There Are Naked Pictures of You on the Internet...

By Carrie Kerpen

...Or, at least, that's how it feels when a company is sitting out there in social spaces, unable to control the conversation about their products, their brands, and their entire organization.

The raw naked feeling can come from many places-- a really dangerous decision made by an employee, an internal decision that becomes public, or simply consumers who are outraged at bad policies, poor customer service, or faulty products. And there stands the brand, completely raw and exposed, wondering what the heck to do.

Here are three things brands can do right now to feel just a little less naked:

1.Listen: Have a monitoring system in place to watch conversation in public forums-constantly. Had Dominos found the grotesque YouTube video from their employee before a blogger did, they might have been able to control and direct the conversation, or at least have a plan for how to handle it.

2.Show Up To The Party: If people know that they can contact companies on social spaces, they'll be less apt to complain about them to others versus contacting them directly. Brands still can't control it, but they'll be able to respond to it better.

3.Say Something: Companies should talk to the people who are talking about them-whether they're talking to them, or about them. Even if the only thing to say is "I'm sorry", at least the frustrated party knows that they are heard, and that the brand is working on making it better.

But the truth is, we're all naked when it comes to social media. But at the end of the day, doesn't that force all of us to be better companies, organizations, and people? The data shows it does. In a study by Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group, brands that were the most engaged on social media saw their revenue grow in 2009 by 18%, while brands that were the least engaged saw losses of negative 6%.

We're all naked. And it's time to get in shape and look damn good.