I’ve started to coach a few individuals and businesses on how to use social media. And every conversation I have about starting social media begins in the same place.

Get your name right.

Before you do a single thing online, you should figure out what you want your name to be. The more consistent it can be, the better.

Instagram is a great example. I have a lot of friends who have one name on Instagram and a different name on Twitter. If someone Instagrams something about them and mentions their name, it won’t show up the right way in the tweet. And some random guy that happens to have your name will be notified on Instagram instead of you.

And the reason I believe this is so important is that my platform developed without this idea. Let’s look at a few things:

My blog = acuff.me

My twitter = @jonacuff

My facebook = Facebook.com/authorjonacuff

Ugh, that is whack! And I would fix them all if I could but I can’t at this point. That was as close to similar as I could get.

Don’t make the same mistake as me.

Before you launch or relaunch, search the key social platforms, twitter, blog, facebook, instagram, pinterest, and OKDOTHIS. (I initially had Google+ in this list but my friend Bryan pointed out that you can’t pick your Google+ name. It’s preassigned, but you can customize it after the fact.)

Doing this is incredibly easy with the site “Namechk.” With one simple search you can see if your name is available on dozens and dozens of platforms.

Take your proposed name and score it. If one name is only available on 2 of the 6, that’s a pretty bad score. Maybe you can find one with 5 of the 6.

Names matter. Make sure yours does too.

What is your score for your name on those 6 services?