“There’s one other name you might know me by… Star Lord.” -Peter Jason Quill, Guardians of the Galaxy

Here is a challenge that some members of our team ran into when they started their personal branding activity.  You may have a similar experience when you start building your own brand.

In an earlier post, I recounted a personal branding training seminar  I held for my team. During that seminar, a few members approached me and said, “Someone’s taken my name on LinkedIn. What do I do now?”  Or “There’s already a Twitter profile using my name. What now?”

The simple answer is to use a unique version of your name that no one else is using.  Sometimes that’s as easy as  using your middle initial. Other times, it may mean using your full formal name.

One sales rep had to use his middle initial to distinguish himself on his Google profile. However, he could claim his preferred name on LinkedIn with no problem.  He said, “Great.  Now I’ve got two different names to use.”

Out of curiosity, I asked him, “Can you use your middle initial in your LinkedIn profile?”

He tried the modification and it worked—his name with the middle initial was available. We changed it back to his original entry, however, since that was how he introduced himself to his prospects. And LinkedIn is the preferred professional social network.  We simply linked his Google profile to his LinkedIn profile and he was good to go.

Incidentally, this is what happens when you wait too long to acquire your name on the popular social networks.

After we tied everything together, we did a quick review of the process and I asked him what he thought. He said, “Well, it sure would have been nice to know what was available before we started.”

And he’s right.

Personal Branding Resource For Your Digital Arsenal

Fortunately, there is a way you can acquire this information before embarking on your personal branding journey. I thank Sage Lewis of SageRock for making me aware of the following resource.

The name of the site is namechk.com. With this tool, you can check the availability of your personal branding name on over 100 different online resources and social networking platforms.  When you are planning your personal brand or company identity and you are targeting your social networks, consult namechk.com first. This application will tell you immediately where your username/brand is available and where someone else is using it. With that insight, you can adjust and plan accordingly before taking your first steps towards brand consistency.

Dale Carnegie wrote in his now famous book on human relations that a person’s name, to that person, is the sweetest, most important sound in any language.  In this era of online publication, personal branding, and social networking, this principle is becoming increasingly important. Your name may be the most important word in your life. But it sure sounds a lot sweeter if someone else is using it in a favorable manor.

Make personal branding an ongoing concern. Do something everyday to promote your name and your expertise. Become the entity that your clients want to know. You’ll have an easier time nurturing leads and turning prospects into clients.