PR Toolkit: Breaking up (with Google Alerts) Isn’t That Hard to Do

[Ed-note: Meet the newest addition to the PR Couture family: Tribe Dynamics, a technology start up out of San Francisco. As part of an ongoing partnership, we’re teaming up to share recent news in the fashion + technology space, as well as and helpful tips and tools. This first installment gives you an intro into the company itself as its services relate to your PR needs. Enjoy! – Crosby]

Hey Google Alerts, It Is You, Not Me…

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but here goes: Google Alerts is no longer a PR girl’s best beau for capturing client mentions across the web. Over the past couple of months, companies and individual users have experienced problems and even filed complaints with Google, only to receive a less-than satisfying: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are currently looking into this issue and will have a resolution shortly.” (Enter obnoxious Jeopardy music and a resounding “whomp”)…

And while the end of Google Alerts is mere speculation at this point, this is your career we are talking about: not to mention the success of your PR agency and a reflection of your personal aptitude for staying on top of your target community’s activity, needs, and interests. With the high volume of complaints and rumors circulating the web, including The Financial Brand’s Open Letter to Google, in which they retract their endorsement of the tool calling it “useless” and “unreliable”, we think it’s safe to say that Google Alerts are not worth the time or the risk. Instead, check out these three Google Alert alternatives that are primed to help you do a better job tracking client successes.

Talk This Way

The most popular alternative to Google Alerts is the free service Talkwalker Alerts. Simple and straightforward, registration takes seconds. Similar to what you’re used to, searches can be filtered to provide from all-inclusive results to just blogs and discussions. And, you can still get alerted instantly or just once a day via email.

Pro: Shifting to Talkwalker Alerts is easy because it allows you to import your current Google Alerts! If you’re a small brand looking for the to get most major mentions, they’re on it.

Con: You get what you pay for. While Talkwalker is a good stand-bye, there’s no reporting or extensive targeting options.

Works well for: Small brands that are not commanding a ton of share of voice, or actively generating a ton of earned media, but want a general sense of when the brand is mentioned.

Get Con-NET-cted

If Google Alert’s reliability has you rethinking your entire client tracking process, consider Netvibes. an ultra-personalized dashboard that allows you to not only monitor client mentions, but to publish social media updates. Part tracking tool, part analytics program, Netvibes lets you dive deep into the analytics, as well as create customized dashboards for client presentations and general reporting.

Pro:  Netvibes generates extensive reporting and analytics across a variety of social media platforms with real-time updates so that you and your team are always on top of the latest brand buzz.

Con: Outside of the free trial, the premium service for brand monitoring with social analytics costs a whopping $499/month per client, which can be cost prohibitive for some agencies and most individual practitioners..

Works well for: Perfect for larger companies with enough social chatter happening outside of PR outreach, as well as particularly data-driven clients or number-hungry executives.

Your brand’s ambassadors are people, not just numbers. Shouldn’t your social media monitoring account for their unique needs and preferences?

Join the Tribe

Sure, what you had with Google Alerts worked well for a long time. But your needs as a savvy publicist have matured. With increased client expectations to prove ROI, the sheer mix of media, as well as the influential social customer, it makes sense to invest in tools that thoroughly measure and capture your efforts across the board, as well as provide an easy way to track your pitching. With these trends in mind, we created Tribe Dynamics to help PR folks easily manage and measure media outreach as well as social chatter. If you click that link, we’ve put together a special offer just for PR Couture readers, and we’d love to hear your feedback on what we’ve created.

Pro: Tribe Dynamics is easy to use (creative non-techie folk approved!), with built-in reporting that’s almost, well, pretty. Plus we’re affordable for everyone from freelance publicists to agency owners. Our paid version starts at $99/Month.

Con:It is difficult to talk poorly about yourself, but we’ll give it a try. Our initial focus is in  digital health, beauty, and fashion, so our media contact database won’t be useful if you’re in other industries or looking for traditional press contacts.

Works well for: Aside from lovers of long romantic walks on the beach and luxurious picnic spreads, Tribe is a perfect match for medium to larger brands and PR agencies looking to tie the knot and put a ring on a successful earned media campaign. And yes, we’ve been waiting to roll out that last line since we started this article.

For other social listening software solutions, you can also check out radian6, datasift, and Brandwatch.

What are you currently using to monitor digital mentions? What are you looking for that your current solution doesn’t provide?

About Christina
LA native Christina Goswiller traded palm trees for the Stanford tree, where she studied political science and graduated with honors in 2012. She is currently living in San Francisco, and aside from her love for fashion and technology, enjoys traveling, painting, blogging, and exploring the city. Connect with Christina at Christina[at]tribedynamics.com or the team @TribeDynamics

About This Author

LA native Christina Goswiller traded palm trees for the Stanford tree, where she studied political science and graduated with honors in 2012. Since her move to San Francisco, she has fallen in love with the entrepreneurial spirit of the startup world. Christina is particularly interested in the growing importance of technology within the fashion industry, which she follow through her work with Tribe Dynamics.