I’m going to see the Blue Man Group in concert tonight. What does this have to do with Internet marketing? We’ll, I heard about this concert through an alert that gets sent to my email. Alerts, such as those available from Google are a great way to keep track of any topic you want, including seeing what others are saying about you. Once you have an alert set up, whenever you, or your product or service have been mentioned anywhere on the internet, whether through a blog, a press release, or a new web page, Google will let you know. As a marketer, this is invaluable – you can then respond almost in real time.

Let’s say for example that I have Google alert me whenever “Greg Jameson” is mentioned (which in fact, I do). If someone attended a speech that I gave and really liked it, I could then go to their blog and post a comment thanking them. On the other hand, if they didn’t like it, I could post a rebuttal or at least engage in a conversation with them. This is a great way to interact with your customers and to address any negative comments that are being made (as well as responding to positive ones).

It’s interesting to me that I have mentioned HubSpot and Brian Halligan in my two previous blog posts and did not get a response from him or his company. A Google alert should have let him know that I was talking about him. Now I didn’t totally blast him, but not responding to negative publicity can come back to bite if you don’t address it quickly. Some well known examples include Dell (who does use social media to manage their reputation), and Sony (who lost market share after negative publicity about the PS3 on YouTube). If you want to control your brand, you MUST monitor what is being said about you.

Setting up a Google alert is easy – just go to alerts.google.com. From there you will be able to specify the words you are interested in, how often you want to receive the alerts, and whether the alerts should be sent to your email or an RSS feed.

Now to really monitor what is being said about you and your brand, you want to see what is being said about you in the social media world as well – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You can set up an alert to monitor these sources at SocialMention. (Note, this company is no longer in business, Use BrandMentions instead). Employers for example may find this invaluable if they have unhappy employees that are venting on Facebook.

Using a combination of Google Alerts and Social Mention, you can always be aware of what anyone is saying about you (or your competitors) at any time. Setting this up does not require a lot of effort or a technical person – its easy. Do it now so you can start managing your reputation.