How to Use Boolean Search to Improve Brand Monitoring

Searching online mentions can sometimes seem to be a daunting task! Companies subscribe to different brand monitoring tools.

Searching online mentions can sometimes seem to be a daunting task! Companies subscribe to different brand monitoring tools. While doing so, they hope they will be able to monitor their brand effectively. Unfortunately, many companies will miss a handful of high-value mentions simply because the tool uses poor search strategies. Even worse, they are swamped in irrelevant mentions about brands with similar names! This is the main cause of dilemma for brand managers, PR desk executives, and marketing executives while trying to implement online brand monitoring. But did you know that Boolean Search can improve the experience?

Before we jump into teaching you how to use Boolean Search for brand monitoring, we want to make sure you understand the basics. Simply defined, Boolean Search uses Boolean logic to search for certain words or phrases through massive amounts of data. Therefore, by using Keywords and Boolean Operators in your brand monitoring, you restrict or widen the searches. In short, the Boolean operators provide your search tool with some criteria to use when searching a database. Therefore, you can always drill down to the specific mentions that matter to your brand. The most commonly used Boolean operators are AND, OR, Not, and NEAR.

In this article, our focus is to educate you on how to use Boolean Search for a better brand monitoring experience. First, we will identify what you can achieve using Boolean Search as the basis for brand monitoring. Then, we will look at some of the basics you need to effectively use Boolean Search. Towards the end, we will also focus on the Mentionlytics tool and how you can effectively use Boolean search criteria to monitor your brand online using it. Without further ado, let’s get started!

So, What Can You Achieve Using Boolean Search?

Did you know that main search engines like Google use Boolean search? We have already indicated that Boolean Search in brand monitoring helps you to get more precise. Therefore, using Boolean searches, you can monitor mentions that are flooding in more effectively.

Using Boolean search, you can be able to:

  1. Broaden or Narrow your alert as per the preferences: The Boolean search operators are very useful when it comes to querying. To begin with, you want to get alerts on precise mentions. These are alerts of searches that mention your brand or products. Therefore, use the Boolean search to make sure you can achieve these.
  2. Use More Search Terms: Effective brand monitoring requires you to be vigilant. In so doing, you will be expected to know about keyword variations. There are many possible keywords that clients are using while searching online. Therefore, you want to be able to use all these possible terms to ensure you don’t miss mentions. Does your brand monitoring tool limit you when it comes to using of search terms?
  3. Focus Your Brand Monitoring On Specific Regions: You want to be able to monitor your brand in such a way that you can focus where there is higher potential. With Boolean search operators, you can be more specific even when it comes to regionally-based searches.

That is a summary of how a good Boolean search can be useful for your brand monitoring efforts. Further, it is very important that you understand the important basics when using Boolean searches. This enables you to identify the brand monitoring tools that you should be using. In the following section, we focus on some of the tips for conducting a Boolean search. You will learn about the different operators and general search rules when it comes to conducting searches.

Tips for Effective Implementation of Boolean Search for Brand Monitoring

  1. Make Sure You Understand The Search Requirements

Before you begin any search, it is important to analyze the specific requirements. This might seem to be an obvious point to you. However, this is a weighty factor when conducting a Boolean search for brand monitoring. Are you searching for mentions of your company, your products, or related products?

As a marketer or a PR executive, you definitely have different requirements. A Public Relations personnel wants to monitor complaints and defamation statements online or on social media platforms. At the same time, a marketing executive might be interested in mentions of their brand. All these are different requirements.

Therefore, before you begin your search, you want to determine the goal. Then with the specific goal, you can determine the keywords and extent of your search. Basically, you should understand the requirements. Failure to, you will end up getting irrelevant mentions that are not useful to your brand monitoring campaigns.

  1. Make Sure You Are Aware of Variations of Keywords While Conducting Your Search

While building a Boolean search for your brand monitoring efforts, how keywords can be expressed is commonly overlooked. The first thing you need to be aware of is what it is you want to monitor. For instance, you can monitor mentions of your company name, the different products within your company, or even a combination of both and several other parameters. So, in which ways can these be expressed? What are the possible variations while conducting a search? These are very basic questions you shouldn’t overlook while conducting any search. There are several example ways through which you can base your variations. They can be based on the following:

  • Plurals

This is one of the most basic keyword variations in any search. Clients will include plurals in their keywords, and therefore, you should be keen not to miss these in your search. Unfortunately, not all brand monitoring tools will give you the power required for singular and plural keywords. Does your brand monitoring tool support singular and plural variations? If it doesn’t, you are missing dozens of high potential searches. Please confirm whether it does.

  • Be Aware of Use of Multiple Words While Describing the Same Item

Do you know the different names that customers can use while searching for your products? What about the competitor products that you don’t want to appear in your search or vice-versa? For instance, a company selling clothes wants to monitor mentions of their new line of denim pants. Clients can search using different wording. For example, the label on their denim jeans, blue jeans, knickers, blue jeans, pants, and many other names. Which one of these would you want to focus on? Which words are not helpful to you? Basically, it is very important to be aware of the possible words that your potential clients use while searching.

  • What about Possible Abbreviations?

By now, you know that people conducting searches don’t have all the time to type the whole name. Therefore, the use of abbreviations is very common in online searches. For instance, while searching for places to eat in New York City, the client might search for Eat in NYC. Products and brands can also be abbreviated. For instance, IBM is an abbreviation for International Business Machines. BA is a common abbreviation for British Airways

  • Nicknames

Another common variation to observe is the different nicknames. For instance, the Manchester United Football Club is commonly referred to as the Red Devils. Chelsea football club is referred to as The Blues in the football world. Are you aware of all possible nicknames people refer to your brand use?

  • Misspellings

Not all clients will spell your brand name or products accurately. Quite a good number of online searches use misspelled keywords. Is your brand monitoring tool intelligent enough to identify these misspelled words? In some cases, the misspelling is intentional. For instance, in an effort to meet the Twitter character limit, people who want to mention your brand might intentionally spell your product wrongly. Can your brand monitoring tool identify this effectively?

Therefore, when using Keywords in your search, you need to be aware of the above. The brand monitoring tool you are using should be able to take care of the different variations. Read more about the use of Keywords when conducting a Boolean search.

edit keyword Mentionlytics

  1. Be Conscious of How to Effectively Use Boolean Search Operators

By now, it’s pretty clear that searching for keywords is too general if you don’t use Boolean logic. By applying The Boolean operators together with the keywords, it is possible to get more powerful search results. For instance, let’s assume you wanted to search for Peters Place Apartments. A simple search query using peters, place, or apartments as the keywords will lead to a fire hose of mentions. It is important that we specify the words to use in the search. Which are the negative words, and which ones should we have?

Using Boolean Search operators, you can be able to combine these keywords for a meaningful search. As we said, the operators allow us to effectively limit or widen the search. So which are the Boolean search operators that we can use in our search?

Here are some of the Commonly Used Boolean Operators.

  • OR

Through the inclusion of the OR operator in a Boolean search, you are looking for mentions of any of the keywords in your list of keywords. Basically, we know that OR means either or both keywords will be present in your search. Therefore, the data that your Boolean search retrieves will be verbatim with either of the keywords included in the list used. While searching mentions of your product on Twitter, OR helps you get maximum results. Therefore, you should include all the possible keywords if you want to get as many results as possible.

  • AND

This Boolean search operator is used to specify the keywords to be included in the search results. For instance, let’s assume that you want to include X and Y as your Boolean Search Keywords. To use the Boolean operator AND, you would have “X AND Y” in your search bar. Therefore, the results you get from your search will be a result of the two keywords. Basically, the results include all verbatim containing the keyword X and all verbatim with the keyword Y. Thus, when you search a database and use the operator AND, this narrows and refines the search to return the most relevant results.

  • NOT

This is commonly used when you want to get rid of the negative keywords in your Boolean search results. Therefore, use the NOT operator when trying to narrow the search results. Any mention of the specified term will be ignored when giving you the results of the search. If we were to use the two keywords X and Y as illustrated above, including the operator NOT we would have X Not Y in our Boolean search entries. Therefore, the results that we get will include the verbatim containing the keywords X, but there will be no single verbatim containing the keyword Y. Therefore, when you search for mentions on Social media, NOT help you to get more specific by excluding negative keywords.

  • NEAR

This Boolean operator is used to return results when using two keywords that are close to one another in proximity. These are also referred to as proximity operators. Therefore, you can be able to get results from the words with a certain distance from the keywords used. However, use proximity operators only when you want to retrieve too many records, but the keywords aren’t closely related to each other.

  • Special Characters

Another great addition that uses Boolean search gives brand monitors is the use of special characters. In some cases, the Keyword in question might contain special characters. For instance, on Twitter and other social media platforms, we have the use of “@”. Most mentions will actually have this special character. This is especially for those interested in monitoring mentions on social media. Therefore, it’s paramount to use a brand monitoring tool that allows you to use special characters.

Using the above Boolean search operators, you can be able to conduct a more refined or broad search. This is very important for brand monitoring just as we have already seen. Note that in many cases, we have more than one operator in a query. For instance, see the query below conducted using Mentionlytics brand monitoring tool:

“Jamie Oliver” AND “Italian” NOT (“restaurant” OR “restaurants” OR “Jamie’s Italian restaurant”)

Example of How to use Boolean Search: Featuring Mentionlytics Tool

Mentionlytics Brand monitoring tool helps, in giving you the actual statistics of your brand mentions. This includes the mentions you get from the web channel and social media. Using the Mentionlytics tool, you can run four different types of campaigns. These include:

  1. Brand Monitoring: This allows you to get an insight into the mentions of your brand keywords on the web and social media platforms.
  2. Owned Media: Monitor mentions of owned media on Facebook, YouTube, and also Twitter.
  3. Competitors: Get insights on mentions of your competitors
  4. Marketing Leads: you can closely monitor mentions specific to your target market.

Some Special Features in Mentionlytics Tool

Simple to Use

The procedure for creating a brand monitoring campaign using Mentionlytics is simple and clear. Through the use of our Mentionlytics tool, you can use main keywords, unique keywords, positive keywords, and also negative keywords. Before determining the nature of the keyword to use, ensure you have read our guide above on the use of keywords. You can as well edit the keyword used in a campaign at a later date if need be.

Communication Tracker

The Mentionlytics tool gives you a communication tracker in the dashboard where you can be able to see the keywords you are monitoring. Further, you can click on each to get sentiments on how it is performing. By default, if you don’t select any, you will get mentions from all the items. Further, you can be able to see a breakdown of mentions over time. To see specific mentions for a specific date, hover over the date. You should see the mentions on the vertical axis. The mentions overview gives you an analysis of the mentions per channel over time and sentiment analysis for each day. See the mentions overview screenshot below:


Uses New Expressions

In our overview of the Boolean search operators, we saw that they help you get precise results. In Mentionlytics you have a great opportunity to use many new expressions. These will enable you to get the exact results you need. See the screenshot below:


Includes Social Profile Watch

Finally, Mentionlytics allows you to monitor social media. Actually, this is one of the few tools that come with Facebook mentions. You can manually add specific pages that you want to monitor. Therefore, whenever a potential client or existing one mentions you in a post, you can know.


Key Takeaway

Brand monitoring is no longer a choice for businesses. If you want to beat the competition and survive in the modern market, then you have got to wisely undertake brand monitoring. The brand monitoring tool you use will greatly determine if you can score the shots or miss out. You definitely don’t want to miss mentions. Do you want to get irrelevant mention results? The answer is no!

Therefore, it is fundamental that you invest in a powerful brand monitoring tool. When shopping for the best brand monitoring tool, make sure Boolean search capability is included in the product description. Further, observe to ensure the tool supports all crucial Boolean search operators. This way, you will get clear and precise brand monitoring results. A good example of an appropriate brand monitoring tool is Mentionlytics.

About George Mastorakis

George is a co-founder of Mentionlytics supervising Financial Planning and Analysis and our Cloud Architecture. He is an Associate Professor on Emerging Technologies and Marketing Innovation. His interests include Cloud Computing, Web Applications and Internet of Things.