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Keep an eye on your own PR

Remember

I came across a newly launched website today, which I had been following on Twitter. Judgethejob.com allows you to submit anonymous reviews about what it’s like to work at a particular company. Eek scary huh? Well, if you’ve got a lot of disgruntled ex-employees, yes. But let’s be honest, it’s not like they don’t have any avenues to vent their frustrations already is it?

With the rapid expansion of social media and other internet offerings, organisations now have more tools than ever before to engage with people and boost their brand. But there are also more ways in which it can be tarnished – at the click of a button. Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, blogs – gone are the days when the only way of exposing a wrongdoing is only possible by phoning your local newsdesk. News can be posted online and spread in a flash.

Traditionally PR has all been about press releases and taking journalists out for lunch but those days have passed (shame, I could get used to the idea of being a lady who lunches), but social media has to play a vital role today because it’s so powerful. However sometimes PR is left with the role of picking up the pieces and carrying out damage control, by which time there is limited chance of rescuing your reputation. Whether you employ a PR function or not, it’s time to think about your own PR.

We’ve all seen the examples of social media gone wrong – but if these have passed you by then take a quick look.

Those are just a few. When I did a Facebook group search for “I hate working at” I got 500+ results. Do you know what people are saying about you? Maybe it’s worth looking into – or better still, thinking about prevention rather than cure. Here are my top 10 tips for keeping an eye on your own online PR:

  1. Twitter search – set one up to see every time someone mentions you.
  2. Google alerts – has someone written about you on their blog? Google alerts will notify you whenever a certain word or phrase appears online, including:
  3. Facebook groups – the above stories speak for themselves. You don’t want a Facebook group full of disgruntled customers or employees when you’re working hard on your recruitment strategy (see picture at top for an example!) Monitor any mention of your company on the site
  4. Create a closed group on LinkedIn for your own employees to promote discussion in private and tackle any problems before they become an issue.
  5. Set up your own blog so you can demonstrate that you’re a professional organisation that cares about its people and its customers
  6. Respond to all feedback – positive or negative. Tackling the issue head on could resolve the issue easily; burying your head in the sand could make it worse.
  7. Social media guidelines – create some or build them into your company’s IT policy. At best it will stop people from posting damaging pictures or comments online. At worst it will allow you to cover your back if something does go wrong.
  8. Remember this is an ongoing exercise – ensure you take some time to do this at least once a week.
  9. Take on a PR company who can do all of this for you!
  10. Perhaps most importantly, make sure you’re doing everything right as an employer – if you treat your people well and make sure they’re happy in their jobs, chances are they won’t go setting up a Facebook group moaning about how rubbish your company is!

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