact with your industry

One novel ways to use Google Alerts is for mentions of key themes that you wish to create content around, or be considered a thought leader for.

I have filters set up to monitor for specific exact terms that I use to inform me of movements in the industry . You could do the same, for example to monitor the green construction industry, with a search like: “SIPS” or “passive house” or “Blower door” or “airtight construction” .

Limit the results to your country and you will very quickly find those that are outspoken online in the industry and potentially the local online influencers. Cross referencing their social media profiles with a tool like Klout and you can have a basic understanding of their influence online, or at least you will know if many people find the content they share relevant.

You can then effectively surround yourself with online experts, build your knowledge and inform yourself to create interesting content that we know resonates with the industry.

A video introduction to Google Alerts

A few other searches you could try are:

  • competitor’s brand mentions – keep an eye on their activities
  • legislative terms for your industry – be the first to comment on a law change
  • misspelt brand terms – this is handy if you have a brand that’s hard to spell
  • negative industry terms – just to keep an eye on potential acquisition opportunities
  • unhappy customer terms – you can then use social selling techniques to introduce your brand
  • some fun terms to receive jokes or fun videos clips on a Friday.

Monitoring blog mentions and Twitter

Google may not catch all mentions of your brand and obviously doesn’t index closed social network posts or dark social media (Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Wechat for example).

Socialmention.com is a great free tool that provides a pretty accurate record of blog and Twitter mentions. They have a daily email alert service that you can subscribe to,or an RSS  feed that you can use to monitor your mentions.

Socialmention also provides some breakdown of popular hashtags associated with the posts and a register of the top profiles that have mentioned the term by frequency.

Again you could leverage this for industry insights and share relevant content with your audience.

Hopefully these tools can improve your interactions with customers and industry peers. I’d love to hear of any other tools people have used successfully.

Rich Snippets and Open Source Architecture

Theres two topics for today’s post, and both on very different streams. The first, rich snippets, is the ability to tell search engines to display text and images, that you provide, in the manner you want, on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Hubspot wrote a great article on snippets earlier in the week. The article is robust and covers so I won’t go into too much detail. But in case you aren’t aware there are snippets that allow you to provide structured detail for:

  • Authors
  • businesses,
  • music,
  • videos,
  • products,
  • recipes
  • and events.

With my blog hosted on WordPress, I will need to explore how far I can take snippets, but Twitter does already recognise the first image and paragraphs of my post, displaying them in stream much like Facebook. Which is a reasonable first step.

Two benefits I can see from ensuring your snippets are in place and working are:

  1. You really get a chance to optimise and enhance your calls to action and distinguish your result. I for one would be more inclined to click on a well formatted link, even if it was mid way down the results page.
  2. You also get the chance to start feeding through your brand, corporate palatte and tie this to your site. Consistency between the author image in the SERPs, and tone of voice can’t help but improve the users experience.

Priory park. #nofilter #spring

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

The second edition of Sunday Session was recorded at Priory Park today. I shade from the wind beside the lake, looking across at the pavilion, a feature piece of modern architecture in Reigate.

Which vaguely leads me to the second topic today. UNStudio architects in the Netherlands have said in June they will re-form as an open source architecture studio.

Here’s the tweet which proved popular – perhaps as it is an innovative step for an industry that is still, like many, tightly holding onto IP and what they believe to be competitive advantage through knowledge.

I think this could be an exciting move for the studio, as they vow to make as much as possible of their processes and architecture open to the public and other architects.

It’s not too dissimilar to content marketing and sharing how to, or instructive guides like Hubspot has above. When UNStudio release what would be mainstream architecture fundamentals (say the design of a 3 bed townhouse) it frees them up to focus on innovation and differentiation. Rather than redrafting the same things constantly, to add a flurry at the end.

What’s more, unable to find a structure within their industry that they felt could innovate fast enough, they have looked to the startup scene and the likes of Square, Xero and Twitter. Tech companies using Agile project management.

While the process may not be truly agile they are letting the teams self select and focus in their strength among four topics in the new open source platform: sustainability, organisation, materials and parametrics.

It is definitely one I’ll be watching this year, and that I hope succeeds.

Listen along…