Setting Yourself Apart When You Share a Common — or Even Not-So-Common — Name
If you Google the name Brian Farrell, you'll find a lot of "us." There's Brian Farrell the Artist, Brian Farrell the Doctor, Brian Farrell the Lawyer, Brian Farrell the Harvard Professor and Brian Farrell the Irish Footballer. And then, there's me, and many, many others.
Among all of these other Brian Farrells, it's critical to me that my name appears at the top of search results. Not an easy task when competing against professional athletes and distinguished Ivy League professors! I've spend a lot of time working on this, and so should you. You want potential clients to find you, not the person with an identical name who lives halfway across the country. And while "Brian" and "Farrell" are both relatively common names, even attorneys with more unusual names may share those with others.
So how do you set yourself apart online from those with names exactly, or almost exactly, like yours? It will take some research and a small investment, but the results will help secure your online identity.
First, buy your name as a domain name, and then grab your Twitter handle. Next, customize your Facebook URL and your LinkedIn profile URL (replacing the random string of numbers with your own name). If you haven't done this already, you may find that the obvious ones have already been taken, particularly websites that end with the .com extension or @YourName on Twitter. If that's the case, try to snatch up domain names that end with .net, .name or .me as an alternative. You should consider taking www.YourNameSucks.com while you are at it, as a preventative measure. Many of these will be free, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, but you will have to pay for domain names. However, the fees are nominal, and once you "own" them, they are yours as long as you keep renewing them.
There are also free services, such as www.knowem.com, that will help you identify different extensions and domain name availability, as well as searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database.
If you find that the obvious names have been taken, you will need to consider Plan B, or even Plan C. For example, seek out domain names that include your middle initial or your full name with your practice area or location (but don't use your city or state if you don't plan to practice there a long time), such as www.JohnDoeLawyer.com.
Throughout all of your social media activity, remember to abide by the rules of the state bars where you practice. And stay up to date on rulings and ethics opinions, since this is an area that is quickly changing.
Next, figure out which of these names you want to use to market yourself. You don't need to create a website for each of the URLs you secure — you just want to make sure no one else uses them. You can always redirect your chosen URL to your Lawyers.comSM profile, too. Once you have settled on one URL, Twitter handle, personalized LinkedIn page and business Facebook profile, be sure to use those consistently to brand yourself.
By taking these steps, you can help potential clients find you easily, not someone else who just shares your name. To learn more about setting yourself apart through online branding, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.
Also check out these previous posts:
Leave a Comment