If you've read my posts here or were able to hear me speak at Small Business Marketing Unleashed in Houston, you know what a believer I am in businesses monitoring the blogosphere.  It's a must for businesses to know what bloggers are saying about them, because then they can respond.  But how do you know the correct way to respond?  It depends on what you find.

So by now you have hopefully started monitoring the blogosphere and have subscribed to Google Blog Searches for your business and/or have Google Alerts set up (for more info on how to start monitoring the blogosphere, check out this post).  Now you need to know how to use this information, based on what you are finding.  Here's four possibilities and how you can react:

1 - You find nothing.  You're monitoring the blogosphere, but no one is blogging about you.  If you're a small business, it's entirely possible that you'll be in this position.  You have an awareness problem, and in this scenario, blogging will help you boost your awareness, provided that you have the staff and time to blog.  If so, go for it!  If you are already blogging and still no one is blogging about you, then you probably need to spend more time OFF your blog, and work on engaging readers in THEIR space, not yours.

2 - You find very little, a mix of good and negative feedback.  This means that bloggers know about you, but aren't saying much.  This likely means that you aren't communicating with bloggers very well.  Make a point to respond to the bloggers that are mentioning you, focusing first on the bloggers that are evangelizing your business, as well as the ones that are complaining about you.  The fact that some bloggers are writing about you tells you that there IS an interest in your business, but you can likely make bloggers more interested, and positive about your business, if you spend more time on responding to and communicating with them.  Blogging will likely help here (if done correctly), but your main goal should be to strengthen your existing communication with bloggers.

3 - You find plenty of feedback from bloggers, most of it is positive.  This is the sweet spot, and if you are in this position, odds are you are already doing what you should be doing, and should just keep on truckin'.  No business can satisfy everyone, but if the majority of the people are evangelizing your business, then you are doing something right.  Just remember to stay connected to and respond to the bloggers that are talking about your business.  Yes even the ones that are slamming you ;)

4 - You find plenty of feedback from bloggers, most of it is negative.  This is a problem but you can work to solve it easily enough.  If you are in this situation, the odds are that you are doing nothing to respond to bloggers, and they aren't too pleased with your lack of communication.  Additionally, they are probably blogging to each other about how you won't respond, which is leading to even more negative blog posts. 

The good news is, if you'll start responding to these bloggers, you'll likely find that the tone of their posts will improve dramatically.  At this point, much of their negativity is likely simply coming from the fact that you are ignoring them.  When you start responding, you should see their posts become much more positive. 

But the key point here is to get in the habit of monitoring the blogosphere.  No matter what you find when you do (even if it's nothing), presents an opportunity for you to use the blogosphere to grow your business!

April 29, 2008

Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.


While I agree with most of your points, I do find it interesting at times to target the "negative" aspect of what bloggers do say. Controversy generally drives traffic, and depending on the market or niche that you are targetting, this is sometimes a great thing.

In one of my blogs, people were upset at an incident that occurred at a local sporting event. Traffic on the site that I owned that carried those particualr details was through the roof! It also turned into be very lucrative for me in revenue generation!

Yes, if it's all negative, that's a bad thing, but some controversy is warranted as well.

Great article!! For businesses monitoring the blogosphere, I would urge them to try Filtrbox at http://www.filtrbox.com. Filtrbox is a business grade service for monitoring the blosphere and well as mainstream media. The drill down graphs and analytics are very well suited for businesses.

If people are leaving negative comments, you can often convert them into fans of your business by simply responding and trying to discuss their problem with them. Normally the negativity is coming in great part because the person complaining feels that they are being ignored.

Tom you wouldn't happen to have an interest in Filtrbox, would you? ;) I noticed the link on your name carries us to www.filtrbox.com.

Google alerts http://www.google.com/alerts are a great way to see who's saying what about you, while not perfect, it's free and it works. There's no reports, no graphs, and no analytics, but I've set it up for my Boss and I, and we can both get As it Happens, Daily, or Weekly emails with links to the pages where people have either linked to our sites, mentioning our products, etc..

The phrase you put in will sometimes yield results you didn't really expect, so some tinkering is sometimes required to get back links that are useful.. A very simple example, if you put in "CAR", you'd get a million links in your e-mail, but if you put in "red ford mustang" you'll get a more targeted result. I usually put in a couple similar queries and give it a week, the one that looks like it's what I want I keep, the rest I cancel, as it's a painless process to cancel the alerts.



Yes I do have an interest in Filtrbox. I am the Filtrbox CTO. If you need need to know more about Filtrbox, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I do use Google Alert to keep track any mentions regarding my blog. Mack has given some nice points that I may dig in and ponder as I'm strolling along this blogging road. Reviewing oneself's progress from time to time is essential, and make necessary adjustment according to needs. Thanks for sharing.

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