How long did you think about yours? And did you pick a good one?
I’m lucky. I have an unusual surname (well in the UK anyway) and when I started in business I decided to use my own name. So on Twitter I’m @clarelauwerys
(When I developed The IT Fairy as my “brand” I did set up an IT Fairy twitter account and for a while ran two. But that’s too much like hard work and there’s no real easy way to merge the accounts. I’m sure I’ll round to it one day!)
So I’m unique on Twitter with my name.
But I see lots of people who aren’t. They’ve used their name or part of it. But because there is someone else with the same name, instead of thinking of another name, they just put a number at the end.
Take the name Amelia. (I’m using it as it is the most popular girl’s baby name in the UK for 2014 according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS). See Baby names: Top 100 most popular boys and girls’ names)
So @Amelia is already taken. As are @Amelia1 and @Amelia2.
Any Amelia’s out there can’t have @either. Nor @Amelia2008 or @Amelia1992
And let’s hope people wanting to follow @don’t end up following @
So how should you choose your Twitter name?
If someone’s got “your” name, don’t put a number on the end. We’ve seen where that ends!
So first of all, what constraints do we have.
How long can real names and usernames be?
- Your username can contain up to 15 characters.
- Your real name can be 20 characters long.
Your username is the one that appears in your profile URL and is unique to you.
Your real name is a personal identifier shown on your profile page and used to identify you to friends, especially if your username is something other than your name or business name.
If you are using Twitter for business and people know you as a business then you want a name that reflects that.
Or you could go for a mixture.
Say your name is Amelia. And you’re setting up in PR. @ameliapr has already gone alas. But @amelianews is (at the time of writing) available.
There are a number of services out there to help you check across multiple platforms in one go if the name you want is available. Just search on Google for “social media name checker” I’ve not checked all of them – let me know which you recommend.
Of course, if you are drawing a blank at what your name should be, book in for a Social Media Consultation.