It’s on my profile, but I’ll tell you again—an attorney I am not. From a legal standpoint, I’m not qualified to tell you why brands and/or businesses should grab their social network names while they are still available (Dan Kelly is, and he’ll be tackling that on Friday). However, I am qualified to tell you why from a marketing perspective.
If you are a business or brand (individual or corporation), and you are either on any social network or plan to do any social networking, you need to grab your name while it’s still available.
Why now? Google+ just allowed users to create a page for their businesses (you could have guessed that from the name. You can find how to add a G+ business on Mashable.) There are still kinks to be worked out, and as my friend Heather Morse said, “the biggest downside is that it’s just one more page to maintain.” Despite the annoyance of having to spend time maintaining, there are more pros than cons when determining whether your biz should grab its name on a social network.
There are multiple ways in which grabbing your social network name will help with search. When it comes to searching within the social network, your branded and written content will show up on top of pages you might not have had anything to do with. For example, if you’re on Facebook and want to find “Winthrop & Weinstine,” when you type our firm’s name in the search bar, our page—versus our Google listing or another business page that we didn’t create—is on the top of the list. (This involves actually doing something with your page, just so you know.) This is great for awareness of your biz. And I’m sure Steve would agree, a great reinforcement of your brand’s name.
The other component to search is “search engine optimization,” or SEO. Your business’s name is more likely to be at the top of the search results list (especially if you’re on a large social network) if it’s listed on multiple sites. And having incoming links to your website from Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc., isn’t going to hurt, either.
Side note: In the works for Google: G+ Direct Connect, which would integrate with the biggest search engine (Google, of course). It’s in development, but if it were to launch, users could type in “+[brand name]” and be taken directly to that brand’s G+ page. (h/t to Tom Matte.)
Let me start off by saying you can’t control everything. But…the more content you put out there, the more likely the content you produced will show up on top. And (this is probably the biggest thing), you are controlling your business page. The listing that appears first won’t be the content that’s pulled from any database or run by someone else (like Wikipedia descriptions…which, while you’re at it, should be edited). You can control what users see (for the most part) and make it more cohesive to your brand.
On many of these social networks (including Facebook and even Yelp), a page is created for your business whether you approved it or not. It’s there—so get the most use out of it. (And hey, you might as well disseminate appropriate content while you’re out there.)
It’s also better if the actual business takes over its page, and not someone who hates the brand or product, or is trying to capitalize on the business name.
Your turn. Advocates—what are your reasons for grabbing your name or your businesses name on social networks? Opposers—what are the benefits of not grabbing your name?
[image, once again, courtesy of someecards]