Usernames are a natural extension of your online brand, an idea we discussed in Check Please (sadly, usernamecheck is now defunct). Many people are happy to ride on the coattails of your brand’s success, so securing your username across the web is just a smart move – even if you don’t use a particular site or service (yet).
Let’s cover the primary bases first. MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, and Twitter are all well-known and widely-adopted platforms. We’ve looked at each as an individual marketing tool, but the idea here is sign-up for all these services with a consistent username. Why? Well, for starters, try Googling your username and see what comes back. I yield more search results for my brand name, “feed growth”, because I’ve made it my default username when demoing various products for the site. Never mind those chicken feed hormone results.
If you already have accounts with these services, shift your focus to online forums and communities. Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, Yelp, and Flickr are a good place to start. However, if your know your crowd, target niche sites. Gooruze is an online marketing forum, while Fabsugar (part of the Sugar, Inc. publishing) caters to the fashion-forward. The added benefit of including forums and communities in your strategy is the free marketing. You can engage users in conversation, raise brand awareness, and by including a link with your post, drive traffic back to your site.
Almost all these services are free, and with a minimal time investment, you can secure your branded username rather easily.