As PR practitioners we have a lot on our mind: company image, communicating with employees, communicating with publics and keeping our stakeholders happy. It’s also crucial we act as the organisation’s boundary spanners, keeping an eye out for any warning signals, opportunities or challenges that may arise. How can we do all this and still do our job to the best of our abilities? What steps can we take to ensure we have a trained eye for our company image? Well, we could Google it… I guess?

Your company’s image is more than a Google search. It’s an intricate network of people talking about you, comparing insights, reviewing you, promoting you and even the people who work for you saying something. It’s important to monitor all of this and Google isn’t always the answer to, “Do our Stakeholders like us?”

Social media, however, being the go-to for criticism or acclaim, being able to efficiently navigate the torrent of comments, mentions and articles talking about your company can be difficult, but learning the benefits and methods of online searching and monitoring can help solve these issue. Ruxandra Mindruta, in a blog post on Business2Community, talks about five reasons why social media monitoring is crucial to the success of an effective corporate image.

Image: Ruxandra Mindruta, B2C

They state first and foremost that public relations is about anticipation and interpretation of public opinion and attitudes that may affect a company’s brand or image. Now, Google doesn’t exactly have a comments section where people post what they think for public viewing, instead, people may turn to Twitter or Facebook, or even write a review and send it into an online soapbox for people to read.

HOW do we know what they’re saying? HOW can we respond to help lessen any negative impact it will have on our company?

There are tools we can use to track what people have said about our company, tools like Tweetdeck that can follow trends of hashtags and direct mentions to a company; the Google keyword planner (For users who are signed into Adwords) and Google analytics – a step up from just ‘feeling lucky’ – can be used to show greater in-depth statistics about what people have said and shared around key terms related to our company.

The research we do for our company should surpass what our target publics and stakeholders are interested in at face value, it should go into what they think, how they feel, what they have to say about the company who represent them. Being able to work around and through the waves of opinions is crucial to effective online searching and monitoring and made easier when you’re aware of the tools you have available to you.

If you’re ‘feeling lucky’ about your company, by all means, stick with good Ol’ reliable, but if you’re ready to learn more about why your approval rating is dropping or there’s a change in brand equity, get to looking into what’s being said about your company online.

Search. Monitor. Understand.

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