WhisperWhen you are running a business what people say about you is really important.  You can’t afford not to care what people say – your reputation is on the line.

Warren Buffett said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it.”  In today’s world a single tweet, a comment on Facebook or thoughtless update on LinkedIn or Google+ can result in total disaster.  Going viral takes seconds and people love things that show how bad something is; it’s so much more interesting than something at the excellent end of the scale.

So how much attention to you pay to what people are saying about YOU?  Do you monitor social media for mentions?  How do you keep up with what people have said whilst you’re away from your computer?  There are various tools for checking up on what people are saying from monitoring Twitter for your company name (and maybe your personal name too) to setting up Google Alerts to notify you every time you’re mentioned.  Then you need to pay attention and respond.

Some large organisations employ someone to watch out for mentions and respond to both positive and negative comments.  It gets them brownie points in being responsive to customers and allows them to sort out problems quickly.  Being aware of the possibilities is the first step and you don’t have to be a big business to do it.

The other side of the coin is to ensure that there are many positive mentions out there.  Keep your social media up-to-date, post good quality information, useful advice, tips and suggestions and you will gradually build your reputation for being an authority on your subject.  This not only gives you a raised profile, but actively encourages people to share what you’ve posted giving you ‘good press’ by association.

Start actively influencing what people are saying about you by generating lots of positive information and monitoring mentions so you can respond and fix problems fast.