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Published January 22nd 2013

Remain Alert to Your Online Reputation With, erm … Alerts

There are now very few brands that don’t lurk on metaphorical street corners, craning their necks to eavesdrop on unsuspecting members of the public as they openly discuss all their darkest thoughts about the peeping brand.

After crawling the web to listen to this conversation, manipulating this harvested data is central to discovering important insights, giving brands a comprehensive understanding of what their customers think of their products and services.

However, what about when executives and other members of staff simply want to be alerted about this conversation? What if it isn’t their job or in their interest to dive into the data and have a play with it directly? What if they don’t have a login, the time or a clue how to use SMM software?

Allow me to introduce you to alerts.





Most tools will have at the very least an alerts feature. This will allow users to receive an email each time a mention is posted online that matches your query.

So, every time someone tweets about your egg factory complaining with concerns about the cloning procedures, you can receive a message telling you about it.

More sophisticated software will also allow these messages to be sent out to multiple team members, or for different messages to go to different employees, and some tools will also allow actions to be taken directly from the email.

This means that your community manager could instantly click the response button in order to tell the chicken-lover that genetic engineering is the most efficient way of making millions of eggs a day and that they can buy theirs elsewhere if they don’t like it (sorry if this is an offensive example, I’m only yolking).






Sometimes the data you’re monitoring is just too large to realistically expect to read every mention of your brand in your inbox. So, short of outsourcing it all to an overpopulated LEDC, what else can your tool offer?

Well, chances are, it can send you digest emails instead. This is where you can determine a limit – perhaps every 100 mentions or every 30 minutes – at which you get sent an alert. This means that you get sent alerts at a more manageable rate, with multiple mentions included in each one.





Moving up the complexity charts, some tools will be able to react to your ridiculous diva demands. You could insist, for example, that the software only need bother you if your data set undergoes some kind of drastic change.

As you go about your daily business of sleeping, picking your nose and watching videos of pugs in unicorn outfits, you can rest assured that the volume of people discussing your brand hasn’t changed much from the day before.

However, should something happen and everyone begins non-stop chatting about you, your monitoring tool could be able to cleverly spot this peak in conversation and alert you to it.

In Brandwatch, for example, you can establish a threshold that your data volume must meet in order to receive an alert. If the past 24 hours has provoked a 400% surge in mentions of your brand, you’d probably want to know.

The tool recognises this, and pops you over an email that lists informs you of the increase in mentions, as well as the key topics featured in your data to give you an idea of why the rise has happened. You also get a breakdown of the most recent five mentions and a link to your query in the app, as well an option to download the data or delete the alert.






This is the really smart stuff, where the men are separated from the boys. Or women from the girls, if you like.

Using filters, you can combine the aforementioned types of alerts into super mega ultra-bespoke custom alerts. You can set criteria that the data has to match before you get sent an alert.

A few examples of the wonderful things you could do with alerts and filters:

  • Select solely negative sentiment and limit page types to weed out complaints on Twitter and Facebook for your online support team
  • Use MozRank with page type filters to identify important news coverage for your PR team
  • Set different influence metric restrictions to only find influential mentions, to help identify potential crises or discover new advocates
  • Use categorisation to decipher discussion of a particular aspect of your product (the screen, the engine etc) to isolate only the mentions you’re interested in (like a product recall)

Use your imagination to think of some others, I’m not going to do everything for you.

I will however, help you out if you would like to do any of this using Brandwatch. Just tweet us at @Brandwatch or contact us in another way and we’ll get you set up in no time.




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