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Choosing a username for your business, brand or even yourself shouldn’t be difficult — but it’s often much harder than anyone expects. As social networks, apps and tools rise in popularity, usernames are claimed or often parked — leaving you to spend big bucks purchasing the name you want unless you’re able to creatively choose something that hasn’t already been used.
With the rush of adrenaline to lock in the perfect username, many often overlook glaring flaws in how their chosen name reflects their brand. Keep in mind that your username is your introduction to an audience. Often, an audience’s first interaction with you involves that identification. In those scenarios, you want to put your best foot forward — sweetcheeks43 or ama579283 probably isn’t going to cut it. Try this:
- Consider your brand name first. In our case, marketmox is the go-to.
- Is your first pick taken? Try adding an underscore, dash or period to make the username unique without distracting from who you are — market.mox, marketmox_, market_mox, market-mox, _marketmox_
- Still no luck? Add a descriptor that explains what type of content you share or the basics of your business: marketmoxcreative, marketmoxdesign, marketmoxmarketing, marketingbymarketmox
As a general rule of thumb, the shorter your username, the better. When being quoted, retweet, reposted and so on, you don’t want your username to impede on the message or it runs the risk of being the first thing to get cut. Shorter usernames allow for resharing with your name included — ultimately boosting your exposure — when character counts are more limited (like in Twitter tweets).
Once you think you’ve found the perfect username, check, double check and triple check that it’s really the right fit for your brand before investing heavily in growing its account and following. In many cases, you may be able to change your username later — but not all platforms allow for this. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this username reflect what we want to say about our brand?
For example, if marketmox didn’t leverage our brand name, we might choose something like marketingexperts to connect with our audience on a generic level. Using marketingexperts would still be true to our brand and services, making it a worthwhile trade. However, it would probably be a stretch for us to choose something like marketingeffyeah since we prefer to keep it classy.
- Is this username true to the content?
If you plan to share baking tips, delicious recipes and photos of sweet treats, using fastfitness won’t accurately reflect what users should expect by following you. Give them a fast sneak peek into what to expect with a more appropriate choice.
- Is it spelled right?
Yes — there are some exceptions to this — and it will be up to you to determine what’s acceptable. Even then, double check that the words you use mean what you think they mean and are spelled appropriately to reflect that intention. PrissySarah gives an entirely different impression when misspelled as PricySarah (I read this as “Pricey” every time — ouch).
- Do your abbreviations make sense?
In attempting to shorten your username, watch your abbreviations. A series of letters rarely makes sense to a wide audience — so be sure what you use is clear for the audience you want to reach most. For example, AHA (the American Heart Association) can likely get away with using their acronym if they want to reach audiences that are already aware of their organization — patients, medical professionals, non-profits. But, if they want to grow their audience, they should be more descriptive so as to be recognized by new users. I personally love creative shorthand like cre8 (create) or nrmlhmn (Normal Human) — but do your due diligence before launching. Run the name by a few friends or customers to ensure that your audience “gets it” without it having to be explained.
- Is it timeless? Does that matter?
If you’re in it for the long haul, you may want your username to hang with you. With that in mind, consider avoiding overly trendy buzzwords, faux words or slang. First, it will eventually make you look dated. Second, every phrase has a lifecycle and what is popular now will eventually face a lot of criticism (and won’t be popular later). You don’t want to go down the with ship.
Your username really does matter. Put the time and care into making it effortlessly simple, and you’ll soon reap the rewards of connecting with your audience on a whole new level.