Personal Branding Tool | Creative Social Media Solution for People with Common Names

NameChk Personal Branding Username Tool ImageI love it when I’m working online and I come across clever little marketing ideas and tools to make life easier! Today I found a nifty little personal branding tool, to save you time and headache when it comes to setting up your social media profiles.

All of you people out there with very unique names, I hope you realize how lucky you are! 🙂

Personal Branding Challenges When You Have a Common Name

When I was first working to get my business online, I ran into many a dilemma with user names.  You see, I share the same name as an actress who obviously has people helping to create her personal branding online.  When I went to get a twitter name, mine was taken. When I went to claim my myspace (yes, it was a while ago) account, my name was taken. Squidoo: taken, Youtube: taken.  I wanted to keep things consistent to make it easy for the followers I hoped to have someday, be able to connect with me, but I struggled.

I ended up coming as close to my name as possible.  For example on twitter, I’m StephensHeather instead of Heather Stephens.  Youtube, I’m Heather Stephens Video.  My domain name included my middle initial. But, in my opinion, while I’m making due, it’s not ideal for my personal brand.  It’s not ideal for my memory either, trying to remember what user name and password goes with which site.

I eventually gave up on the Heather Stephens thing for my domain, knowing I’d never be able to rank for my own name, so I went for the clever marketer domain name instead.  But after I did that, I discovered once-again, it was taken on many a social media site.

Clever Personal Branding Tool to Find Available User Names!

I came across a clever marketing tool to help you check all the different social media sites and even available domain names to find one that will allow you to keep the same user name for every account.  It’s called namechk and is free to use.  It scans dozens of social media sites, looking for available user names for you, letting you know if the names you’re searching for are available or not.

While for me, right now, it feels a little late in the game to be starting over with my various profiles and accounts, for those of you who are just getting started; I hope this saves you tons of time and frustration while you’re establishing your personal branding strategy!

NameChk is quick, easy, and will help you keep your personal branding consistent throughout your profiles online.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and share this post if you liked it! 🙂 So what do you think of this little personal branding tip?


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  1. Great tip Heather. It can be very frustrating to find you can’t get your own name!

    I suggest that people create accounts on any of the networks they think they may use in the future, that way they own their name on that network and won’t risk being disappointed when they go back later and find it taken.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Great Tip! I agree, Jeannie that we should plan ahead and capture whatever profile names we can on the various sites!

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Heather:
    Fantastic advice!
    I have been playing with brands and monikers forever.
    Company/product names: Tri:Flo Research, BioFiltration Technologies, astre (you have to know how to spell correctly for that one), Adjuvancy, Bicarbolyte, Colyte, Cerebrations, etc.
    But, my personal brand (in addition to the name provided to me by my parents) has always been RAAckerman. Since the days of Quantum (AOL’s predecessor), I have chosen that moniker for my eMail and postings.
    It takes a long time to establish a brand. It lasts a long time (unless you screw up your reputations- and, then it lasts at least as long the WRONG way). Choose your moniker carefully, as Heather suggests.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Roy!

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve not been consistent since the beginning of my internet experience because of all the challenges I’ve encountered with my name. It’s too long for many user names, and it’s common.

      I’m getting more so, but a tool like NameChk would have made my life easier for sure.

      Looking forward to getting to know you!

  3. Using the same name on all networks is essential. I was lucky that thinkmarketact is available on everything I want to use. I am also signing up for networks that i do not want to use now but that i think I might use later.

    I used to search for me. Essentially the same think as name check.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Good to know, Eric. Wish I had known about these resources back when… 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Hi ! I truly enjoy your post about branding strategy. thanks

  5. Hi Heather,

    That sounds like a great tool! It’s not something that I need as I have an unusual last name and I don’t use it for my branding. Luckily “Grow With Stacy” hasn’t been taken on any site that I’ve ever signed up for!

    Thank you for sharing this tool, I’m sure that it will help out a lot of people!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      You’re a clever cookie to think of something like Grow with Stacy! You’ve grown so much since I’ve met you and I love visiting your blog!


  6. Hi Heather,

    Really cool tool.

    I didn’t exactly run into this issue. There’s one other Ryan Biddulph that I know of 😉

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Lucky Duck! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, Ryan!

  7. Great tip, Heather!

    I have found it frustrating, too, at times, when I think up a clever name for something and then, find that someone else thought of it first. And it would be good to be able to be consistent in all the different places you go to or use.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      I’m so impulsive Jeanine!

      I get all excited and jump on something when the fire is lit inside of me and this tool would have been helpful to save me some time/headache!

      Thanks for commenting!

  8. Hi Heather,

    I love that tool, I like how it checks the user name at all the popular social sites, plus tell you if it’s available as a domain name.

    I haven’t run into the problem with my name per se, but it’s definitely a nice branding tool and useful for aliases which is something that interests me.

    Thanks, Liz

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Liz,

      I hadn’t thought of aliases…interesting concept. Maybe I should have done that instead of trying to compete with a celebrity! 🙂


  9. Hey Heather,

    Sounds like a great tool. Luckily I don’t run into this problem 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

    All the best,

    • Heather Stephens says:

      I don’t imagine, Mavis, that you would run into this problem! I had 4 other Heather’s in one of my elementary school years! Another Heather and I had lockers next to each other in high school.

      Have a great day.


  10. Hi Heather,

    I know exactly what you mean. The “other” Gregory McGuire (although he spells his last name Maguire) is a famous author. This hasn’t been a huge problem, however. He doesn’t have a huge online presence.

    When I first learned of his existence, I tried searching for another name I sometimes go by, Joey McGuire. This famous person is a professional snowboarder, and IS active online. So Gregory McGuire it is.

    Namechk sounds like an awesome tool. Thanks for sharing!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      I feel your pain, obviously, Gregory! Having a common name is definitely a challenge online.

      At least yours is spelled differently than the author. I’m exactly the same as the actress!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  11. Hi Heather,

    Great little tool and sure could have used it 3 years ago when I was just getting started. Had problems getting my name as well. Seems there is someone else in the entertainment industry with my name too. Of course, I’ve never heard of them. But was also told to use the same name and username on all your sites so I stuck with it. Just had to end up putting a number at the end of my name. Oh well!

    Great tip and will definitely be sharing this one. Thanks!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Great for you! I couldn’t fit my name and a number on twitter, it was too long. I wish I knew of a resource back when I was establishing all my accounts as well. Would have made things easier.

      Thanks for the comment!

  12. Heather, that’s definitely a great tool for people who are just starting out. It’s great if you can be consistent.

  13. Hi Heather… To be honest with you I think it’s almost better to build a business with a brand name instead of your personal name. If you ever decide to sell the business, then you can sell off the entire brand. Not so easy when you use your personal name as the brand of the business.

    In any case, I like NameChk. That’s a great find!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Dahlia!

      I love your honesty. Thanks for your thoughts and I agree that for a lot of businesses that would be a great move. Ranking for keywords will be easier with a keyword rich domain name, and like you said you will have trouble selling your business if you decide to do that down the road and you’ve branded the business around yourself only.

      On the other hand, though, when we are in social media, my preference is to follow “people” and not businesses. I don’t like it when people use their company name and they don’t put their own name in the profile, or if they use their logo instead of a photograph for their profile.

      Whatever side of the fence you’re on, you can certainly use NameChk to find user names that are your brand or your name to keep things consistent. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  14. Aloha Heather, gosh you really did struggle to brand your name and glad you got that out of the way. You have some good tips here and it is good to know there is a special site for name checks. Looks like someone took the actual domain name for this one to, but we can make it out. Glad I came by and thanks for sharing! Mahalo, Lani 🙂

    PS..awesome we are with the same cool team on fb, Blogging MMind. Come by and visit me some time.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      I will come visit you there Lani! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to getting to know you!!


  15. Heather,

    Half the fun is spinning names into the tool and watching all the little flash “taken” or “available.” Maybe it’s just late and I’m tired 😉 Very neat tool and it’s my first look at it.

    A quick reply to you and Dahlia about using our names; it can cut both ways. There is no SEO benefit in my domain but on the other hand; I’m not a 50 employee outfit. It’s me, those whom I outsource work to on occasion, and some mastermind session people. Dahlia is right, it would be harder to disentangle everything if your brand is tied to your name.

    For me, I couldn’t settle on a name that felt appropriate. I also wanted to come out of the shadows of ghostwriting and some anonymous blogging and affiliate marketing. It is kind of a statement for me.

    Just my two cents…


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Jon,

      I had fun spinning names into it too! 🙂 I agree with you about branding ourselves. I do have a blog with my name…actually I was able to score it as it expired and I snagged it for a pretty penny, just in case I ever want to use it. But this one was well underway and I am not a good multitasker! Lol

      My blog is a huge part of me, an extension of my thoughts, ideas, experiences, and kind of like a timeline of my growth. I can’t ever imagine selling it, but I shouldn’t rule out that possibility.

      Truly, one of the things I like about it is that it’s so adaptable. Clever marketer started off wanting to keep track of what I was learning from other clever marketers online (on a side note: clever marketing was taken! LOL) and it’s evolved into a community of dozens of clever marketers.

      You being one of them…thanks for joining me on this journey! I appreciate you! 🙂


  16. I can totally relate to your dilemma! I had the same problem, and had to create a clever moniker that could stand out from the crowd. Hopefully, I did that with Other than Linked In, I’ve been able to use it on my site, Twitter, and on Facebook, thankfully. 🙂

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Emily!

      I can imagine you had the same problem! I Love your Moniker!

      Thanks for your comment…I’m off to check out your blog! 🙂


  17. Great Post and awesome tool. Very useful for people who are just starting out.

    Thanks for sharing this great tool. Have a great day !!

  18. Hi Heather,

    sounds like a cool tool. My name is not so common although there is another guy in Germany who has my name. But this gentleman doesn’t show up anymore on the first page of Google 🙂

    So I don’t have any problems with my usernames. Unfortunately, I chose luckyoliver70 for my Twitter account and YouTube channel when I got started because I didn’t know what I did.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Take care


    • Nice to know that you were able to take over the first page of google for your name. I’m there but at the bottom. 🙂

      I hear you about the frustration of choosing a twitter name that isn’t exactly the same as your brand. Although I think yours works for you!

      Thanks for your comment!

  19. Hey Heather!

    I too had the same problem….April Williams, doesn’t get much common than that. I thought about going back to my maiden name, but it’s German and hard for people to pronounce, Theeck, and really, no one knows me by that name. There is a very successful realtor in California named April Williams and she has her name all over the place. So April Williams Online was the best I could do.

    This is a great tool and wish I had known about it several months ago! Thanks for always bringing us great tips!


    • I feel your pain, April. Heather Marshall (my maiden name) and Heather Stephens are both very common. Oh well, looks like we both came up with a solution.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  20. I have learned to use my last name along with my first. If I go with holly of hollyfj I have to add something to it. Do I think I will check out your namechk just to see what I find. Thanks. I have never heard of this.

    • Hi Holly,

      I hope the namechk site works for you. Thank you very much for your comment!

      I hope you come back again soon!


  21. What a cool tool. Works great and very easy. Great suggestion on getting a name setup so that can begin the branding process and know that it is good anywhere. Have to be honest that I never thought of how important such an easily overlooked could be.
    Thanks for the awesome tip.

    • Hi Paul,

      I never realized the importance of consistency until I was way into the process of building my online presence, and by then, I had no hope of finding my name. I think namechk is a great tool for people with common names. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  22. Hi Heather! Thanks for sharing this tool. It’s exciting to explore this NameChk since I met the same problem with you. Another thing is I want to make my own personal business card but I can’t fix it since I can’t fix the necessary web infos I should put there. It’s been a hard struggle for my online business having a name of Alexa.

    • Hi Alexa,

      I can only imagine the trouble having your name be the same as a business. My niece is named Alexa as well, so I’m sure she’ll face some challenges with it (although she’s only 2 now so it’s not a big deal yet.)

      Maybe you could add in your middle initial or possibly combine your name with your business name online? I’m sure that you could get creative and come up with something that will brand you and help you stand apart from the other “alexa.”

      Good luck and thanks for the comment!


  23. This “namechk” tool seems to be easy to use and will sure be of help to all the users that do not want to get frustrated when trying to establish a personal building strategy. It is nice from you to share your experience with us. I am sure this tool will save a lot of time for checking the availabilty of personal usernames. No struggling anymore, the solution is here!

    • Hi Kristina,

      You seem to be everywhere. I’m so glad you’re making the rounds on my blog and thankful for all your comments. 🙂

      I wish I had known of the namechk tool when I was getting started online. I would have more consistency in my branding that way. But, I’ll have to make do with what I have. 🙂

      Thanks again for the comments!


  24. I also had encounter such problem and they really are disappointing. Having your name for user names has a lot convenience and one is that it is easy to remember. So if you really wanted to use your name, I agree that adding your middle initial or the whole middle name will help.