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Gini Dietrich

How-To: Use Google Alerts

By: Gini Dietrich | January 11, 2010 | 
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Yesterday I spoke to the WIN Home Inspection franchisees at their annual conference. As is typical, I had a few people tell me before the session began that social media is for their kids and they just don’t get it. One partner even told me that I had better have enough energy to keep him awake because he was really tired and, besides, he has kids at home that do this Facebook thing so he doesn’t see the need for his business.

You know comments like that just get me fired up and I picked on him a good bit during the workshop. I love taking the cynicism and fear of a room and turning it into motivation and excitement. And that’s precisely what happened.

But that’s not the point of this post. The point is that some great ideas came out of our three hour workshop and I want to relay them to you here.

They were sitting at tables of 10 so, after the intro on social media, I had them work to come up with terms they could use for Google alerts.

I know, I know. Everyone has Google alerts, right? Um. No. They don’t. It’s step one in listening, which is the foundation to a great social media program, so we always start there…in understanding why they’re important and what to search in order to make yourself most efficient at listening to the online chatter.

Some of their ideas included:

  1. Their name.
  2. The company name plus the city in which they live.
  3. Top producers in their city (I especially love this one because they work with real estate agents and this is a great way to target new prospects).
  4. Local competitors.
  5. The company name plus the word “sucks” (I’m reading “What Would Google Do” and Jeff Jarvis suggests all of us should be searching for our companies with the word “sucks” in it; i.e. Arment Dietrich sucks. No, there’s nothing in that search, but believe me, it’s an alert I have set up!).
  6. Services they offer.
  7. Local organizations they either currently support or want to support.
  8. The names of the people at their competitor’s offices, not just the company names.
  9. How-to or advice on keeping your home up-to-par so it’s ready for an inspection when you sell it.
  10. Products that typically fail in homes.
  11. Companies that sell products that typically fail in homes.
  12. Industry organizations.
  13. State regulations around home inspections.

Though some of these ideas are specific to their industry, they can be tailored to use for any company.

Be honest. Do you have Google alerts set up? Are they this detailed? What would you add to the list?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

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