Definition: A mention is when a brand is referenced, or "mentioned" on the web. While often referring exclusively to social media, mentions can also describe anytime an online publication or blog uses a brand name. Mentions are an informative metric to help online businesses gauge how the perception and visibility of their brand.
Mentions encompass PR, social media, SEO, and overall brand awareness & popularity. When a business is tagged on Facebook, tweeted at, or linked to, it is factored into the brand's organic search value. Positive SEO leads to increased visibility, which can then prompt more mentions and further increased SEO value. This positive feedback loop is one of the key ways that popular brands explode seemingly overnight.
While it's nearly impossible to keep track of every single mention, there are multiple tools and services that can give businesses a good directional indication of how their brand is performing. both free and paid monitoring apps which will find mentions and aggregate them automatically.
As your brand grows, getting more detail and professional analysis may be warranted. What all of these platforms have in common is their reliance on keywords. The information you get back is only as good as the keywords you input into the app. In every case, you should use multiple keyword searches to cover your brand from multiple angles.
Monitoring apps don't just show mentions as abstract numbers, they provide links to individual mentions. When you see mentions that are either very good or very negative, examine who is making the comment. If that person has ten followers, you may not need to respond, if he or she has 10,000, you definitely should. Find mentions on high volume sites or from popular Internet taste-makers and engage.
Mentions are the best way to monitor the success of your SEO and marketing. Far from being an abstract number, they take the pulse of the internet, allowing you to respond to trends surrounding your brand in almost real time.