Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

If you are at all active on Facebook, you’ve seen all sorts of things flying around about Facebook usernames or Vanity URL ’s recently.  I’ve had several people ask me; Why should I care?  Well, there are several reasons getting your own personal Facebook username is important.

First off, for those who aren’t sure what we are talking about…you can now get your own personalized URL for Facebook.  For example, I got http://www.facebook.com/lifeenthusiast last Friday when they went live.  You can read more on the Facebook website at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=897.

NOTE:  If you signed up for Facebook after 3pm Eastern time on June 9, 2009, you will not be eligible to get your username until June 28.

So, why should you get one of these Vanity URL’s for Facebook?  Here are a few reasons:

1)  It’s MUCH easier to send people to this shortened link than that really long profile URL that you would have without it.

2)  A domain name ranks better with Google than content, so if you have a branded facebook URL you are more likely to be found and ranked higher by Google.

3)  Claiming your name keeps other people from using it on Facebook.

The next question I’m asked is “What name should I use?” That’s a question you need to ask anytime you sign up for a username on a social network.  You need a social brand that is consistent amongst all your networks.  You’ll notice my username on Facebook is lifeenthusiast.  On Twitter I’m life_enthusiast.  On LinkedIn I’m lifeenthusiast etc… you see how I’m branding myself across all the networks so that my social brand is Life Enthusiast.  FYI - on Twitter, I have a profile for lifeenthusiast that points over to life_enthusiast.  I’m not sure how long Twitter will let me keep it, but for now, it works.

Now, I’m not saying you have to come up with some super duper coachy name that describes who you are as a coach.  I’m not even suggesting you get creative and come up with a new identity across social networks.  All I’m suggesting is that you be CONSISTENT.  Now, I just happened to choose Life Enthusiast when I signed up for Twitter because I liked it.  Many of the social networking experts recommend you brand your name.  I find that my last name, Beireis, is a bit hard to spell (let alone pronounce) so I chose a different name to be known by.

If you are going to use your name, then by all means, use your name.  Just make sure you use it across all networks!  So, when you go in to get your Vanity URL at Facebook, make sure it’s consistent with your username on your other networks.  Remember, Facebook will NOT let you change it later, so whatever you choose, you are stuck with it.

Oh, and if you have a Fan Page (Business Page) and you have over 1000 Fans, you can claim a Vanity URL for that too.  If you don’t have 1000 Fans, then you will be eligible to claim your page URL on June 28.   I’ll be on Facebook claiming mine that day, that’s for sure!

Happy naming!  Let us know what you decide and why in a comment.



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