Online marketing can be tiring! That’s where UpCity comes in. As a trusted advocate for small businesses, we’re here to navigate you through the piles of confusing and suspicious offers. UpCity will lead you in the right direction by providing easy insights and simple solutions for your business marketing plan. Members receives an in-depth, personalized action plan to help optimize their site, and our team is here to help you along the way.  Each week, we’re featuring an in-depth look at one of the recommended tasks built into the UpCity software.

Background

Setting up alerts for your business is essential in today’s competitive and social world. Think about all the people and websites on the Internet today. That’s a challenging and quite frankly, scary, feat trying to keep up with all the Internet offers!

Smart and savvy small businesses use reputation management alert systems to keep track of content and visibility. Nowadays, organizing new mentions of your business name, keywords, products, and services throughout the entire web is straight-forward and time-saving with visibility tools. You can monitor your brand, competitors, and industry in real-time. In addition, you can use these do-it-yourself tools as a seamless vehicle to connect and interact with these sources, all in one. Overall, alerts applications are powerful tools to analyze and understand who is saying what about your company, business sector, and keywords.

The process of monitoring and setting up these useful notifications is a relatively simple process today. Various tools make it easy and very time-effective to monitor blogs, news sites, forums and comments, social networks, and other sites on the web.

What to Look For

When searching for an alerts platform to monitor your brand, it’s important to keep in mind these questions:

  • What type of alert are you looking for?
  • How do you want to be notified- via desktop, email, mobile, text, RSS, downloadable web app, or combination?
  • Can you directly respond to the contact?
  • What social media platforms are covered?
  • What is the difference between the free and paid versions (if available)?
  • How long is the free trial?
  • Can the tool be customized for your business?
  • How complex or simple is the reporting?
  • Does the app integrate with your website and other platforms?
  • What type of help is available when your team has a question?
  • How many keywords can be monitored at a time?

Vitals To Know:

  • Once you set up notifications, they can be sent as frequently as you want. Each tool offers a settings area to update your preferences.
  • If you’re a beginner, compiling too many specific keyword alerts at one time may fill up your inbox quickly and look overwhelming. Start slow at first. Make sure you understand what you are receiving and what is said about your business. Then, you can add on as many keyword phrases as you want later on.
  • Be specific when compiling your alerts. Include descriptors because the searches will be more precise and relevant.
  • Create all types of alerts ranging from your business name, industry leaders, important keywords, locations, events, services, products, etc.

Tips Once the Alerts are Live:

  • For a great link-building strategy, check out the alerts for mentions of your competitors. If a site is linking to a close competitor, you can utilize the information to potentially get a link in Google as well.
  • Proactively stay on top of the alerts as much as possible. You don’t have to respond to every single alert, but make sure to directly communicate and react with the important notifications.
  • This is a smart opportunity to interact with current and potential clients and to find marketing opportunities first-hand!
    • Examples of these alerts include: comments by an industry authority, news articles related to your service, negative experiences or feedback, reviews, interest in the product from a potential client, etc.
  • If you come across a not-so-nice comment, always stay calm. Address the person respectfully and responsibly to resolve the issue.
  • Explore your options. If you don’t like what you’re seeing in the alerts platform after a few weeks, remember you’re not stuck with the app forever. Don’t settle – this is a significant component to the reputation management of your business. Find another platform that fits better and provides more leads.
  • You may learn that the volume of alerts will grow to be quite over-whelming and vast, especially if your business is monitoring more than one tool at a time. Be sure to manage the frequency for each tool.

Some Options:

Check out the selections below for free reputation management systems and learn how to set up each system. Best of all, they begin at a basic, free version, so why not take a few minutes and create a test account for each of them? We promise the set-up process takes no more than ten minutes. Try them out for a couple weeks to find out which works best for your business. Be sure to tell us your findings, in the comments section below!

Google Alerts

Details: As one of Google’s oldest tools, this user-friendly service allows customers to receive custom notifications of the latest links or news that contain a specific keyword or phrase in Google.

Google Alerts-Homepage

Why It Stands out from the Rest: The service includes videos – not all of the others are able to provide this search yet. The filtering abilities are helpful to weed out terms not valuable in tracking. In addition, the application is cost-free unlike many offering different pricing levels, such as quota on number of alerts received and complexity of reporting.

Consider This: In the past several months, people have complained about how the tool has become less useful overall. Rumors are swirling that Google will be getting rid of Google Alerts in the near future. Complaints include alerts don’t arrive often enough and less than powerful results.

How To Complete:

1. Click here to start Google Alerts for your business.

2. Set up a search query to receive on a daily basis. Query ideas include your business name, domain, and/or primary keywords.

Google Alerts-Create Search Query

3. Select the type of results you wish to receive. Choose from Blogs, Discussions, News, Videos, or Everything.

4. Select how often the results will be sent: as it happens, once a day, or once a week.

Google Alerts-Frequency

5. Select if you want to be sent Only the best or All results.

Google Alerts-How Many Alerts

6. Enter the email that the alerts will be sent.

7. Click the CREATE ALERT button. You can manage the settings and add new queries after you are logged into your Google account.

Mention

Details: Mention is an alerts management solution that offers a detailed list of mentions for your keywords. Existing Google Alerts can be imported into Mention’s system.

Mention Homepage

Why It Stands out from the rest: Mention provides a well-thought out interface and encourages your community to work together. Looking at its social capabilities, users sign into their accounts using various social accounts, and it provides mentions from all the latest social media sites. Statistics are included in upgraded paid plans starting from $6.99/month.

Consider This: Payments are needed to receive more results or wait until the next month. We reached a quota limit reminder about three weeks into the month when performing a free trial test. Note: Users earn free mentions by inviting friends.

How To Complete:

1. Go to Mention.net to begin signing up for your free account.

2. Enter your full name, email and password, or sign in using Facebook, Google, Twitter, or OpenID.

Mention.net-Signup Page

3. Download your free Mention app. Select from the following devices: Androids, Apple, Chrome, or iPhones. Another option is to skip the download process and go to the web application.

4. Set up a few search queries to receive on a daily basis. Include your business name, domain, or related keywords. At this point you can also import your previous list of Google Alerts. Click the Next Step button when completed.

Mention.net-Create A New Alert

5. Select your Sources and Blocked Sites.

6. If you choose to turn on the Priority Inbox, this determines alerts from important and influential sources related to your website. We definitely recommend activating the Priority filter.

7. If you choose to turn on the Anti-Noise Technology, this function removes spam and gets rid of  alerts similar to previously deleted posts. Click the Create My Alert button.

8. Adjust the social settings if you want to add a Facebook Fan page or Twitter account to the page.  At this time or later on, you can choose to add an email address to share the notifications. Click the Save icon.

9. Your alert is now created. Manage your alerts’ settings and add new keywords after logging into your Mention account.

Mention.net-Manage Your Account Mentions

TalkWalker

 

Details: Talkwalker is free, personalized software that monitors keywords for your business and sends email alerts whenever they arise on the Internet. More than 100 million sites are crawled, and Talkwalker strives to focus on monitoring blogs, forums, news and social sources. In addition, the data can export to a user’s email or RSS feed, and existing Google Alerts can easily import into Talkwalker’s system.

Talkwalker Homepage

Why It Stands out from the Rest: For all the beginners, this app is by far the easiest and simplest to set up. The application is a similar adjustment to Google Alerts and sends out frequent alerts around keywords.

Consider This: Although you receive many alerts, not all of them fit your target, so be careful to sift through the results for accuracy.

How To Complete:

1. Click here to begin signing up for a Talkwalker account.

Talkwalker-Setup an alert

2. To begin, set up some search queries that include your business name, domain, as well as some primary keyword phrases.

TalkWalker_Create Alert Example

3. Determine whether the results will include Everything, Blogs or Discussions, or News.

4. Select  if the media alerts will be sent in real time as they occur, on a daily basis, or a weekly basis.

5. Enter your email address.

6. Hit the “Create Alert” button. Manage your alerts’ settings and add new keywords after entering your Talkwalker account.

Talkwalker-Manage Alerts

Topsy

Details: Topsy is a free social search tool that provides the latest links, headlines, news, photos, tweets, videos, and more on what’s trending right now. Searches focus on what influential people are saying and sharing in real-time.

Topsy.com Homepage

Why It Stands out from the Rest: Users will receive results right away about their keywords. Customers can choose to sign up for a 14-day free trial of the Topsy Pro Analytics app as well. The Topsy Pro Analytics provides custom, in-depth reporting and important influencers for keyword phrases, terms, and Twitter handles.

Consider This: The application’s advanced tracking is wonderful but comes at a cost. Sign up for the free trial to see if it’s a fit for your business. Even if you don’t use the pro analytics, the social search features are enough to get you going.

How to Complete:

1. Go to Topsy.com, and enter your keyword selection.

Topsy-Enter Keyword Alert-Scuba Diving in Chicago

2. Click the “Create Email Alert” icon located near the top of the page.

Topsy-Create Alert-Scuba Diving in Chicago

3. Save your alerts using Facebook or Twitter.

4. Click “Confirm” to save the alert. Your email address is required to complete the process. Add new keywords, and personalize the settings at anytime.

5. If you are interested, click here to sign up for a free trial of Topsy Pro Analytics.

Topsy Pro Analytics-Example Search

Check out some more of our top choices for free reputation management web applications. Remember, it only takes a free tool or two, a few minutes a day, to monitor your reputation. All SMBs need to manage their online presence with these time-saver alert apps. In addition, stay tuned for news on reputation management and social monitoring updates appearing in the UpCity software.

There’s plenty of other powerful monitoring apps on the web. Which platforms are you using to keep track of your website or brand, and are you finding success with them? Let us know below!

UpCity members, follow the pathway to complete this task in your UpCity account: Become an Authority Basics > Social Networking 101: Join the Conversation.