My College President Kills Kittens!
I don’t care if you plan to launch a social media campaign or not, stop what you’re doing and head over to the top social sites and claim your company name and the names of your high level folks.
No, do it now. Otherwise, prepare to be sorry when someone comes along, snags up your name, and begins using your brand in ways you may not appreciate.
Shockingly, I have an example!
I received a Facebook Friend Request this morning from Jackie Liebergott. Jackie is the president of my alma mater Emerson College. Emerson has always been fairly tech savvy and on the cutting edge of new media types, but even so, when I received the Friend Request I wrinkled my nose and wondered if it was legit. I also remembered that in the four years I attended Emerson, I never once had a conversation with Jackie Liebergott so the chances of her knowing me and trying to connect were…well, slim to none.
Still, maybe Jackie does know me! Or maybe she’s decided to create a Facebook profile to build a bridge between her and Emerson students and is adding everyone who lists Emerson College on their profile. How novel! I headed to Jackie’s profile to see if it was in fact legit. When I got there I found this:
Heh, yes. A profile picture designed to show Jackie doing her best dinosaur impression and a status message that tells people she’s out killing kittens. Excellent. Jackie currently has 68 Facebook friends. She belongs to six groups, has 27 photos uploaded, and has some very interesting activities listed.
This is what happens when you don’t claim your name and open up the chance for someone else to do it for you.
Friends, do yourselves a favor and go stake your claim on your name in the social media networks. A few months ago Michael Gray sent me an email reminding me that we should claim our brand on Twitter before someone else does. It was great advice and we jumped to it immediately. We even decided to turn BruceClayInc into our official blog Twitter feed that provides automated updates for readers who prefer to get notifications that way..
But even if we hadn’t decided to use the account, just having it is a smart business move. I’m sure to many people, the idea of having to take the time to create profiles on a bunch of sites you don’t intend to use sounds like an overwhelming and silly task. However, consider the consequences. Isn’t the credibility of your brand worth it? If you’re not sure, ask Jackie.
Or Seth Godin. Seth is a perfect example that sometimes fans claim your name with good intentions and end up causing more harm than good. I fully believe that whoever created the SethGodin Twitter account (hint: It’s not Seth) did it to because of how passionate they are about the Seth brand. And that’s great, but it now gives Seth no way to control how someone is using his name. That’s not great. It’s even less great when consider that the account has more than 5,000 followers. Right now the person in control of Seth’s account is playing by the rules, but what if that changes? What if they start pushing their own content or badmouthing others? What if people didn’t realize it wasn’t really Seth speaking? Kiss your brand of excellence goodbye and prepare to lose the trust of your customers.
Oddly enough, Seth actually did receive some backlash for his Twitter account, especially from people who were offended that he was collecting followers and not following people back. There were even open letters written to get him to change his ways. All for an account he doesn’t even own.
Take a few minutes today to create accounts for your company on the major social media outlets. Be proactive about protecting your brand. Otherwise, prepare to have your best T-Rex impression representing you on the Interwebz.