When it comes to online reputation management, five years ago you only needed to deal with Google search results.  Facebook and Twitter, however, are soon going to drive more traffic and “click-throughs” than Google, if they haven’t already surpassed Google.  The key question to ask, then, is this: what’s the difference between the information that we find on Google and the information we find on Twitter and Facebook?

Google vs. the Social Networks
The key difference is that Google answers your specific question, whereas Twitter and Facebook give you insight into general topics and trends.  Google is still the most important resource for people who are conducting “due diligence” on a company or product, which means that for reputation management, Google is still the place you need to start.  But, in my opinion, Twitter and Facebook are where opinions are created, grown and cemented.

And what happens on Twitter and Facebook ends up on Google (Twitter’s CEO gives you proof here, in under 140 characters), and if you’re in the field of reputation management, this means that you need a strategy to monitor what is being said, participate in the conversation as appropriate, and produce content that  contributes to the discussion.  Today, if your strategy only focuses on Google, you’ll always be in catchup mode.

Will Marlow is an online marketing and website consultant.  You may want to hire him to help you manage your business’s online reputation.  He’s also the co-founder of  AlumniFidelity, which you should check out if you care about fundraising for schools and nonprofits.  Email him at