Book in Progress – Chapter 3

I’d be thrilled to see your comments/suggestions for my new book: Social Media Changes Everything (for Business). Read on and reply…

Chapter 3: Start by Listening

So where should you begin? Start by listening. Although it can be frustrating, it’s a good idea to listen for a few weeks before starting to respond, just to get the lay of the land. Type “A” personalities: If you absolutely cannot resist jumping in immediately, at least read the Chapter on “10 social media mistakes to avoid” first.

Let’s pick an easy place that will almost certainly motivate you to wade in deeper. Begin by finding out what people are currently saying about your business.

Go to and enter the name of your company in the “Search terms” field, along with your email address where indicated. Click “Create Alert” and once a day (or as it happens if you select that option – not a bad idea), you’ll receive an email message citing each news, blog, web, video, or group reference to your company. Amazing! You don’t even need a Google account or user name for this function.

If this generates too many unrelated citings, try placing your full company name in quotes, as in “Acme Industries”. You can set up multiple alerts on related terms. For example, if you’re working for, you might set alerts for “Sales Force” (a space between the words), “SalesForce” (no space), “” and “SFDC” (a common acronym).

If there’s a famous football player with the same name (maybe a stretch in this case), you can specify “-football” following each of the search terms. This will eliminate all references that also mention football.

It will likely be an eye-opening experience.

When you’ve adopted this process as a new habit, set up Google alerts on your competitors. When they make a mistake like Avis did, you’ll be the first to know about it and you’ll be ready to capitalize.

OK, that was too easy and you want more? Let’s find out what people are thinking. I’m talking ESP here (“extra sensory perception”) or the closest thing to it.

Go to: At this point, you don’t even need to know what Twitter is, and as with Google Alerts, you don’t need to sign up or sign in first. Just enter your company name in the box and click “Search”. Before you can say “I’m the all-knowing Karnack; I can read minds”, you’ll see every message (or “Tweet” in Twitter lingo) that mentioned your company in the last 10 days appear on your monitor.

I term this “almost ESP” (and original credit for this observation goes to Wired Magazine) because with Twitter users are either answering the question “What are you doing?” or they are sharing information of interest to them at that instant. With users Tweeting from computers, cell phones, and Facebook in 140 characters or less, the medium approximates the collective stream of human consciousness.

As with Google Alerts, click “Advanced Search” to refine your search by using multiple words, exact phrases, excluded words, specific people, date ranges, or even geographic distance of Tweeters from your location.

How is the geographic angle even possible? All computers, servers, and phones on the Internet are assigned IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Just as with telephone area codes, IP addresses are assigned geographically. If you know the IP address (which is included in every Internet packet), you know where the sender (and receiver) are located.

With these two simple tools, Google Alerts and Twitter Search, you are able to “hear” what people are saying about your company, about your competitors, or even about you (if you’re brave and no one is looking, try Googling yourself).

Listen but don’t yet respond.


To learn more about Dave Nelsen and Dialog Group’s consulting services, visit

2 Responses to “Book in Progress – Chapter 3”

  1. Richard Champney


    Well done! Can’t wait for the next installments. Think you will publish in paper? If so, add me to the waiting list.


    Rick Champney

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