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Tech Tip: The Childcare Grapevine

No need to set up a deep space antenna on your childcare facility, Google Alerts will do just fine

The director of a small childcare center asked, exasperated, “how was I supposed to address an unjustified review of my childcare center on Yelp when I did not even know what Yelp was…” My first tech tip: breathe. Deeply.

To say that childcare directors wear many hats is an understatement. Directors must manage their center’s reputation. Thankfully there are some easy (and free) tools to help you know when relevant content about your center appears online.

For this, we recommend Google Alerts. Google Alerts scours the web for keywords you want to watch and sends you a concise email daily, weekly or monthly with any developments in your area of interest.

Here is a suggestion for how to configure the five options on Google Alerts:

google alerts childcare directors online

Test keywords to make them not too broad and not too specific. In other words, just right.

Search Query: Choose keywords to keep your alert from being too broad. For example, “explorers childcare northern virginia”. The location information would cut down on the noise if you have a common name in your childcare centers title. (keywords are not case sensitive)

Result Type: Leave it as “Everything”. You can change this later if it sends too much information.

Frequency: We recommend “Once a week” or “Once a month.” It is pretty easy to get saturated with these emails.

How Many: Leave it at “only the best results”

Deliver to: Use your Google account if you have one.

Then click “Create Alert”. This will take you to a management screen where you can edit, test, or remove alerts. It’s easy to setup alerts and it is no cost to you, so experiment and see what works best. If you find yourself getting too many emails, simply go back and delete ones that are not relevant to you or your childcare center.

childcare alerts

Edit and Delete Your Alerts

One caveat, you will not see alerts for member-only sites like Angie’s List* so you will have to deal with those separately. Setting up alerts for your childcare center will help you get ahead of the grapevine to make sure there are no distortions or inaccuracies going unaddressed.

Give it a shot and you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

Are you using Google Alerts already? Can you think of other alerts you could set up for career development or other fun things? How about “awesome discounts teachers childcare directors preschool”? Or maybe you just want to track what is being said about your competitor across town. Let us know what you think!

* Angie’s List provides a free login for you to manage your childcare center’s reputation.

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Jeff is the Director of Marketing and Co-founder of BumbleBee Childcare Software. He lives in Cambridge, MA, in the United States. You can hear more from Jeff on Twitter and Google +.

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