Knowem.com offers a service that registers your name and, depending on how much you're willing to pay, your bio and other details on hundreds of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and endless others that crop up on the web. You can do it yourself for free, but is it worth your time?
How it works
Knowem.com is a company based in New Jersey with a staff of real live people to create profiles on hundreds of social networking sites for you. Depending on the level of service you choose, they will start the process and reserve your chosen name or fill in all the details you provide, including picture. With a premium package, they will also report incidences of “squatting" so you can appeal to the social site and wrest control of your name or your slogan back from whatever immature fanboy is pretending to be you.
Differing levels of initial service will provide 150 signups only, 150 full profiles or 300 full profiles in a one-time service that takes about a week. Knowem.com uses site analysis metrics to determine which websites are most popular at the moment and signs you up to those, replacing any you have already signed up with from their extensive list. There is an additional monthly service that tracks emerging markets and signs you up for 20-30 a month. A randomly generated password is used for setup and mailed to you; Knowem.com does not store it.
Brand identity used to belong exclusively to brands; that is identifiable corporate names or product names, like Coca-Cola or Apple. But today everything about marketing is changing. People are using the web to put a face on corporations with social networking, blogging, and real-time customer engagement. Online identity impersonation may mean little to a local grocery store manager, but to a newsmaker like the CEO of a major corporation - or any of his key employees - personal brand is an essential part of the corporate image as well as his own. The web creates its own celebrity, and the executives and marketers who understand that are using social marketing to counter the stigma of big business image. One disgruntled ex-employee squatting on the name of a key employee at a major corporation could wreak havoc on stock prices by spreading false rumors. Or less drastically, could simply spread customer dissatisfaction by answering questions in a convincingly rude and arrogant manner.
It’s pricey for a small-time business person, and you can do it yourself. In fact, Knowem.com offers a free tool right on the front page for you to do just that. It searches 150 of the top social sites for your name for free.
Another thing to consider is that signing up to Knowem.com's services may ensure that you own your brand, but it does nothing to spread your message. The real value of social services is in the interaction. Signing up is only the first step. It’s up to you to maintain. Knowem.com does not offer profile maintenance or social interaction.
So who needs social networking?
If you’re in business, you do. Increasingly, the web is outpacing marketing efforts as people block ads, change channels during commercials and simply filter out the visual and audio clutter of advertising, turning instead to online opinion. If you’re already well known, controlling your brand is vital to maintaining your image. If you are struggling to make an impact, social media marketing is the most effective way to put yourself on the marketing map. The real question is hire Knowem.com or do it yourself? Only your budget can answer that.