Cathy Larkin’s Web Savvy PR Tip 1 – Social Branding

Web Savvy PR & Social Branding Tip #1:

Original Twitter.com post: #WebSavvyPRTip 1- To build online brand & extend influence, use same username/ profile 4 all social Media sites http://websavvypr.com 4 more

To build an online audience, expand your brand, and create repeat visitors, try using the same or similar usernames, and similar profile wording for each social media / social networking / social bookmarking site you join. If you already have a long-time presence on several sites, consider ways you can update them to build a more consistent presence; it may also help boost your organic search engine ranking. Work keywords for your area of expertise and interests into your profile.

More detail on Social Branding:

I try and sign up with my first, or my first and last name, followed by my blog/website handle (I sometimes use web handle as a part of either my first or last name). So on Twitter I am CathyWebSavvyPR (It looked too long with Larkin, so I left it off (maybe rightly, maybe wrongly). I noticed someone else doing it on LinkedIn (but just with company name – not personal name), I think it was “The Publicity Hound,” and when she answered a question, her “handle” intrigued me enough to check out her website. I know there are many opinions out there on this already.

You don’t have to use your real name in your username, but don’t forget to add it to your profile. For my online and traditional PR business, I feel it is necessary. Especially since there are a couple of folks out there online with the same first and last name as I have. This will, over time, help folks to distinguish us from each other.

Many folks in the social media landscape are using their full names as their usernames.  This has advantages for building your personal brand, and some disadvantages.  www.chrisbrogan.com for example. Some people with common names may find theirs is already taken, or snagged by a domain reseller, both of which complicate things.

Pros – If your info is good, if you provide value to your readers, your name and authority will grow.

Cons – however, it may take you longer to get established. A username that includes something about what you have to offer (as long as you back it up with good content) can help your influence gow by leaps and bounds.

Cons – if you are one of those planning to build and sell a businessyou can’t sell your name – but a website URL and social media handles along with it – that can work. But i is chancey – As we know Social media is based on reputation – that empire you built may cruble after the sale, if the new owners don’t follow though. Result – lots of upset subscribers.

With social networking and bookmarking sites in general, be sure to fill out the part of the profile that includes the link to your blog/website, or to your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, so if someone likes what they read on whichever social media site you are on, find and check the rest of your info out. Of course some sites only let you use your full name. In that case note your username/handle in your profile write up.  Also use widgets and apps (simple tools sites provide) to link your various networks together.

Social Branding Questions for You:

What about just company names with a logo, no photo and no person’s name on the account. I find I am less inclined to subscribe, follow or friend them – unless they really provide value, or if I already really like the company, and they provide value.  What’s your reaction?

Is the practice of a business name and first name too in your face? or is it a happy medium?

Does this annoy you when you see it done?

Or does it help you:

A) have a clue about what someone does/who they are? Or help clue you in about their expertise?

B) Help you recognize and connect with folks you may have seen on other sites?

Transparency and authenticity are crucial in social media, social networking arena. Don’t hide behind a company, or a profile name.  We all make mistakes, but that one can be a killer. As a PR professional, I always disclose if I an talking about a client.  Sometimes that can be challenging – especially on sites like Twitter.com, where posts are limited to 140 characters and spaces.

Agree or disagree with this – you tell me?

P.S. I’m putting short versions of these on Twitter and expanding on them here on my blog – for the Web Savvy PR Intro go to http://websavvypr.com/cathy-larkin-web-savvy-pr-tips-series/pr-tips/admin/2008/12/

Or check out the conversation on twitter as the series growshttp://search.twitter.com/ Then you’ll have to copy and paste or type in the # sign like so:  #websavvyprtip to see the series and any conversations around the posts on that service, as the series grows.

About Cathy Larkin:

In her Web Savvy PR business, Cathy Larkin acts as a Social Media Guide using her 18 + years of PR experience, combined with an intense study of social media, to assist small businesses, non-profits, authors, bloggers, consltants, and speakers get online and use the tools that are right for them, to help expand their brands, build their businesses and have a blast while doing so. Also check http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin for more on her background. Check out her short posts on the micro blogging service Twitter too http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR.

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