Do you know what’s being said about you online?

One of the basic media lessons is there’s no such thing as bad publicity. No matter how negative the circumstances somebody mentions your company, you are still getting publicity.

Ryanair famously (consciously or unconsciously, I can’t say for sure) use this model of getting media coverage. It works, everyone talks about Ryanair. Ryanair knows what’s being said. But do you know what’s being said about your business? Are you listening in on conversations? Are you communicating your responses effectively? Are you improving and tweaking your offering by listening to this feedback? Are you doing this through social networks?

This morning I attended a worthwhile and interesting breakfast briefing on social media networks in Waterford with speakers Fred Karlsson from and Krishna De from Fred told us how negative comments can be a good thing via the company’s Facebook page, for example. Having a complaint posted in a public place would be anybody’s idea of a nightmare, but the thing to remember is if the conversation happens in front of you, at least you can do something about it. You can fix something, apologise, respond, you can engage. According to Krishna, it’s good to listen in on conversations about your business or brand – and to take action.

Krishna mentioned one bit of valuable advice for somebody who doesn’t already have a social media presence and is thinking about engaging with customers, clients, or just the general public this way: don’t do it if your product doesn’t work or you have rubbish customer service. The thing is, while it’s nice to know what’s being said about your business or brand, too much negativity in the public domain isn’t exactly going to help things, is it?

Creating a place for people to contact you and talk about you online is one way of monitoring what’s being said about your business. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Using a Facebook page, people can comment on comments your business or others page fans post on the wall page
  • Using Twitter people talking about your business may refer to it by it’s Twitter profile name rather than it’s regular name – mentions of your Twitter name will appear in your feed, but you can also create a custom search for your business name and be aware of any mentions – if it’s not too common a name that people all over the world mention it regularly in their tweets.
  • It’s also possible to keep an eye out on any mentions of your business on or any other more specific forums where you may be likely to get a mention
  • Set up a Google alert and get mentions of whatever word combinations you wish delivered into your inbox.

But no matter what end of reputation management you’re on remember that everything in this digital world is impossible to bury, get nasty in a blog post, text, e-mail, tweet, online comment and you’ll always be worrying when it will come back to bite you. Keep it clean.