Managing Your Professional Identity Online with LinkedIn: What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Understand

“People do business with people, not businesses.”

Today, people are using the Internet to find out everything they can; and not just about the companies, products or services that interest them, but about the people with whom they are considering doing business.

If people were to search your name on Google right now what would they learn about you?  Would they find any information at all?

If so, does this information accurately reflect your professional training, experience, associations, accomplishments, interests, and abilities?  Do you have a common name that could easily allow you to be confused with someone else?  Are you confident that a person reading about you online would walk away with an accurate understanding of who you are professionally?

You may think that this kind of biographical information is not important to you as a small business owner. On the contrary, it is more important than ever and on so many levels.  For example:

  • You may wish to attract top talent.
  • You may decide to solicit funding from a venture capital firm or other private investors.
  • You may want to become a consultant, author, presenter, or instructor in your area of expertise.
  • It could even be something as simple as wanting the person in the local areas you serve to know that you are a person of integrity and quality who stands behind what you offer.

But most importantly of all, you want to make sure that you are in control of any biographical information about you that is being distributed over the Internet.

A great place to start, in my opinion, is with the professional network LinkedIn. Not only does it rank well in the search engines, offering you bonus promotional opportunities, it is a popular, trusted resource used by professionals looking to network with, or learn more about, other professionals. You may already have a profile established within LinkedIn and not realize how poorly it represents you so you’ll want to reclaim that listing right away and edit it so that the information is accurate.

LinkedIn provides you with a number of ways to let other people know who you are. From a professional bio that you compose, to recommendations provided by your clients and colleagues, to recommendations you provide others, people will get to know you principally through:

  1. What you say about yourself
  2. What others say about you
  3. What you say about others

The application makes it easy for you to add information about your professional experience, education, accomplishments, and interests. Encourage your clients and colleagues to provide you with personal recommendations based on their honest opinion of your professionalism. In turn, provide recommendations for professionals with whom you have a relationship, which will be visible to others in your network.

I recommend you compose your biography and store it in a file on your desktop. This makes for safekeeping and easy updates to your profiles on LinkedIn and any other online sites to which you belong.

We sometimes forget that people do business with people not just companies. Make sure people who search your name get the right information about you.

Protect your professional identity by managing it online for accuracy and consistency across all web media.

One thought on “Managing Your Professional Identity Online with LinkedIn: What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Understand

  1. Hello Joe Demicco,

    I am a student at Slippery Rock University in a Social Media class where we are discussing your online identity and reputation. I read your article and I found the information you have written to be parallel to what we will be discussing in our chat tomorrow. Your knowledge on this subject, and participation would greatly appreciated to learn more information for our present class discussion, and our futures when searching for a job.

    The chat we’re holding will begin October 2, 2013 at 7pm. This online chat will be held at this web address: http://www.profstrahler.com/1/post/2013/09/srusmchat-online-identity-and-reputation.html

    I hope to hear from you tomorrow!

    Thank You For Your Time,
    Nicole Doran

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