In today’s fast-paced internet world, more and more people are quickly understanding the importance of establishing a personal or professional brand online. Individuals are now racing to GoDaddy and social media sites to protect their name and brand before their domain and usernames are taken by someone else.
Celebrities, athletes, and big businesses have been known to spend thousands of dollars on domain names and usernames as they are an essential piece of their brand and marketing strategy. It is how they reach their audience.
The easiest way to reach out to your audience and to be found online is to have an exact match domain and username.
There are a variety of factors that may prevent you from achieving this goal:
1. Your name has too many characters
Many social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest only allow you to choose a username within a certain character limit. This limit is usually around 15 characters maximum. If you have a longer name, your full name may not fit within the designated character amount.
2. You have a common name
If you have a more common name, you are likely to find that someone else has already gotten started on securing their online reputation and has claimed all domain names and social media usernames that are an exact match.
*Reputation911 Recommendation* Instead of blindly guessing at which social media usernames have yet to be taken, use a name checker site to search your desired username and see if it is available on a wide variety of social media platforms.
If you find that your exact username or domain name is no longer available, there are some creative approaches you can take to make your second choice username the best choice to fit your unique online brand.
What to do if your username is already taken:
Add a middle initial – Instead of @JamesHenry make your name more unique and personalized by adding a middle initial, @JamesRHenry. This will help separate you and your online presence from others with the same name.
Use a prefix or a suffix – Maybe you are @JamesHenryJR, @JamesHenrySR or @JamesHenryIII. If you are a doctor or hold a certain professional title you may want to add that as well and be @DrJamesHenry or @JamesHenryMD.
Shorten your name or use a nickname – Especially when your name is longer than the 15 character limit, you can use a nickname or shorter name that your friends, family, and co-workers know you by such as, @JimHenry or @JimmyHenry.
Incorporate your brand – Help people know they are looking at the right person by associating your name with your brand. If you are a writer, your username might be @JimHenryAuthor. A lawyer might choose @JamesHenryLaw.
Include underscores, periods, or dashes – Many social media sites allow you to include underscores, periods, dashes, and other forms of punctuation when creating a username. While it may not be your first choice, @James_Henry is the closest way to match your exact name.
*Reputation911 Recommendation* When creating your online brand and building out numerous websites and social media sites, it is important to remember that consistency is key. Using the same name for all of your accounts and sites will help secure your online reputation in a number of ways:
1. Google and other search engines will recognize the consistency of your content and usernames, allowing your profiles to rank in search results for the name you have chosen to promote for your online brand.
2. Friends, family, co-workers, employers, and others searching for you online will be able to easily find you without confusing you for someone else.
3. If someone comes across your Twitter profile, @JamesHenryLaw and are interested in learning more, they will search other social media platforms for the same username. If your usernames do not match up, they will be more difficult to find.
Social Media is where everyone is going to connect, interact, and engage with people and businesses from all over the world.
To get started on building your online persona, contact a reputation management professional today and secure a domain name and social media usernames that accurately represent and promote your personal or professional brand.
William DiAntonio is the Founder & CEO of Reputation911, a reputation management firm he founded in 2010 that has earned the trust of its clients for over a decade by helping individuals, businesses and brands control their online search results.