As I've written over the years, in the era of the Social Web, we are all brand managers. While I spend a significant portion of my time sharing the importance of listening and observing to noteworthy conversations and the enveloping cultures that define relevant online communities. When it comes to participation and engagement however, identity is often an afterthought by most companies.
Knowem is a new service that help businesses take a proactive step to securing their brand and product identities across the Conversation Prism a.k.a. the social Web to expedite their foray into Social Media or to retain the domains as assets for future Social Media programs. Think GoDaddy for Social Networks IDs.
Knowem serves two functions. First, it provides you with the ability to quickly search over 120 popular social networks for the availability of any username. The results and status are immediately displayed next to each network. Second, Knowem helps brand managers secure the available identities through a time-saving service that acquires all available domains for a one time fee of $64.95. For an additional $9.95 per month, they will also continue to monitor new websites and register your username on them as soon as they launch.
I a big believer in creating and participating in the communities where discussions are relevant to your brand and marketplace. Conversations occuring today in one ore more networks will eventually augment or shift altogether as new networks are introduced or existing sites gain favor. Having a service that automatically acquires important usernames as they emerge seems trivial at $9.95 when compared to the investment required to promote a new identity because it wasn't available.
According to the founders, some of the biggest brands in the world have yet to obtain their identities in multiple networks. For example, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Pepsi (NYSE:PEP), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Exxon (NYSE:XOM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) still show that dozens, and in some cases over 80%, of popular social media websites still list their brand names as available.
Knowem also ran searches for popular celebrities and learned that many have not yet secured their online identity either. Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey's recent exposure in the media for their use of Twitter has spotlighted and sparked celebrity enthusiasm for using social media as a channel for publicity, communication, and TMI. But as of today, their Twitter screen names, @aplusk and @oprah, are still both available on almost 90% of other sites that may prove important in future social media programs.
Brand and reputation management is now a systematic process in our daily routine of listening, learning, and participating. We ARE responsible for our personal brand as well as the corporate brand we represent. Securing that online brand and investing in and cultivating an impeccable and influential reputation is critical to establishing and maintaining a consistent, strategic, and complementary presence from network to network. It's not just about what's popular today, but ultimately engaging where your communities are congregating. Maintaining a portfolio of consistent usernames provides a seamless ability to effectively navigate the Social Web as one cohesive brand, where and when opportunities emerge.
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