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It’s time to protect your personal brand.  This is a very serious matter!

Domain names

I’ve spoken about claiming your domain name to secure your personal brand before.  For those of you new readers, this means going to your local hosting service and registering yourname.com immediately, before someone else takes it from you.  You can do so for around $7 including tax, with the promotional code OYH3.

Social network names

The next thing I told you was to claim their name on the leading social networks to secure your personal brand.  The reason for this is because the top social networks rank very high in Google, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and blogging services, such as WordPress and Blogger.  As with your domain, someone (a competitor or someone with your actual name) can take this from you as we speak.  You’ve heard the story about Exxon Mobile and how someone registered this brand name on Twitter right?  If you haven’t, read it here.  The moral of the story is that people can do damage to your brand (name), unless you protect yourself.

Check your user name

Now that you think you have your name on various social networks, it’s time to do a test run.  If you go to usernamecheck.com, you can check which social networks you’ve claimed your name on.  Don’t freak out if you haven’t registered your name on “Colourlovers” or “12seconds” because many of you haven’t even heard of them.  If you’re smart, you will take action on the leading networks.

Social network checklist (revised)

I’ve posted about knowing which social networks to join before.  Today, I wanted to add one extra list item to this checklist, in spite of the poor economy.  I call it longevity” or what is the probably that this social network will even survive.

  • 1) Volume: A social network is only as strong as the amount of people that are apart of it.  Think about it, if a message board has no messages or a blog has no comments, the likelihood that you will be the first to contribute is slim. If there is no one to interact with on a social network, then why join? If people in your location aren’t using it, then it makes no sense to join as well.  Facebook has over 110 million users, MySpace has close to 200 million users, LinkedIn has over 26 million users and Twitter has over 3 million users.
  • 2) Credibility: So the social network has a million users; that’s great. What if the million users are people with no status and are not more successful than you are? There is no point in being part of something that can’t serve as a support system and resource for your personal brand. If the people on the network aren’t credible, then you won’t get anything out of it. To me, LinkedIn is the most credible social network on the planet right now because it contains profiles of Fortune 500 executives and leading entrepreneurs.
  • 3) Relevancy: Totspot.com is a social network for mothers and their babies. If you are a single male who attends college, this network certainly isn’t for you. It’s a waste of your time and others if you sign-up for every social network and have no means of conversation.
  • 4) Longevity: Some social networks aren’t built to last, especially in the current state of the economy.  If you don’t believe a social network will withstand this economy because it’s not funded or because it doesn’t have a business model, then don’t bother.  If you join a social network, take the liberty of filling out a profile page and then spend hours building a community, then find out it’s shutting down, you’ve lost all of your hard work. You wouldn’t even be able to direct others to your other networks.

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