We wish everyone in the association community a very happy and prosperous new year.
If you've made any resolutions for your organization, then here's another one for your list.
It's the first thing you should do this year, if you haven't done it already.
It's simple, helpful and extremely insightful. It can give you a set of ears and eyes that can hear and see farther than your entire membership combined.
It's a way to track what the world is saying about you. It's a way to engage in the worldwide dialoge that is Web 2.0. It's a window into the future of your organization.
The first thing you should do this year is CREATE A GOOGLE ALERT.
If you already have alerts set up, then excellent for you. You get it. You get the value, the giddy feeling you get when Google hooks some information of value for you.
If you haven't set up a Google Alert, then this is the first positive thing you do for your organization this year.
Google describes alerts like this:
"Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic."
Do you get why this is important? In this new world of blogs and wikis and social networks there is probably a lot being written about your organization on the Web. Conversations between members, news stories on niche websites, or possibly even blogs posting erroneous and untrue information about your organization's position on an important topic. It's vital that you're aware of what is being written about your association on the web, and Google Alerts will, well, alert you when something has been said.
It's simple to set up. Go to www.google.com and click on the "More" button at the top. From there you'll see a listing of all Google products and services. You'll see the Google Alerts link as the first link on the page.
If you have a Google account you're ready to start, but if you don't, set up an account first and then come back to this page and get started. What are some search queries associations are using today to monitor the web? Here are some ideas:
- your association's name
- your association's acronym
- your board president's name
- any keyword from your industry
- your competitor's name
- the name of your annual event
Remember to put your search queries in quotes like this "abc association" so that Goole knows you're looking for the whole phrase in that order.
Have you had luck with Google Alerts already? Do you have any pointers for those just gettings started? Have you chosen not to do Google Alerts for some particular reason? Feel free to share in the comments below.