How to claim your name – and get found!
photo by Blue.Steel
Over this past weekend, Facebook launched the capability to claim your name as a vanity extension (i.e. www.facebook.com/yourname). To give you an idea of what this means – Facebook had 200,000 names registered…in the first 10 minutes (launching at midnight). Within an hour, over 1 Million names had been claimed and over the course of the weekend, more than 3 Million names were claimed. Facebook has over 200 Million profiles, so they have a long way to go, but it’s still a big number!
Here are a lot more Facebook details from Mashable on how big this was from Facebook’s point of view (they were concerned the system might crash).
Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter also allow you to claim your name – the questions I’ve had from a few folks are “So – What’s the big deal?” and “How do I do this?”
I’ll try to answer both of those here.
Building the brand of you
In terms of why you want to claim a personalized URL, it’s an opportunity for you to further your brand – whether that’s your name, your company name or some combination in between.
If you’re in the corporate world right now, then getting your name out there might not seem very important…right up until the point where you join the millions of other people that have had to start looking for their next thing (whether that’s due to a layoff, company going under or just time to move on). The days of most people staying with one employer for most of their careers are over – it can happen, but it’s probably not a good idea to plan on it.
If you own your own business or if you’re out networking and selling then you probably understand the benefits of continually developing your Personal Brand. Using tools like LinkedIn or Facebook are great ways to extend that brand.
Finally – think about it this way. If you don’t claim your name, someone else will and as Social Media continues to grow you will find yourself being lost in the shuffle.
An even more practical reason to claim your name is that you want to be found when people are searching for you. Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all rank very highly when it comes to search results. Here are the recent results for my name:
My blog and website are first (which is good because that’s where most of my effort is), but LinkedIn (with my name as part of the URL is next) and my Twitter profile is below that.
Do you show up on a Google search for your name? Could people find you if they needed to, but didn’t actually know you? If you have a common name, you might have a problem, but all the more reason to claim it (or something like it) as soon as you can.
How to Update Profiles
Google: A few months ago, Google allowed a lot more information and personalization surrounding your Google Account, including the ability to claim a profile name that would show up on Search (at the bottom of the first page). It’s a quick process – you can learn more from Googles at Google Profiles.
LinkedIn: The LinkedIn process for creating your personalized URL is also straightforward. It’s an option when you edit your profile – here’s a link that will give you more information on how to customize your LinkedIn profile.
Facebook: I did the Facebook update over the weekend and it was very simple. You can also ‘brand’ Fan Pages, but you have to have at least 1000 followers before you can do that. Here’s the background on updating your Facebook Username.
Twitter: The twitter process is simple, your twitter URL is directly tied to the username you select when you create the account in the first place (www.twitter.com/AspireShawn ). Here’s a link to an earlier post I did that gives a lot of background on Twitter.
Other Social Media sites also allow you to claim or create your name (or they likely will soon). You don’t need to belong to every social media site out there, but it will be important to be on at least a couple of them so you can be found. You might also want to consider registering your name as a domain name (i.e. yourname.com ) – it would require you to build a blog or a website to really use it, but it gives you a ton of power and flexibility for branding.
What could you do to claim your name? When’s the last time you Googled your own name (even better, set up a Google Alert for your name, your company name, any topic that you’re interested in). Can people find you?
Other ideas or questions? Share them in the comments below.
Shawn Kinkade – Kansas City Business Coach