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Your brand may have already been Stolen on Twitter (and other Social Networks)

by Scott Hoffman on November 9, 2009

Adage’s article “GM, Kellogg, Nestle Beat to the Tweet as Squatters Take Over Twitter Names” should be wake up call for all Brand Managers. The article chronicles the predicament of automaker Hyundai as they deal with their brand hijacking on Twitter. The article points out these other huge marketers have also been hijacked; General Motors, General Electric, Diageo, Coty, Comcast, Eli Lilly, Kellogg Co., MasterCard, Nestle and Walt Disney.

It’s time to explain to your organization that you need to defend your brand and marks within the social web. If you don’t grab your brand name on the various social media services out there, someone else will, and effectively Hijack your efforts. And the people who register your brand may (read: definitely will) say things that could damage your organization. Here are the top 30 sites that you should be concerned with.

There are some tools that can help you on the way. In early in the summer I discovered a free service called Namechk (link to site; link to blog)

Here are the steps that you should be looking at:

  • Register names of all your officers, company names and branded products on the most trafficked social media sites, blogs, domains or web based email accounts. You can do this manually (using Namechk) or by using a service called Knowem.com which for a fee will register your brand across 340 different social networks. (Knowem.com review on Lifehacker) This will help you find existing twittersquatting and cybersquatting and prevent further instances.
  • Get free alerts. Set up a free Google Alerts for your name and get an email every time your name pops up online.
  • Implement policies: Social media is a great platform for connecting with existing and potential clients. However without some type of policy in place that regulates employee access and guidelines for appropriate behavior, social media may eventually be completely banned from every corporate network. Teach effective use by provide training on proper use and especially what not do to.
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