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How to Monitor Social Media with Google Alerts

You want to have a good idea of what is being discussed on social media in your business field, about your products and services, or about your competition. You can monitor social media comments with Google Alerts.

The kind folks at Google have a service that notifies you when Google finds new results, web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs that match your selected search term or phrase. Google e-mails you results or sends them as they happen to Google Reader via an RSS feed.

Follow these steps:

  1. Type www.google.com/alerts in your web browser.

    The Google Alerts page is displayed.

    You might also want to set up alerts for your competition or for news stories that relate to your business.

  2. In the Search Query box, type your keyword query (search word or phrase) using the operands mentioned in the preceding section.

    For example, the figure shows a search for a book title.

    Setting up a Google alert.
    Setting up a Google alert.
  3. In the Result Type drop-down menu, select Everything.

    The Everything choice includes results from anything and everything on the web that Google finds matching your query. Or you can select a single category: Blogs, News, Video, Discussions, or Books.

  4. In the How Often drop-down menu, select the frequency of the notifications.

    If you want the alert as soon as Google finds something, select As-It-Happens. Realize that you may get interruptions at odd hours. If you’d prefer more of a digest, select Once a Day or Once a Week. Once a Day is best because the point of doing this is to stay on top of sentiment.

  5. In the How Many drop-down menu, determine whether you want Google to decide which results are important.

    Only the Best Results is the first option, but it's best to choose the alternate, All Results. You don’t want to miss a thing.

  6. In the Deliver To drop-down menu, select your e-mail address from the e-mail addresses that Google has on record for you or indicate that you would like to have a feed sent to Google Reader.

    In the figure, all result notifications go to your Google Reader.

  7. Click Create Alert.

  8. Repeat this process for as many alerts as you want to generate.

After you've created an alert, you can click the Manage Your Alerts button to make changes, additions, or deletions.

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