One of the most basic and easy forms of tracking your social media marketing is by setting up Google Alerts. In fact, Google Alerts are something that every company should have set up in order to effectively manage your marketing efforts online.

What are Google Alerts?

Google Alerts by definition are “email updates of the latest relevant Google results (Web, news, etc) based on your choice of query or topic.”

Google Alerts are useful for monitoring news about your company, keeping current on a competitor in your industry, staying on top of industry news and much more.

Another helpful asset companies should use is Google Reader.

What is Google Reader?

Google Reader allows you to read all of your desired RSS feeds in one location.

Below is a step-by-step guide to setting up Google Alerts and Google Reader for your company.

Setting Up Google Alerts & Google Reader

1. Signing Up for an Alert

In the field next to Search Terms: you can enter specific keywords you would like Google Alerts to search for and send you a report on.  These keywords can consist of things like your company name, industry name, industry keywords etc…however, beware of certain keywords. Some can be too vague and overflow your reports with useless information.

Then you’ll want to select the “Type: Comprehensive” to receive all updates.

Since you will be delivering your alerts to a feed, it will automatically update as it happens. If you prefer an alert to go to your email you may select the frequency.

Your email length can be either “up to 20 results” or “up to 50 results.”

Then select “Deliver to: Feed”. This will deliver to a feed that you can view in Google Reader.
Note: if you do not have an email account with Google it will only allow you to email your Google Alerts, instead sign up for a free Gmail account so that you can use all of the wonderful features such as this.

2. Managing Your Alerts

Once you have created a Google Alert, click on the bottom left hand side “Click to Manage Your Alerts.”

On this screen you can manage your Google Alerts, as well as add or delete alerts.

3. Adding a Feed

From the alert management page, you can view your Feed in Google Reader. You will find this under the “Deliver To” column.  By clicking “View in Google Reader” this will bring you to your Google Reader page.

Your feeds from your alerts should automatically be subscribed to since you selected to feed them there.

You can select different feeds from the Subscriptions Tab. It also provides options to only view those subscriptions with updates as well.

In addition to viewing all Google Alerts Feeds here you can also place other feeds to manage and track your desired topics online.

4. Subscribing to Other Feeds For Google Reader

Take for example a Feed on Twitter:

Search your desired topic on Twitter
When you find a searched topic you want to subscribe to scroll down to the button “RSS feed for this query.”

It will bring you to the RSS Feed page. At the top it provides drop down menu after “Subscribe to this feed using:” This is where you will select Google. Then click on the “Subscribe Now” button.

It will bring you to a Google page as shown below. Once you have landed here, you will select “Add to Google Reader.”

This will automatically add in another subscription to my Google Reader. You can now view multiple subscriptions all in your Google Reader. This can be done the same way for other terms searched through Twitter or other pages that provide RSS Feed. Feeds you should consider adding will be those that can help you listen to the conversation regarding your own company as well as the industry surrounding your company.

To scroll up and down quickly through your feeds the “K” key will help you scroll up while the “J” key will help you scroll down.

Another great feed to consider adding to your Google Reader is LinkedIn Answers. This saves you the process of logging onto LinkedIn to respond to industry-related questions. Instead you have the ability to manage and decide which answers to respond to through Google Reader where the rest of your feeds are.

Why Will This Help?

By setting up these alerts and feeds you will be able to better manage your online social media and listen to the conversation. This can provide great opportunities for you to get involved in the conversation as well. Many complain about the amount of time it takes to manage your social media and company information on the internet. Google Reader narrows down the time spent searching for these places and allows you to take a proactive approach in order to engage in the conversation.

How are you managing and tracking your social media right now?

We would love to hear back from you and get your insights into other ideas and tips for users trying to proactively manage their company online. If you have any questions please let us know.