Weight Watchers’ Rebranding Exposes a Common Username Dilemma

September 25, 2018 · Filed Under KnowEm News · Comments Off on Weight Watchers’ Rebranding Exposes a Common Username Dilemma 

Weight Watchers announced yesterday that they would be re-branding themselves as WW. If you’ve seen any of the comments on Twitter in the past 24 hours I’m sure you’ve noticed the name change isn’t exactly being embraced by fans.  Quite the opposite, in fact, as it’s quickly become the target of a barrage of humorous insults such as only the internet can deliver.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14347011892Whether or not Weight Watchers will be hurt or helped by the re-branding remains to be seen. But it brings to light a dilemma that a lot of new business startups face on social media, one which they often come to us with when choosing how to register their own unique brand names on social media. Specifically, what’s the best username length, and can we help with registering a really short username on social media these days (or, for that matter, a really long one)?

The short answer is, we probably can’t. While KnowEm’s database of all social networks has grown and shrunk each month over the years as we continually track the most popular social networks as well as new up and comers, one thing has remained constant.  There are very few sites which will let you register a username with only 2 letters. The exact number is somewhere around 15% – but of course, good luck finding a 2-letter username that you want that is also still available! Most short names have already been taken on the older, more established sites. The same goes for longer names – many sites follow Twitter’s lead and impose a hard limit of 14 characters, so you can’t register a username of 15 or more letters or numbers (about 35% or so allow more than 15).  This simply means brands have to get a little more creative when choosing a username – something we’re more than happy to assist with.

Since Weight Watchers is very well known and are just re-branding, they probably could have just kept their name @weightwatchers.  But it appears they’ve chosen @ww_us as their new, shorter handle to align with the re-branding. I’m sure they didn’t have a choice for WW, because of course, many prime 2 letter username options like @ww are already taken! But appending an underscore and a geographic location to their 2 letter brand is a common, and very useful, technique when trying to lengthen the name to secure the same username on as many social networks as possible (adding INC or LLC is probably just as popular as adding a geographic location).

Perhaps the best lesson here for new startups concerned with their short brand name is the more proactive you are in registering your brand name sooner, the more success you’ll have in ensuring it’s consistency across as many social networks as possible.  And as always, ask a few people just to make sure they don’t laugh at you before committing to a new name.

A Lesson From Netflix and Reed Hastings in Communication

July 2, 2018 · Filed Under Branding, Online Reputation Management · Comments Off on A Lesson From Netflix and Reed Hastings in Communication 

For nearly 10 years, KnowEm has been helping people and brands protect themselves online from misuse of their names and trademarks. This is something that we are extremely proud of. Some clients have found themselves entangled in conflict that led them to using our services with a desired result of reclaiming and rehabilitating their reputations.

Given the current climate of the world and social media landscape it is more important than ever to choose your words wisely, both in public and in private. When a potentially dangerous situation arises, brands and those involved need to be very careful in their approaches in communication.

Jonathan Friedland, a senior spokesperson formerly employed by Netflix, was recently fired for his repeated use of racial slurs in meetings. Many were left to wonder why no action was taken after the first use of such vulgar language. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, was put in a position where he needed to explain this. He wrote a memo for internal use at Netflix, which was released publicly.

A message in such a situation needs to be effective, but how do you craft such a response? No matter the platform, there are some qualities that are necessary. The message should be clear, contrite, empathetic and show a level of sincerity that accepts responsibility without deflecting or shifting the blame elsewhere.  Hastings wrote:

I’ve made a decision to let go of Jonathan Friedland. Jonathan contributed greatly in many areas, but his descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company.

Here, Hastings comes right out with the explanation, he does not try to hide or cover it up.  Hastings has made it abundantly clear that the use of racial slurs will not be tolerated at Netflix. He continues:

The first incident was several months ago in a PR meeting about sensitive words. Several people afterwards told him how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the N-word was, and Jonathan apologised to those that had been in the meeting. We hoped this was an awful anomaly never to be repeated.

Three months later he spoke to a meeting of our Black Employees @ Netflix group and did not bring it up, which was understood by many in the meeting to mean he didn’t care and didn’t accept accountability for his words.

The second incident, which I only heard about this week, was a few days after the first incident; this time Jonathan said the N-word again to two of our Black employees in HR who were trying to help him deal with the original offense. The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now.

In these paragraphs he admitted that he had exercised poor judgment in the past in regards to this now fired employee and his repeated use of racial slurs. Taking ownership of his flaws is crucial in the development of an effective statement. Hastings goes on to say:

As I reflect on this, at this first incident, I should have done more to use it as a learning moment for everyone at Netflix about how painful and ugly that word is, and that it should not be used. I realize that my privilege has made me intellectualize or otherwise minimize race issues like this. I need to set a better example by learning and listening more so I can be the leader we need.

Reed Hastings sees where he failed. He realizes he must change, improve and grow as a person and as someone in charge of a large company. Will Friedland learn from the situation? Maybe, maybe not but that is not for Hastings to comment on. It seems apparent that Hastings has learned and wants to be better and provide a safer environment for all of the employees under his watch as CEO of Netflix.

In the world of social media it is of the utmost importance that you always be genuine. Even in hard times, honesty is often appreciated. Own your mistakes, explain how you plan to prevent such events from occurring again and you may be able to get public opinion back on your side.

 

How to Research Niche Questions for Better Reputation Management

June 17, 2016 · Filed Under Branding, Social Media · Comments Off on How to Research Niche Questions for Better Reputation Management 

Someone may be publicly asking questions about your brand at this very moment. Or someone asked it two weeks ago and got an answer (but not from you) and now this thread is ranking for your brand name.

Few people are buying from a company without trying to find the answers to their questions first… How reliable is your service? How fast is the delivery? What are the alternatives?

You should be there to answer those questions! Or better yet, all those questions should already be answered on your site for your potential customers not to have to search for the answers elsewhere.

The following research will be quite helpful in both of these scenarios:

  • For competitor research (For you to be aware of their problems and to be able to avoid them or offer their clients better solutions)
  • For your brand reputation trouble-shooting and monitoring

1. Research if Question-Related Google Features Appear for the Brand Name

Google is paying more and more attention to immediately guessing and answering users’ questions. Thus, they currently have two search features they are trying to accomplish :

  • Featured instant answers: A box featuring an answer to the query showing above organic search results (More on that here).
  • “People also ask”: Google is showing which questions users tend to type in the search box using the current query or before / after searching for that

Both features are worth looking into for competitor research and reputation management purposes.

The easiest way to do that is using SERPstat, a newer tool that has Google’s special features integrated into their keyword filters. Just type the brand name into their search field, navigate to “organic”, open the list of filters and select “Answers” and “Also ask” filters:

The search results will indicate queries triggering those chosen features with the icons:

From there, you can scroll through the brand-related search results checking the actual search featured elements to see which opportunity or challenge they pose for you or your competitor.

Search features for the brand name

2. Research Which Brand-Related Questions Users Type into The Search Box

Google Suggest is your invaluable source of brand-related queries you need to be keeping an eye on:

Google Suggest

Luckily there are tools that make finding and extracting question-related queries much easier. SERPstat does have that option too:

SERPstat

Another tool that makes this research huge fun by visualizing it is Answer The Public (Which I described here). Just type the brand name into their search box and the tool will find tons of questions containing that name:

Answer The Public

Here, I am showing part of the visualization for you to easier see the beauty:

Answer The Public

Now export these search results and start sorting them into “Create a FAQ page”, “Forward to the customer support team”, “Forward to the product development team”, etc.

Tip: There are lots of FAQ WordPress plugins which you can use to easily add a separate section covering all sorts of niche-related questions. Installing plugins is easy, so there’s nothing stopping you from moving forward with this idea immediately!

3. Monitor Brand-Related Questions on Social Media

Google queries only scratch the surface: Google and related tools record only most popular queries. User-generated content and real-time search will uncover more problems you should be handling.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Search and archive Tweets containing brand-related questions.

The search query to use:

“brand name” ? -infilter:links -http

? filters out tweets containing questions
-infilter:links -http excludes tweets containing links to only keep real conversations

Example:

Twitter Brand questions

Cyfe is a great way to create an archive of these search results to effectively collect them and use for customer service training or content inspiration.

Cyfe will start archiving tweets once you create a widget, so the earlier you do that, the older your archive will be.

Cyfe allows an unlimited number of widgets per dashboard, so you can monitor and archive questions around your brand as well as your competitors.

2. Bookmark and monitor niche-related reviews sites

In most niches there exist partially user-generated sites collecting user reviews and ratings. Examples:

  • [In SaaS niche] G2Crowd and its FAQ section on the listed service page
  • [In hosting niche] Sitegeek and its user q&a section on the listed hosting page
  • [In traveling] TripAdvisor and its q&a section on the hotel or restaurant page

Niche q&a

I cannot stress enough how important it is to monitor these sites and engage with the community. You need to be monitoring both your brand as well as your competitors!

Are you incorporating questions into your reputation management and competitor research? Please share your tips here!

Free Awesome Blogger Outreach Tools You’re Probably Not Using

June 12, 2015 · Filed Under Branding, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media · 9 Comments 

Creating a blogger outreach program is as natural a part of brand marketing on the web these days as any other. An extension to social campaigning, it is a thorough and honest way to tap into a blogger’s trusted reader base, while fostering a connection and relationship with a valuable content creator.

Pitching to a blogger is simple enough — you provide a sample or trial of your product or service. The blogger writes up what they honestly think about it, and you get to share yourself with the world (or at least that sliver of cyberspace where the blogger has some authority).

Efficient, effective and free, you have nothing to lose! The only problem is finding the bloggers themselves. How do you hunt down those web gurus who have the most clout, while still relating in a significant manner to your brand?

These tools are free, simple to use, and totally awesome for anyone looking to create or expand their blogger outreach program.

Tools to Find and Connect to Bloggers

Tomoson

Tomoson

Tomoson: Out of all platforms connecting brands to bloggers for mutual benefits, this one is the most straightforward yet the most flexible. It makes sure you connect to bloggers on their terms, as you are not allowed to dictate how they review your product or link to you. And that’s the best way to do blogger outreach, but keep in mind that blogs are editorial.

When running a promotion you can tell a person where they can link to IF they want to. It is not required that people link to you because it’s against Google policy. Most people will work with a business to help in any way they can (source).

Tomoson also has their own rank that measures users’ influence which works much better than Klout for me.

BlogLocal

BlogLocal
BlogLocal: Let’s say you realize that a blogger that is popular in your industry is a 30 minute drive away. That is the perfect opportunity to contact them through social media and request a face to face meeting to introduce them to the product or service in person, and then get them on board for a review.

It is also a simple way of connecting on a deeper level that will provide the foundation of a long term working relationship.

BlogLocal shows you blogs in your area, so you can find out who is around you in any city, or in the cities you frequently visit.

MyBlogU

MyBlogU

MyBlogU: MyBlogU lets you build your authority by contributing your expert opinion to a relevant article. It’s a great tool to build your brand trust.

At MyBlogU, there are a ton of active bloggers who are looking for expert snippets and comments, interview opportunities, and a chance to help one another. That makes it a rich hunting ground for bloggers that obviously know about your niche, and so would be open to working with you on whatever you need help with.

It may also be a chance for you to show your own authority and value to the community at large, and start building a repertoire with others in the industry.

 

Before you connect …

Long gone are the days when blogger outreach was considered a success when you got one product review and happily ran away with it. Today it’s all about building solid relationships; it’s about turning bloggers into brand ambassadors or brand evangelists.

Here are some tips for you to make the most of every connection.

  1. Connect on Twitter. In spite of nearly everyone on the planet having some form of experience with this social media platform, not everyone knows how to best utilize it for relationship building. It is rare to find a blog that doesn’t have a Twitter. Some will have several, including those for their individual writers, editors, and founders. You can connect with them one on one, sharing their content, @tagging them, or just engaging in a valuable manner that makes them more familiar with you and your brand. I maintain separate Twitter lists for my valuable blogging contacts to keep a closer eye on them. Tools like Oktopost and Commun.it makes profiling social media contacts very fast and efficient.
  2. Find out what projects they are involved in. You may find that other projects a blogger is maintaining may work even better for you (or compliment your future plans) or you may discover the blogger is planning to go to an event nearby. Whatever it is, spend 10-15 minutes browsing around to see how else you can work together — your research will be highly appreciated. I usually use this tool to find other sites the blogger has. I also make sure I go though their “About page” and most recent social media updates before I reach out to the blogger.
  3. Use tools to collect more information on people you connect. Rappotive is excellent for seeing who the person behind the email is, for example. And of course, Knowem will make your job much easier finding the bloggers’ social media identities with one click.

 

Conclusion

Most bloggers are more than welcoming of the chance to try something new and blog about it. Not only does it expose them to something they may use in the future, but it gives them a chance for fresh content that attracts an audience based on a previously established brand. The key is to approach blogger outreach properly!

Blogger Outreach is an important part of any marketing strategy in this day and age. You need the right tools, and luckily there are plenty that are free and can help you. Try these out, and let us know about any others you enjoy in the comments below!

3 Quick Tips To Help Build Trust In Your Brand

August 26, 2014 · Filed Under Brand and Trademark Protection, Branding, Online Reputation Management · Comments Off on 3 Quick Tips To Help Build Trust In Your Brand 

Building your brand isn’t just  done overnight or in any specific length of time.  Building your brand is an ongoing and never ending process that begins with defining what your brand is – your ideals and goals; in short, your mission.  It starts with creating a memorable logo that represents those ideals and goals, and of course securing all your brand’s social media profiles [shameless plug]. It doesn’t end there – it includes making sure you monitor how your brand is being represented on the internet as well as in traditional media, and keeping tabs on how people that work for you represent your brand.  Honestly the list could go on forever.  As your brand evolves so will everything that you need to do to keep its reputation clean, keep your customers and clients happy, and perhaps most importantly, keeping your core business profitable.

All of these are factors in building a brand, but today I wanted to speak to you about something that is, in my opinion, one of the most important facet of any brand: Trust.

Without trust, your brand is nothing more than a name, a logo, a pithy slogan.  So how do you build trust?  I’d like to present here three tips that I have used along the way to help gain trust in any and all brands I have built or helped to build.

Media Mentions – One of the quickest ways to gain trust in your brand is to list a few of the articles or media outlets where you have been mentioned.  Logos of known and trusted news sources help build trust showing that your brand has received some major regional, national, or perhaps even international, attention. But a HUGE no-no, as well as one of my personal pet peeves and something that can actually damage your brand, is the practice of just slapping a couple trusted news outlets’ logos on your home page WITHOUT linking to the actual article or site where you were mentioned! Anyone can use a quick image query to pull the logos of CNN, Newsweek, Forbes, Inc. and USA Today and throw them up on their site, and then claim they have been mentioned there – and people are aware of this trick.  Customers are savvy enough to realize a couple logos without citations mean nothing.  So always be sure to show the proof that you have been mentioned on those sites.

 


ProTip
: Don’t overdo it, especially if you are linking to each individual article.  Not only will this hurt your rankings with the amount of outbound links but it also looks tacky in my opinion.  Keep it simple, just list a few of the big ones and if you want to list more, have a footer link with a list of “Media Mentions” where you can go crazy.  You don’t want your home page looking like someone ate a copy of every media outlet’s logo and then puked it over your page. Also, if you have print mentions where there was no online content, then scan and create a digital copy of the article where you were mentioned and post it online.  If it happens to be a print magazine, be sure to scan a copy of the cover of the magazine so in case someone sees it and wants to verify you were mentioned in it, they will know what to look for (specifically, which month/volume it was published in).

KnowEm mentioned in Parents MagazineKnowEm featured in Parents magazine, June 2012

Testimonials – Testimonials work great from clients or fans of your brand. Don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial or a comment on your service to a client, advocate or fan of your brand.  But make sure the person who is giving the testimonial caters it for the vertical market they have the most influence in. As an example, I am not going to ask Andy Beal for a testimonial on KnowEm’s use in the local search marketing world. Just as I wouldn’t ask Andrew Shotland for a testimonial on how KnowEm’s service helps with online reputation management.

ProTip: Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask.  The only stupid request or question is the one that is never asked. It will take literally seconds out of your day to ask someone that you feel comfortable with for a quick blurb and if they are a fan of your brand and have a moment they will do it.  Here, it’s easy, I’ll even do it right now…

Click to Enlarge

 

That was the email that I sent and I received back this testimonial…

The first step to building a great online reputation is to secure your brand across every social network. KnowEm takes the pain out of that process.
Andy Beal
CEO Trackur.com
Author of “Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation

Client Logos – These can be VERY powerful.  If you have well known brands using your service flaunt it! The larger the brand the better, if you can put up some logos of clients go for it. The larger the company the better, because their brand has probably already built trust. Definitely make sure you ask the company’s permission to use their image or mention, as a lot of large companies have policies in place regarding the use of their brand, image, slogan or mention of their name for advertising purposes. One way that you can try to get some of your clients to use their logo is to offer them a deal or a discount on your brand’s services.

(COMMON SENSE) ProTip: If it’s not actually your client, don’t post their logo. In case you missed that – DO NOT POST THEIR LOGO UNLESS YOU WORK WITH THEM AND HAVE THEIR PERMISSION. You are going to look dumb and break trust, especially if a potential customer asks you for a reference at the company that you have a logo up on your site as a featured client. One of the amazing KnowEm Clones Alternatives decided to slap 6 logos up on their site as being “featured clients”, I guess they didn’t think that 3 of the 6 were actually clients of KnowEm’s, so we happily reported it to each of our clients’ legal departments and they immediately requested the logos be taken down  under threat of legal action.

In closing, your brand’s trust is going to be determined by multiple factors.  Helping to make the factors all go in your favor is not difficult at all if you always remember one thing: Be honest. The honest brand and transparent brand will always gain the public’s trust faster then the brand that is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

How To Resell KnowEm Via Affiliate Marketing

July 11, 2012 · Filed Under Announcements, KnowEm News · Comments Off on How To Resell KnowEm Via Affiliate Marketing 

Since I come from a background of affiliate marketing I am often asked, “What are some of the best ways an affiliate could market KnowEm’s services if he/she were a blogger or had a mailing list?” So I decided to lay out some suggestions and ideas of different ways that to help our affiliates sell KnowEm’s services. To begin with, KnowEm’s affiliate program is ran on ShareASale (you can sign up for affiliate program here). Once you are approved (which happens very quickly) just log in and check out some of the creative we have available.   Here are a few examples…

KnowEm Animated Banner

KnowEm Affiliate Banner

Having banners on your site will work at times, but some tactics that we have seen work well have to deal with diving a little bit deeper into ShareASale’s offerings.  Creating custom links to pages to show your readers or users the value of the service is one of the most powerful tools our affiliates have used to help them convert better. Here is a quick and easy guide to building out these links.

When you’re on the KnowEm affiliate program page, click the following link (highlighted in yellow below):

Making KnowEm Custom Links part 1

This link will bring you to a page which will give you different options of ways to promote the service, all of which give you the direct HTML code to insert into your site, be it Text, Banners, Coupons or Creating a custom Link – which is what what I am going to demonstrate now.  Click the tab called “Create Custom Link” (highlighted in yellow below):

Custom KnowEm Affiliate Link

Here is a custom link which will show my personal KnowEm public profile page…

Public Profile Link

To create this link I just copy and pasted my profile URL page into the destination URL box, then I decided I wanted to see how many people click this link, so I added a tracking code.  I can not stress this enough, always add custom tracking codes to everything.  This will show you what is converting the best on your site.  Whether it’s banner or text, you will always want to push the better converting link as much as possible, for obvious reasons. 😉

Creating a public profile on KnowEm is free and it can be used as a powerful sales tool. You can easily show people how to set it up and start claiming which social media profiles belong to them.  If you have not done this already we have a great video showing how easy it is to setup. Feel free to embed that Youtube video on your site if you feel it would help your user base out.

The final option is to create a “License Plate” link this is also known as a shortened URL – these are great if you do not want to show a long, strange looking URL when someone mouses over any of your affiliate links.

So a custom link to your profile page will be a great way to show your readers how to claim their stake on what social media sites are theirs, but it will also show them just how much work it is to claim 300+ social media sites, which of course explains the value of our service. This is where the upsell will occur — if they do not have the time to fill out all of these profiles, then we are here to do it for them.

Another great custom link to generate is a link right to a search of your blog’s name…

Username Search Custom Link

All you have to do to create this custom link is go to the home page of our site and simply do a name search.  Take the URL in your browser bar and put it into the custom domain box and anyone that clicks the link will be able to check out what your social status is.  This will encourage your visitor to search their own name and see the availability, once again encouraging them to protect their brand across hundreds of social media networks.

So there are a few ideas and some good ways that we have seen affiliates become successful with our program. As always if you have any questions never hesitate to contact our support team.

Our affiliate program is one great solution to reselling our products and services, but if you are an agency and require a centralized dashboard to control all of your clients’ accounts from one location, then you should inquire about our Enterprise Dashboard. This solution can also be private/white labeled so that you can provide your own branded dashboard for your clients.  This way each client can  login with their own account to see what social media sites they have been registered on, run checks of trademarks and also be alerted anytime their brand is mentioned on social media networks, blogs, forums, news outlets and much, much more.  If you haven’t already contacted us please do and we’d be happy to setup a demonstration for you!

KnowEm Launches USPTO Trademark Search and Registration Service

May 26, 2011 · Filed Under Announcements, Brand and Trademark Protection, KnowEm News · Comments Off on KnowEm Launches USPTO Trademark Search and Registration Service 

Trademark Search and RegistrationYou talked, and we listened – today we launched a new service to make it even easier for brands to secure their online presence in one place, by adding a graphical USPTO Trademark Search and Registration service to KnowEm.com.  In our continuing hope to make KnowEm a one-stop-shop for all your business branding and marketing needs, we thought it was a natural extension of our service offerings to allow business and inidivuals the chance to trademark their brands.

Attempting to navigate the USPTO trademark registration process is a headache – anyone who’s ever tried it will tell who how much time and effort it takes.  Even searching the USPTO government website for a mark can be difficult – so we wanted to make both processes easier for the brand owner.  Our trademark search is uniquely simple – just enter a brand name, and we’ll show you if it’s available for registration or if someone has already trademarked it.  If it is available, for only $158 (plus the standard $325 USPTO Filing Fee) our partner TMarque will put their professional attorneys to work for you, saving you hours of time and effort wrangling with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

With the addition of our Trademark search and registration, KnowEm now offers a complete suite of branding tools – including our Domain name search and registration service along with our original Social Media username search and registration service.  So if you have a brand you want to secure and keep consistent on the web, all you have to do is visit KnowEm.com.  We’ll secure your brand name on up to 300 Social Media sites, any Domain extensions you want (over 150 to choose from), and now we’ll even trademark your brand for you.  We think that’s pretty easy, but if we can make it any easier for you, just let us know — we’re still listening!

TIGER BLOOD: 7 Social Media Identity and Reputation Management Lessons from Charlie Sheen

May 25, 2011 · Filed Under Brand and Trademark Protection, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media · Comments Off on TIGER BLOOD: 7 Social Media Identity and Reputation Management Lessons from Charlie Sheen 

Charlie Sheen drinking TigerBloodI know. Reputation management lessons from Charlie Sheen? It’s almost akin to getting cultural acceptance tips from Mel Gibson. But we live in a world full of surprises. One minute, a disgruntled customer or ex-employee creates a fake Twitter profile to bring our brand down; the next minute, we’re getting advice from Charlie Sheen on social media identity and brand protection.

Let’s hear him out anyway.

1. “I’m not bipolar. I’m bi-winning. I win here and I win there.”

Like Charlie said, protecting your brand across the vast social media landscape is all about bi-winning. Or multi-winning: winning here, there, everywhere. Don’t let bitter people and low-blowing competitors misrepresent your brand as something less than it really is. Get ahead of the game and anticipate where they might show up, or squat, next.

The key here is to work with a multi-prong approach, incorporating your identity – and making your mark – on as many social networks as possible (Editor’s shameless plug – use KnowEm to do that!). Sure, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular, but it’s important to plant your flags on other social networks, too. The moment the next social media darling takes off, you’re already covered. You’re already bi-winning.

2. “I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips.”

If you’re planning on enhancing your online reputation and making your presence felt in social media, you might as well do it Charlie’s way. With poetry in your fingertips. I don’t mean going Shakespearean on everybody – but when you sit down to type your next tweet, status update, blog entry, or snippet of content, be creative. Be original. Write in a way that you know will make you stand out, that will make you retweetable, Facebook-shareable, re-bloggable, stumble-worthy, Google-Plus-One-able, thumbs-uppable. (Anything I missed?)

After all, the more viral and visible you are in social media, the better you’ll rank in search. (Yes, Google says social signals may soon begin to influence more heavily in search.) And the better you rank in search, the smaller the opening that brand thieves have for bringing you down.

3. “Fame is empowering. My mistake was that I thought I would instinctively know how to handle it. But there’s no manual, no training course.

Well, unlike Charlie, who lives a kind of whirlwind, soap-opera life, you actually have the benefit of foresight. So don’t say there’s no manual or training course. If there really isn’t, make one. It’s useful to prepare yourself for online communications crises, misrepresentations, and worst-case scenarios.

Regardless of whether the crisis is of your own doing (hey, everyone makes mistakes once in a while) or a result of some freak on the Internet having too much time on his hands, you have to be able to know how to handle things. Come up with a policy. Assign ownership. Respond, if you do have to respond, in a timely manner. And, no matter how many social networks you’re in, make sure you don’t confuse your fans, friends, and followers by flinging out varying “official words on the matter”.

4. “Uncertainty is a sign of humility, and humility is just the ability or the willingness to learn.”

Nope, that’s not Mother Teresa talking. I swear that’s a Charlie Sheen quote. And he’s right. If you do make a mistake – a mistake that’s broadcasted and made overblown in social media, via blog comments, @mentions, unpleasant #hashtags, YouTube vlog rants, whatever – then be humble enough to own up to it. Say sorry. Address the issue straight on, explain what happened, and make amends. Most important of all, learn something from your mistake.

By acknowledging and apologizing, you’re demonstrating to the public that your brand is actually a brand that cares. Sure, some people may not be sympathetic to your crisis, but at least you’ve shown you’re not detached, or apathetic, or oblivious to whatever’s going on across your social networks. At least you’ve shown the ability to listen and learn.

5. “I’m dealing with fools and trolls and soft targets…. I don’t have time for these clowns.”

By “clowns”, Charlie means the haters. And there will be haters, especially if your brand is so awesome that other people get jealous of it. My advice? Ignore non-issues. Don’t apologize, don’t even acknowledge. Avoid blowing it up with a knee-jerk reaction.

Indeed, there will be times when a little bit of negativity might swirl around your brand on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks – even if you’ve done nothing bad. But if you’re confident enough about the honesty of the work you’ve put in, let the haters hate. And let yourself waste no time on dealing with them.

6. “Marry a tree. My other marriages didn’t work out so I’m going to marry a tree.”

I like to think that Charlie isn’t giving advice on love here. This is more like advice on domaining. And what he’s saying is, look out for opportunities to branch out. Grow that tree. Add new pages. Create sub-domains. Post fresh content. Grow many trees. Sign up for new social media profiles. Write your own Wiki at Wikispaces or Wetpaint. Secure domain variations of your brand name and website URL. Make your online identity – search and social – flourish.

Actively checking, identifying, and extending your domains is not only a great way of protecting the goodwill of your trademarks and intellectual property. It’s a neat SEO trick, too. The more branches you have under your tree, the more likely it is that search engines will trace and produce unique search results for you. And while sub-domains typically fall under the root domain, they still count as search results under your control – and not under someone else’s.

7. “But you can’t focus on things that matter if all you’ve been is asleep for forty years. Funny how sleep rhymes with sheep. You know.

Take control. That’s what Charlie’s saying (I think). If brand thieves and social media rascals think it’s easy to misrepresent or bring down your brand, it’s probably because you haven’t been energetic enough to show that you care. Don’t let them take control. Show you’re made of Tiger Blood. Believe in the power of social. Engage actively with the people in your online community. Win over more fans and followers. Dedicate an hour or more a day doing just that. Certainly, a multi-prong stream of social activity across all your networks will discourage those who may think that they can ride on your brand and do whatever they want with it.

About the author: Chris Campbell is the Director of Online Marketing at Lakeshore Branding, a Chicago Internet marketing company that specializes in link building, content creation, reputation management, and social media consulting. You can follow him on Twitter @chrisrcampbell.

KnowEm Adds 20 More Domains to Domain Name Checking Service

September 2, 2010 · Filed Under Announcements, Domain Names, KnowEm News · Comments Off on KnowEm Adds 20 More Domains to Domain Name Checking Service 

We’re very pleased to announce today that we’ve added 20 new international TLDs (top-level domains) to our free service which checks domain name availability, bringing our total number of domain extensions searched to over 60.  The new domains are a result of our continued commitment to provide marketers, trademark specialists, and branding managers a one-stop shop for everything related to branding.  Whether you’re looking to brand yourself personally, or find that perfect domain name for your business or client, we’re pretty confident that KnowEm is the only place like it for all your branding needs.

List of New Top-Level Domain Extensions (check for availability):

NET.BZ
NET.BR
COM.MX
ORG.AG
COM.BZ

COM.ES
NOM.ES
ORG.ES

FIRM.IN
IND.IN
ORG.IN
NET.NZ
ORG.TW
CO.IN
GEN.IN
NET.IN
CO.NZ
ORG.NZ
COM.TW
IDV.TW

Of course, we also still search over 400 social media networks to find the availability (or usage) of your trademark, brand, or personal username. And we still offer our unique Automated Username Signup packages, with which our local staff can secure your brand on up to 300 social networks.  (Every member of KnowEm’s signup staff is under strict NDA and has had criminal background checks to ensure your sensitive information is always protected).