It’s All In A Name!
To quote a rather famous Jedi Master “Choose wisely, you must” and Yoda’s right. Getting your username right is really important across the social platforms. So why is it important?
When you’re starting any business you think long and hard about your business name, then you might also consider your website’s domain name – as you really want that to be memorable and obvious. Well, social media usernames are equally important and in some ways they might be the first exposure your business might have to its prospective customers.
Try to ensure that your business name, domain name and usernames are consistent and memorable. There are varying character limitations depending on the social platform, so if you can’t have exactly the same, get as close as you can. Just try to avoid infringing on another brand’s usernames as this could in fact be a hindrance if they’re in a different marketplace to yourself, as your customers could become confused as to which business you actually are, and you might leave yourself open to legal action!
If you’ve a name that looks visually cluttered, consider starting each word with a capital letter. For instance ‘SweetSensations’ is better than ‘sweetssensations’. It’s much easier to read and therefore more memorable to a potential customer or visitor.
Try to avoid using unusual characters like underscores or dashes as these are not instantly memorable or quick to access on a smartphone – although many users do use these, myself included. It’s more likely a potential customer will not think to add these characters into a search and are more likely to attempt to find you as your business name without special characters. For instance ‘icenimagazine’ is much better than ‘iceni-magazine’. If you have been using these special characters in your username don’t panic, because as long as your account name is based on your business name (and it really should be!) then a ‘People’ search in a social platform would still find you.
There’s a number of sites out there that’ll see if your preferred username has already been taken, one of these is namechk.com/ Just type in your username and it’ll search a multitude of social platforms and display a ‘green’ result for those platforms it’s still available on or a ‘grey’ result if it’s already taken. This can save a bit of time before you get to sign up to your new social platform. Don’t get these sites to register your username though – you’re best to do this yourself, they’re just handy for quick searches.
Most social platforms will allow you to change your username (assuming it’s not already taken). Both Twitter & Instagram among others allow you to do this but, be warned, if you change your existing username there’s a few things to be aware of:
- Make sure you notify your existing users that you’re changing your username, so they’ll be able to find you quickly and not be confused by the sudden change – particularly important if you’re also changing your profile image!
- Be aware that if you’ve used this or referenced this in other social platforms, email footers, third-party apps or printed materials, you need to change this too and sometime this just
Realistically, we don’t normally change our existing username (it’s a bit like changing Gas or Electric suppliers) due to some of the historical references that probably can’t be changed and which would then result in you not being found. So, if you’ve got an existing username and it’s working, you’re probably best to leave it as it is.
Whatever you’re considering for a new username, just remember a few simple rules:
- Be consistent across all media and platforms
- Make it intuitive and easy for customers to remember
- Avoid brand confusion by doing your research
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