I have recently been speaking to a lot of local business people about Social Media and I’ve noticed that the same subjects keep on cropping up. As we’ve recently added a Blog to the Redback Creations website, I have decided to dive in and write up some of my notes as blog articles. These Social Media tips are practical examples of how free tools and simple procedures can help you communicate with potential customers and stay informed of the latest developments in your industry. I’ll try to keep things simple but please feel free to comment if you have any questions.
Setting up Google Alerts
In a nutshell Google Alerts is a simple way to monitor websites, blogs, news articles and internet discussions. By answering a few simple questions, Google will provide you with regular updates via email. Whilst this isn’t strictly Social Media, it is a great way of finding interesting information that you can post to Facebook, or Tweet about on Twitter.
You can access Google Alerts here: http://www.google.co.uk/alerts
Google alerts has a simple user interface but sometimes you’ll need be to be more specific…
Using Google’s advanced search options
Occasionally Google may give you results which simply aren’t relevant, or you may need to tweak your search to find exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t despair, using the following advanced search tricks can help with this:
- You can put quotes around phrases, for example searching for “red wine” will only display results for that phrase instead of results relating to both ‘red’ and ‘wine’. Google is very good at providing relevant results but this tip can be useful with some searches.
- Another way of filtering search results is to use the – (minus) symbol before a word. This will then exclude that word from your search. For example, if your searching for band to play at your wedding you might search for ‘wedding bands‘, this however will give you mix of results including many links to jewellers selling wedding rings. By searching for ‘wedding bands -rings‘ you can eliminate the results from the jewellers websites.
- On the other hand you may need to widen your search, this can be done by using the OR condition, for example coleraine OR portrush OR portstewart.
It’s worth noting that you can use these advanced options when your using the Google search engine and also in Gmail, if you use that service.
There are many other clever tricks which you can use in your Google searches, take a look at this Information Graphic (infographic), which is designed to educate students on how best to search for academic articles.