Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Protect Your Brands Online: Reserve Your User Names

Remember when everyone flocked to the Web and started grabbing up domain names left and right, in hopes of selling them for millions of dollars to the highest bidder? Have you tried to register a domain name lately and found it available? Probably not.

The same landgrab is going on in Twitter and across other less-established social media sites. If you have an existing brand (including your most important personal brand, your name) you should make an effort to reserve your user names across as many of the social media sites you plan to use.

Since there are more than 100 popular social media sites out there, it could take you weeks to go through this process. Rather than wast that time, use a social media user name checker (well, what else would you call it?) to search them all at once. It takes less than 30 seconds.

In addition to helping you figure out which user names are available and which ones you still need to register, the following tools are also great for discovering social media sites you didn't know existed:

KnowEm searches across more than 100 social media sites to see if your username is available or not. This one seems to be the fastest and most reliable, so I'd start here. This is also a great place to discover new social media channels.

namechk pretty much does the same thing, enabling you to check user name availability across 100+ social media sites. I've used this service as well, and it works good. It's also one of many great projects @prsarahevans is involved in (she's the one that came up with the MediaOnTwitter wiki and #journchat).

I'll also give an honorable mention to User Name Check, since the domain name makes me suspect they came up with this idea some time ago.

I think it's important to make a little side comment here. Just because there are 100+ social media sites out there (probably 10 times that), that doesn't mean you should set them up. It's good to have the user name reserved, in the event that particular social medium becomes a critical part of your online marketing strategy.

Social media is the technology you use to implement your strategy, not the strategy in and of itself.

It's also important to point out the search engine optimization factor here. If the social media site includes your user name in a unique URL, there's a good chance your profile on that service will index high for your brand or personal name. For example, when you search "Jeremy Porter" in Google, my Twitter and LinkedIn pages come up on the first page, partially because my name is in the URL.

1 comment:

Jeremy Porter said...

Good, related post about why you need to reserve your brand names: