You launched your startup, you have a new sleek website (If you don't, I know some guys who can help you!), and now it's time to take your message to the citizens of the internet. Your website is your storefront that can be seen by limitless people seeking your services. But you have an opportunity generations before didn't have. Instead of hoping people will find you, you have a chance to seek and build your audience. Enter the world of social media.
I would bet money that you already have a personal account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other number of social networks. But bringing your company, non profit, or startup to social media is a different ballgame. It has its own set of challenges. Navigating these waters takes time and patience. But there are some practical steps to get you started in the right direction. Namely, choosing your name!
What is your organization's name?
A name is sacred to its creator and must be treated as so. It's important that your username, handle, and URLs maintain consistency throughout your online endeavors. I'm going to use an example from a past client, Wine to Water, a non profit based in our hometown of Boone, NC whose mission is focused on providing clean water around the world. Their website and social media consistency is strong. Can you see the pattern?:
It's so obvious! But I can't tell you how many times I've seen different names used throughout different organizations' website and social media accounts. Notice their Facebook username wasn't facebook.com/winetowaterNC and their Twitter account wasn't twitter.com/winetowaterBoone. The name never changed. So what's the quickest way to find a name that works? It's easier than you think.
Namevine.com is the best solution for naming consistency. Begin typing the name of the URL you want to use across all platforms... and try not to use spaces unless you want an underscore in the name (winetowater vs. wine_to_water). Namevine will show you the available usernames available throughout the web. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms to .com, .org, .net, and all domain extensions for your website.
What if your name is unavailable?
Sadly we live in a land of squatters. Squatters are users who will snatch names and URLs from underneath you, despite their illegitimacy. It's unfair, especially since you are the one who spent time building your brand and company. The hurt is temporary but don't be dismayed! It isn't the end of the world. There are alternatives. Perhaps you can add "inc" to the end of your URL and handles, whittle it down to initials, or include "global" or "international" at the tail. If you're primarily local and don't foresee growth outside of town, add the name of your city or state.
How do I secure these URLs unique to my company name?
When you're building a website, let the professionals take care of that for you! For other social media platforms, it varies. Many times, your URL on platforms like Instagram and Twitter simply reflect your username or handle (@winetowater = instagram.com/winetowater). Others like YouTube require a certain number of subscribers or followers before reserving a custom URL. However, Facebook has a set of guidelines that are easy to follow.
Creating a strong brand consistency means your online presence will be stronger, your audience and customers won't be confused, and it won't seem like you're being hacked by an imposter or fraudulent account.