Everyday, in the millions of websites throughout the Internet there could be references (mentions) to your product or brand. But how can you easily find them? Well, the most sophisticated way is to use a Brand Monitoring tool that goes beyond Social Media Monitoring and searches for web mentions too. However, if you don’t have any budget, or maybe you want to try it on your own first, there are still manual ways to do it. It will require some more time and effort from you every day, but it’s still worth it!
So, here is a quick guide and some simple tips on how do it.
1. Find the right keyword
The first thing you need to do is find the keyword you want to monitor. This is a word or phrase that you will want to have inside any page that will interest you. So, for example if your brand name is something like “Trello” then this is your keyword. Pretty straightforward, since your brand name is unique and you know that whenever someone uses this keyword he definitely refers to you.
However, this is not always the ideal case. Quite often your Brand name could be something less unique, such as a surname for example. In this case you will need to use some Positive and Negative keywords or even a keyword phrase that will exclude irrelevant results (or be prepared for a lot of irrelevant results, i.e. noise).
So for example if your brand name is Antonelly’s Bakery, searching for Antonelly will bring you thousands of irrelevant results. Searching for the keyword “Antonellys Bakery” (quotes included) will filter out many irrelevant results and will work much better.
Finding the ideal keywords is a big topic on it’s own, and I hope I will be able to cover it in much more extend in a future post. Of course this is basic Web Search knowledge, but it’s different when we look up something quickly on Google, and don’t really care but for the first few results. Accuracy and exclusion of irrelevant results can be more important for our Brand Monitoring project.
2. Use Google Search to find the keyword you picked (first time)
Now that you have chosen the appropriate keywords, you can simply search for them using Google Search. However, there are a few tips to this as well:
- Prefer to use the Google version of the country you are mostly interested in as your target market, since different Google versions return different search results (e.g. google.com, google.co.uk, google.de etc)
- Prefer to use the incognito window of your browser for a more unbiased result list (not personalized to you)
3. Use Google Search to find the keyword you picked (after the first time)
You will probably want to find new web results every day or week about your brand. If you simply search the second day in the same way as you did the first time (step 2), you will likely end up with the same results as they are ranked mostly by relevance and importance by Google. The best thing to do from the second day onwards is to use the “Search Tools” Google provides and limit the results to the time frame you wish to. So if your run this every day, try “Past 24 hours” and you will only get the new results since yesterday.
4. Create a Google News Alert
Try your brand keyword on Google News search to find any mentions to your brand from News sites. Then use the “Create Alert” button at the bottom of the page to register to an alert service, which will send to your inbox an e-mail whenever a new mention to these keywords is encountered. Please note, that in my experience this is not extremely accurate so it is recommended that you keep checking manually often day as well.
You could also create a Google Alert for all Google Search (not just news) here. Please not that in my experience this misses a lot of results (most of them actually…) compared to the manual way described in step 3.
5. Use a Spreadsheet to keep track of your mentions
You can use Excel or Google Docs to keep track of your mentions, so that you can have some historical reference. You can even go one step further and grab screenshots of some mentions by using browser plugin such as “Awesome Screenshot” for Chrome and attach it to the spreadsheet.
As you can see from this guide, it’s relative easy (though time-consuming) to find your mentions for free on the Web and News websites.
What about Social Media mentions?
Well, there are two ways to get Social Media Mentions for free. You can use the search functionality that most of these sites have (twitter search, facebook search etc), which is obviously the most accurate way but also the most time-consuming (and quite “painful” I must confess).
An alternative is to use the free tool Social Mention which you only need to provide a keyword and it will search on some social media for you. This is super easy to use, and it definitely worths a try, but you must be aware that the results as very basic, returning only small handful of the actual mentions.
Going beyond the basics…
This process is certainly useful but very time-consuming, especially if your brand is starting to get more popular, and it is also difficult to keep track of your mentions historically. This is what specialized brand monitoring software, such as Mentionlytics, will help you to do, by completely automating the whole process and also adding more capabilities such as Sentiment Analysis and also keeping searcahble history of all your mentions. You can try it for free here to see what it can do for your brand.