I spent some time this past Friday with my 19 year old, who is entering his sophomore year in college. The conversation touched on his planning for the future, and how he might prepare for when he will have to describe his contributions – academically, to the community, and professionally (he works as a swim coach and lifeguard). His Mom recommended that he get himself a LinkedIn profile. A great start! Then we started talking about how social media is a great way for him to contribute meaningfully and gain reputation in communities that matter in his chosen career (he plans to be an MD Physician.)

It struck me as a unique opportunity –  that he will be starting (almost) from square one in building his online reputation (he’s been on Facebook for a while.) So, Ta-Da! We have the inspiration for our chat this week!

Of course, building and managing a personal reputation is not as complex as that for a business or a brand. But I imagine that many of the principles apply somewhat to each, perhaps just being different in terms of scale. One might argue that managing and protecting your online reputation will (and has) become a vital consideration, perhaps equal to and someday surpassing the consumer credit report in importance in judging one’s – what? Integrity? Trust-worthiness? Certainly, in business branding trust is the foundation upon which loyalty and advocacy are built. So the reputation we earn has the potential to affect the business (even if your business is YOU) in a most significant way – by affecting the bottom line.

Let’s discuss the art and science of online reputation building and management.

Q1) What things comprise your online reputation?

Q2) What do you recommend as ‘best practices’ for building an online reputation?

Q3) How do you measure your online reputation? Is it ‘influence’ scores?

Q4) How do you deal with events that may hurt your online reputation?

Q5) Does every associates’ online activity contribute to a business’ online reputation? How and why?

Q6) As a business or brand, is it best to leave ‘reputation management’ to an outside party?

Image credit: socialvani.com