Be aware what you publish online

Author -  Linda Coles [Guest]


Watch out, watch out, web watchers about ...

Call them what you like, web watchers, social stalkers or plain and simple voyeurs; they are all doing the same thing - watching you online!

That’s not meant to sound creepy; I refer to those people that are quite happy cruising around the web and watching what is being said and what others are up to in either a business sense or social sense, it really doesn’t matter. 

It took me a little while to realize that these web watchers are out there, soaking up some of the best information available, and using it to achieve something in particular, but they never let on that they are there. You might find them in LinkedIn groups, industry forums, or as fans on Facebook pages they are interested in, but they are there.

Let me give you an example or two. Only recently I was attending a conference in New York and obviously needed a place to stay, so I searched Google for hotels in the area I wanted to be in. I narrowed my search down to three hotels of which there really wasn’t much between them. They were similar prices, had similar facilities and in a similar location. How was I going to choose which one? Who has a Facebook page that I can visit to see actual customer experiences and comments? 

Only one did, and on visiting that page, I could see that the hotel itself was being helpful by adding information about local events and attractions, as well as comments from happy customers who had thought the hotel and staff were great. Not only that, but if you mentioned Facebook at the time of making your booking, you got a free upgrade!

At this stage, I am just a web watcher. But I now have a good reason to start participating and let the hotel know I exist. After making my booking, I then communicated further with them through their Facebook page rather than email, very often quicker and easier with some companies. 

I’ve copied this next story from my book “Learn marketing with social media in 7 days”. During a recent conversation with a company director, he told me about a prospect that had called him after doing his due diligence on his company. If he was going to part with a large amount of money, he wanted to see if the company practiced what it preached.

He looked at the team’s LinkedIn profiles to see if they were all of the same standard and displayed the same company message, that the company Facebook page followed suit, and maybe even looked at some of the other sites to see if everything was ‘on message’. 

It wasn’t. It wasn’t consistent all the way through. Now if that person had not picked up the phone and called the director to tell him what he’d found, he may have simply just decided to not become a client and no-one would be any the wiser. What it did do was make the director’s company sit up and take note that it needed to get its message consistent, and pronto. How many other prospects has it lost that they don’t know about because its social media message was not consistent?

My point? Remember they are there. They are possibly your business prospects just watching how you operate and work with others before they decide to commit to your product or service. Be aware that not everyone out there on the web is happy to make themselves known to you, you simply don’t know who is taking in what you or your business is doing, good and bad.


Linda Coles is an International Speaker, Author and Consultant at Blue Banana

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