I receive many questions about social media and how to best protect our online image. I spent some time talking with Shannon Wilkinson about how to manage our online  reputation. Shannon is the CEO of Reputation Communications (www.reputation-communications.com). The agency creates comprehensive digital profiles, fresh Google search results and publicity for clients. Since 2009 The firm has focused on online reputation management.


Why is reputation management important for small business owners?

Reputation management is important because most purchasing decisions by consumers are now made after conducting online research. So having an informative, authentic digital presence is essential to reach your audience.

The Internet is an incredible marketing platform. You can monitor and participate in social media conversations about your business, competitors and your industry. You can publish content that helps you to become known for your expertise or excellent products.

But there are no laws governing Internet speech. You can’t control what people say about you, but you can counterbalance it with compelling, factual information and visuals to tell your story and engage potential clients, customers and journalists. That is what reputation management does.

How is reputation management relevant for job seekers? Reputation management gives you the opportunity to present your best self on the Internet. That is where it is being assessed by potential employers. Strategic job seekers take full advantage of the Internet to publish appealing portraits and professional biographies on every appropriate social media platform.  Many employers also value digital skills, so showcasing yours can make you a more valuable prospective employee.

What do you consider the most important thing for our readers to know about protecting their online reputation? The average Google page has 10 entries. The more of those you “own” in your name and establish professional profiles on, the more of a protective digital firewall you will create around your online reputation. So in addition to maintaining a LinkedIn profile, reserve your name on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all of the other top-ranked social media platforms. Publish your headshot and profile on them, even if you don’t plan on using them.