It’s important to protect your brand name as much as possible. After all, you wouldn’t want some random schmuck registering your name before you could, right? Or worse, a competitor snatching up instances of your brand name and hoarding them for possibly nefarious purposes? (“Who would do that?”, you ask. You’d be surprised.) That’s why when it comes to your brand name, much like Pokemon, you’ve gotta catch ’em all.

If you’re unfamiliar with Pokemon in even the most basic sense, it’s a franchise comprised of video games, trading cards, movies, animated series, you name it, that centers around a slew of “pocket monsters” that you can train to battle one another. Pikachu, the chubby, yellow, rabbity-looking character, is arguably the most recognizable “monster” of the bunch. Fans of the series are encouraged to try and acquire as many monsters as possible; hence the tagline, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”

So think of your online profile as Pokemon. Does it make sense for your business to be on Pinterest? Maybe, maybe not. What about LinkedIn? Probably. Facebook and Twitter? Okay, sure. Squidoo, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Etsy? Your eyes are starting to glaze over, aren’t they? Social media sites pop up like wet gremlins. Every time you think you have one figured out, something new and amazing comes along and another ball is thrown into your juggling routine. So you resort to just waiting to hop on the bandwagon once it’s already full, but by then it may be too late and someone could have already registered your brand name.

It’s annoying, I know, but the best course of action is to be preemptive. Try to secure your brand name in as many social media destinations as you possibly can, regardless of how popular they actually are. Doing this is beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. It’s the equivalent of draping your jacket over your seat to reserve it in case the area starts to get really crowded. Look at that, you reserved your seat at the grown up table. Sure, the site may never become the Next Big Thing or grow beyond a niche group of users, but at least you’re being safe and protecting your brand.
  2. Even at a base level, it’s good branding for you. Even if your profile lies stagnant, including your logo, your website URL, and a little blurb about what your company does is better than nothing, and it could attract the attention of the site’s users and result in a little bit of exposure. (Maybe not much, but it’s better than nothin’.)
  3. It can send traffic to your site. As with Point #2, we might not be talking about gushing levels of traffic here, but hey, if a few people on the site happen across your profile and click through out of curiosity, that’s a small win.
  4. That link can be valuable! For SEO purposes, some of these websites can send a little link love back to your main website, and that’s always nice.
  5. It can rank for your brand search. Which would you prefer, a search of “your company name” to pop up your website, a handful of mediocre to negative reviews, and some competitors, or your website plus various social profiles that you’ve created? The more of your search results you can control, the better for your brand’s reputation and visibility.

You don’t have to actively update each one — like I said, if you include your brand name, a logo, a website URL, and a little bio blurb or tagline, that should be enough to get things going. If you really like the community, devote some more time on your profile and try to keep it active. If you have to pick and choose which websites to devote your time towards, that’s fine — focus on the ones that make the most sense for your brand and just create placeholder profiles on the other websites.

I recommend creating a list of every social media profile your company possesses that includes any necessary information so that you know which accounts need updating or changing should anything important pop up. You could obviously go to each site one by one to create your profile, but that can get downright tedious (especially if you don’t have an intern around to do grunt work). Sites like KnowEm are great for searching through popular social networks for your brand name and snagging them if they’re available. I recommend using them or a similar tool since it’ll make the process a bit quicker and smoother.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and catch those Pokemon, you crazy brand, you!