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What’s the best way to monitor and protect our organisation’s reputation?

Communications Specialist Julie Weldon offers some top tips on how to find out what people are saying about you.  Let’s face it – people talk. And if you’re doing good work, you want them to be talking about you. But you also need to know if they are less than complimentary.

The relationships that you and your organisation have are key in managing and, just as importantly, monitoring your reputation. 

Your communications strategy must allow for the proactive cultivation of your relationships across your internal and external channels. When it comes to reputation, you get what you give.

Your employees are your greatest asset and should be the starting point for evaluating your reputation. 

Employees can be your cheerleaders and naysayers online and offline – and you have the power to influence what they’re saying about you. Communicating with them transparently and regularly keeps them engaged and can surface issues before they reach a crisis point.

So, how else can you influence what people are saying about you? And where they are saying it?

Here are a few options, including some free tools:


This free service allows you to nominate specific search terms. Think laterally and search widely. If your organisation has an acronym, include it, add your CEO’s name, your chairperson, any staff or directors who are relatively high-profile, as well as product or service names that are unique to you and might be used in isolation. For example, Apple would have an alert for iPhone. Scan broadly, not just the media or social media – online forums like Whirlpool are still used, despite Reddit being a more popular worldwide option.


Search on the common platforms for the same terms as the Google Alert. You might pick up mentions in groups or other people’s pages. Even if the account might be private, you’ll know that you were mentioned and can look further.


Ask for feedback, and make sure inquiries and feedback are monitored and that you respond. Check your phone messages regularly too. People will usually first try to tackle issues directly, resorting to more public channels if you aren’t responsive.


For example, if your events have always been oversubscribed but suddenly tickets aren’t selling, or members or subscribers aren’t renewing, it’s worth doing some digging. There may be an innocent explanation, but there may also be something bubbling away underneath.


You can do this yourself, to some extent, using tools like HootSuite (who offer NFP rates) to create searches on key terms and monitor social conversations. There are DIY media monitoring services too, although they do come at a cost. You can do this yourself, to some extent, using tools like HootSuite (who offer NFP rates) to create searches on key terms and monitor social conversations. There are DIY media monitoring services too, although they do come at a cost. 

A PR agency can do these things for you and will often have systems they subscribe to that enable you to gain more insights, but that will come at a cost.


Seek first to understand, then to be understood. 

If you want to take monitoring and protection of your reputation to the next level and can afford it, consider focus groups or surveys. This may all seem like a lot of work, but if you’re not actively listening to what people are saying, you can’t control the narrative or expect to have influence.

Finally, what if you do find people are saying something negative about you? 

As a general rule, we recommend that you proactively engage with and respond to the feedback. The less you say, the greater the vacuum for people to fill – your words matter. Maintaining your reputation relies on reaction, response and reassurance.


  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  2. To control the narrative, you need to know what people are saying.
  3. If you’re not actively listening, you need to be.
  4. There are many tools available, from free options to paid services.
  5. If you find an issue, you must respond.

Extra help from THE X-CHANGE Video Library:


Julie Weldon is an experienced communications consultant and a foundation member of The Xfactor Collective.  All specialists can be contacted through our custom-built Platform. 

Need help in your organisation? Not sure where to start. We run the sector’s first specialist triage support service (our CONCIERGE) where we can help you find support from a range of services and solutions.


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