[photo credit: psd]
Hopefully, they're saying nothing but good things about your organization – but what if they're not? What if they're passing along outdated or incorrect information? What if they're griping about things you could easily change if you only knew?
Social media (aka "social networking") – including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and others – has created an enormous, global, non-stop conversation. Some of those conversations might be about you - and if they are, wouldn't you want to know?
There are a number of ways to keep track of online conversations that are about your organization. I've posted before about using Google Alerts as a tool for precisely this need, but some new tools have emerged, including TweetScan and Yahoo!Pipes (note: creating a new Yahoo!Pipe is definitely for more advanced users - but the Social Media Firehose Pipe is already set up and very easy to use). With all this information at your fingertips, it's worth taking the time to find out what people have to say.
Jason Alcorn and Shabbir Imber Safdar wrote a wonderful case study that illustrates how keeping track of what people are saying in the social media universe can help make a difference in your organization's communications strategy.
Now more than ever, knowing really is half the battle.