It used to be that you had to read a lot of magazines or newspapers yourself, or better yet, subscribe to an expensive media clipping service, in order to find out about any mentions. Not anymore.
In fact, since you can monitor for free, you should be following yourself, your company, your most important clients, and your competitors, too.
TOOLS FOR MONITORING
The three top tools to monitor are:
Google Alerts sends you emails containing excerpts and links to any new webpages containing the search terms you set up with them. You can manage your search terms very easily.
Bloglines is a great and easy to use blog aggregator with powerful search capabilities. Any search term at all can be "subscribed to" so that all future blog posts on containing your term will pull into your Bloglines feeds. I like to use it to search for industry news and other hot topics, too, because it is so easy to manage my searches and it's really easy to email a story to myself or someone else.
Twitter is a microblogging tool that is literally exploding. Microblogging means that when posts are made, they are 140 characters or less. There is a LOT of commentary about companies on twitter--the forum just lends itself to it. You can bookmark your search so you don't have to reenter search terms again next time. You can also use Twilert.com to receive email notification of search results much like Google Alerts.
ACTING ON MENTIONS
So if you do find mentions of your company, product or about working with you, it's a really good idea to NOT ignore it. Regardless of where you find mentions about your company, there are, in the elegantly short words of Guy Kawasaki (in a post about how to use twitter), some actions you should take:
- People are mad: help them out
- People are confused: help them out
- People who have questions: help them out
- People are happy: ask them to spread the word
You will find that people are delighted by contact with the company and that no matter how rocky the relationship started out, they usually become fans and evangelists. By simply monitoring what people are saying about you, you’re using Twitter better than 95% of the companies out there.
And I expand that to say that by acting on mentions of your company you're using ALL your tools better than 95% of the companies out there.
And don't forget to apply these four "help them/ask them" strategies when people tell you, directly, about their experiences working with you!