If you search my name on Google, you'll find a lot of "me". Brian Farrell is a CEO, an Attorney, an Artist, a Coroner and a Professor. And then there's me, and many others. With 7 billion people and counting, even less-common names may be shared with dozens of people around the globe.
So how do you set yourself apart online from those with names exactly, or similar to yours?
First, buy your name as a domain name. Since brianfarrell.com was already registered, I picked up the .me extension. Or you could brand yourself with your first-middle-last name dot com, which is more likely to be available.
Next, set up a profile on Twitter. Again, if your desired handle is taken, consider using your full name, or first initials, etc.
Then customize your LinkedIn profile URL rather than use the random string of numbers they assign you. There are even free services, such as www.knowem.com, that will help you identify and register handles on more than 150 social networks.
If you find the obvious and not-so-obvious domain names have been registered, you'll need a Plan B. For example, if you're a professional, you could add your profession to your name, such as www.johndoeCPA.com and find it likely available. Or if you're know regionally, you could add your location or city at the end.
Finally, figure out which URL or profile you're going to use to market yourself. You don't need a website for every URL — you could just as easily redirect to your LinkedIn profile or set up a personal branding hub on Flavors.me.
Now, whenever you participate in a discussion, comment on a blog or do anything else within social media, you'll have a vanity URL that visitors can go to find out more.
By taking these steps, you help potential connections, clients and prospects find you easily, rather than sending them to someone else who just happens to share your name.
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Brian Farrell is the Managing Consultant @ FINDtheCLIENT - a sales consulting organization providing interim sales leadership as well as training, recruitment & sales coaching for B2B sales organizations.