11th August, 2014

About an hour ago, my boss and I realized that the domain name containing the #1 misspelling for our flagship website was finally available for registration. At only $15 a year for a .com, it was a no-brainer. I registered the domain name immediately and redirected it.

That made me remember that I wanted to share a few pointers for protecting your brand online. Not only will this keep other people from pretending to BE you, it also makes your company appear more legitimate:

  1. Secure your social media accounts. Even if you don’t plan to use Twitter or Instagram, don’t let someone else masquerade as you. Register the accounts and leave them private, or figure out how to work them into your online marketing strategy, but keep control over them. We use lovecapemay for all of CapeMay.com’s social media accounts (like our Tumblr!). Be consistent, if possible.
  2. Register domain names which are close to yours, especially ones containing the most common misspellings. Redirect them to your site (don’t forward, but redirect—follow Google’s guidelines if you’re unclear). This prevents your competition from building a site at a similar URL, but it also helps people who spell your name incorrectly. (Don’t go crazy with this. URLs can get expensive.)
  3. Secure your vanity URLs. This goes along with point #1. Even tiny companies are eligible for vanity URLs on Facebook. Vanity URLs are the shortened version of the link to your page on Facebook, such as http://www.facebook.com/LoveCapeMay (that’s us). It’s free and only takes a minute. Read more on Facebook’s website
  4. Use the same avatar everywhere. It doesn’t really matter what your logo looks like, as long as you’re consistent with its use. People will come to recognize the shape and colors. I recommend creating a square avatar version of your logo specifically for use on social media.

A note about social media accounts: don’t let your employees do this for you as a favor in his/her spare time. I’ve had too many clients whose ex-employees have run off with the Facebook account. Make SURE you are the primary admin.