Social media can be a scary place for some organizations and businesses considering whether or not to jump in with both feet. I hear this a lot. “What happens if people start slamming us?” they ask.

My response: “Wouldn’t you want to know they’re slamming you and what they’re saying about you?”

This question is always greeted with a pause. But the eventual answer is usually ‘yes’.

Most people do indeed want to know what’s being said about them, or their organization. It’s why we Google ourselves and organizations all the time. Deep down, we’re curious.
In today’s world, gossip is no longer confined to the street. It’s happening in social media big time. It’s where people are talking.

So, consider this: Do you want to be where people are talking? Or do you want to ignore what’s being said? Are you OK with people talking behind your back?

I think we know many of the answers to these questions. You want to be aware.

That’s one reason, of many, why organizations and businesses need to be involved in social media. There has never been a better opportunity to manage what’s being said about you.

Unlike gossip on the street, social media gives you the opportunity to connect directly to people who have something to say about your organization. This means you also have the opportunity to correct wrong information because, let’s be real, social media can perpetuate discussion originating in false facts. Wouldn’t you want to grasp this opportunity? Not only that, but your organization or company can look good in front of a social media audience when you address issues and solve them.

But let’s not look at social media as stricly being a reactive tool. It also gives you the ability to manage your messages from the very beginning. It’s like any other marketing or communications plan: you set your goals and objectives beforehand. And part of that approach, if necessary, includes a crisis plan to deal with any controversies which may arise.

With all the technology at our fingertips, you don’t have to stand on the sidelines any longer. Start listening. Start engaging. It’s your reputation and brand that’s being talked about.

Gregg McLachlan is the founder of WorkCabin.ca and a social media junkie who loves connecting with people