At midnight last night, Facebook opened up a new world of branding, identity and marketing: their vanity URL.
According to some reports, hundreds of thousands of people logged on just after midnight and started requesting their own vanity URL.
It makes sense for you to do the same on a number of levels:
1. Ease of access. It’s infinitely easier for someone to find me at http://www.facebook.com/lisarobbinyoung than it is at
facebook.com/?profile=2348970o8yq43589y1q… you get the idea.
If for no other reason than to make it easier for people to find you, I strongly recommend the new URL’s. BUT there are even more great reasons:
2. More Branded Web Real Estate
With the addition of Google profiles lately, it’s becoming easier to get your name on more pieces of Website real estate. More sites with your name build your credibility in the marketplace. Google likes credibility – which means potentially better page rankings and more visibility in teh search engines
3. You MUST brand yourself. Facebook mkes it clear that you can’t have a vanity URL like “Flowers4U” or even a trademarked name like “MaryKay”, “PamperedChefGirl” or the like. That means you MUST use some derivative of your name to brand your facebook profile. You can use a company name to brand your page – but trademarks are being watched like a hawk. If you’re a PartyLite consultant, for example, you can’t go create a fan page and get a vanity URL with ‘PartyLite’ in the name – because it’s a trademarked name. You shouldn’t want to do it anyway – for reasons I’ve mentioned in dozens of other articles. Plus, Facebook has the added restriction that fan pages (not profiles) must have at least 1,000 followers effective May 31 in order to qualify for the vanity URL. They may be lowering that limit ata later date, but for now, without 1000 followers, you can’t get a vanity URL for your fan pages. VanityURLs do not apply to group pages as far as I’ve found.
4. You have more control over the URL identity. Many people who orginally signed into Facebook believed that they had to include their “full name” when they created their page, and as such you’ll see people with really long names on their profile. So if your name was Janet Hills Baker Smith, you can now opt for Janet Smith, or Janet Baker and people can still find you. ‘
Plus for the Horowicz’s and the Yvnegafney’s of the world, you might opt to become “JanetH”or “BillY” if the name is otherwise difficult to spell or is frequently misspelled.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s consistent with how you’re promoting yourself in other places. Lisa Young is a common name, so I opted to brand myself as Lisa Robbin Young. Everywhere you look, I’m branded as LisaRobbinYoung as much as possible. Consistency makes it easier for your clients and potential clients to do business with you.
So if you haven’t already grabbed your profile vanity URL, get crackin. ESPECIALLY if you have a comon name, your window of opportunity may already have dwindled.