Choosing a suitable social networking username

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Facebook Featured Posts, Social Media | 0 comments

Choosing a suitable social networking username

Social networking is here to stay. Just like domain names it’s first come first served, and you or your organisation need to ensure that your desired user name has not yet been taken.

When it comes to joining social networks, the first step is to choose a suitable user name which is both available and memorable. Here are some key points for you to consider:

  • Username availability
    If your chosen name is not available, consider alternatives or add UK or Ltd etc to it.
  • Choose something short and snappy
    Long usernames take up valuable characters. For instance twitter allows you to send up to a 140 character message. When your messages are retweeted your username will be included in that allowance. Keeping your username short will make it easier for your full message to be re-tweeted.
  • Try and keep the user name the same across all social networking sites
    This gives you immediate brand identity and makes offline marketing cleaner and more simple
  • Consider using your domain name or perhaps your key services
    It’s a lot better than @user456qrdf and will mean something to your target audience
  • Check to see if your chosen user name means anything else in another language
    Sega is one company that should have considered this. It means something very different in Italian! Also check to see if your user name is a slang or rude term as you don’t want the wrong people following your brand!

Brand consistency across all web sites sites is very important and your marketing team need to think about this before they start any rebranding excersise. Just recently Netflix decided to rebrand it’s DVD mail out service to This has caused problems as they didn’t ensure they could register the @qwikster username on This username already exists and is not associated with the brand. This could damage the brand and may cost them financially to transfer ownership. According to Business Inisder Netflix has not yet made a trademark filing for Qwikster.

“While Netflix secured the Qwikster domain, there is no record of a trademark filing for “Qwikster,” writes Alyson Shontell. “Unfortunately for Netflix, unless you own a trademark, you can’t force a current tweeter to give up his or her handle. Twitter also doesn’t let users buy handles from others.”

What can you learn from this as a business owner or someone responsible for your organisation’s on-line marketing? Well firstly you need to check all aspects of your chosen brand name including domain availability, alternative spellings and social network username availability before making a decision.

A new client came to us with a problem. They had recently discovered that their desired username on a couple of social networking sites had been taken by someone in another country. They had recently started a marketing campaign in this country, and an opportunistic person had noticed that the username was still available. Our client has had to rethink their social networking strategy on both and On top of this they have also had additional costs investigating their legal options. Save yourself the hassle, just register them all now!

There are a few tasks you can undertake to help check for availability:

If you or your organisation would like to discuss your company’s social networking campaign, why not contact us?

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