The first thing you want to do is to stake your claim by registering with all the major social media platforms in order to capture your name, or a close to your name as you can get, on the popular sites. Even if you don’t use them all, or don’t want to set them up at the moment, your name is your brand and you should capture it so that no one can use it. You want to be in control of your brand, not someone else.
If your name is already claimed, you are going to have to use an alternative or a variation. It’s worth checking all the major sites first so that if you have to use a variation of your name it’s at least consistent across the platforms. You don’t want to be Joe Bloggs on Facebook, JB Bloggs on Twitter and Joseph William Bloggs on LinkedIn. That’s far too confusing. Try to find one name which you can use across all the major sites.
If you share your name with a celebrity/politician/porn star, you might want to consider using a different professional name. Otherwise you can spend all your time explaining that you aren’t Joe Bloggs the disgraced politician but Joe Bloggs the emerging choreographer. It’s an uphill battle. It might be easier to use a different name altogether or go by JB Bloggs or some such variant.
What sites should you claim? There are new social media sites being added all the time, but as a place to start I would recommend the following:
- Google (for Google mail and all the other Google services)
- Tumblr, WordPress and/or Posterous (if you think you might want to blog)
- About.me (a place to gather all your social media centres together)
- Klout (for gauging your social media impact)
- a web domain such as .com or .co.uk domain (it’s worth £15 or so pounds per year to register the domain of your name so no one else can use it)
This list will get you started. Do this as soon as you can as new names are registered everyday and you want the best chance possible that you can capture your name on the major sites.