5 Ways to Learn What People Are Saying About Your Firm Online

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File under: “put down the glass, move away from the wall.” Here are five ways to monitor what people are saying about your law firm online. 

You might already be using one or two of these tools (Google Alerts, for example) but in many of my calls with marketing directors I recommend casting a wider net to well and truly measure your online visibility. Here’s how:
A no-brainer; read on if you are already doing this. But if you’re not yet receiving a daily email alert from Google on all references to your firm’s name, stop reading and take care of that now.
You’re able to determine the frequency of alerts: daily, weekly, or as the content is found. Set up an alert for your firm and, for that matter, for your competitors. Even if you don’t click on every link sent to you by Google, a quick scan of the email alert is often a terrific way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening (and what matters to you) online. 
Bonus tip: set up a google alert on the root of your firm’s website domain name (ie. firmname.com). Why? You’ll be informed every time somone shares and/or links to practice groups, attorneys, and/or your content.
It’s time to overcome your fear of Twitter and understand that many of the people you are trying to reach count on the communications platform for daily connections and content. 
Some of you might already be using Twitter to test its value as an outreach tool. Good. But my suggestion is specific: when you search for mentions on Twitter, use http://search.twitter.com/ – which started as a stand-alone engine called Summize until it was acquired by Twitter HQ. (Is the verb tweetquired?) Again and again, I find that search.twitter.com provides more results more often (versus some of the twitter search functions in third-party apps, or even the search box on Twitter.com).
Whichever source you use, make it a regular habit to search Twitter on your firm’s name. Again, as with Google alerts, also search on your domain URL (firmname.com) – you’ll see if people are sharing your site’s content.
One of my favorite ways to monitor online engagement, because it measures the attention you’re getting (or not getting!) on the world’s largest professional network. Visit LinkedIn Signal and you’ll see a timeline of updates from your own connections. However, enter a term into the search box on the top left of the page, and you’ll see results for that term as shared by people outside of your network
In other words: Signal is a way to more widely search network updates on LinkedIn. Great as a way to see what professionals are saying and sharing about/from you, but also an opportunity to connect with people who might be willing to connect with you. (“Thanks for sharing our recent article on small business tax considerations – I’d like to add you to my network.”)
There’s probably more to SocialMention than I am aware, but even so: it’s one of my stalwart tools for monitoring online mentions. You can choose to narrow a search (blogs, networks, comments, bookmarks, etc.) or just search on all of it. You can also sign up for social media alerts (“Like Google Alerts but for social media”) – either way, you’re bound to pick up gems on SocialMention that you won’t necessarily find elsewhere. 
Yes, Google. But not as you might think. A more, ahem, refined Google. Specifically: the next time you search a term (including your firm name) on Google, from the results page click “More” in the left hand column to expand the options for narrowing your search. Now, click “Realtime” in the expanded list of links. You’ll see a blend of Twitter and public Facebook updates (pages, etc.) that mention your firm (or whatever term you entered). 
Another way to narrow: choose “Blogs” from the left-hand nav. My understanding is that the subsequent results are a blend of blog mentions and any RSS feeds Google happens to consider worthwhile. Also narrow your search on “Discussions.” A good tool to go deep into various web platforms you might not otherwise see or monitor. 
There you have it: five ways to monitor your online visibility. I find that results from these tools complement each other – sure, there is some cross-over, but each platform also has a particular strength. Think of these links as, together, making a toolbox, Now, go forth and monitor.
I’m curious to know which online monitoring tools you use.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know. 

As time permits, I’ll add your suggestions here.