This next song’s dedicated to all you small businesses out there who are looking to more effectively use social media and in particular Facebook. Hold up your lighters and sing along if you know the words. Whoa – sorry, just woke up from one of my dreams where I’m the nerdiest rock star who ever lived.
Anyway, wanted to throw a quick tip out there for businesses (or individuals who want to be found) who are using or want to use facebook. If you’re at least moderately savvy with social media, thanks for reading, but you can skip this one – come back tomorrow. The impetus for this posting is that I was helping out a school and probably make this suggestion at least once every couple weeks to some small business.
Vanity URLs for Facebook
When you first sign up for Facebook, you get some really awful looking URL that no one will ever remember. Sure, they can search for you on facebook and (depending on how common your name and some other factors) find you. But, wouldn’t it be easier if they could just type in something easy to remember in the address bar? You betcha – and that’s something Facebook started allowing last year. I’ll always remember the official public launch date because I was staying up after the Penguins clinched their 3rd Stanley Cup to reserve some names.
In the beginning, you had to have a fairly large number of friends, or in the case of businesses, fans (this was prior to the period where everything changes to liking something). They lowered it a couple times to the point where you now only need 25 friends / likes to reserve a vanity url. If you can’t muster up that many likes, we’re not sure Facebook will save your marketing efforts.
How to Reserve a Facebook Username in 60 Seconds
To reserve your vanity URL on Facebook, just go to facebook.com/username. Once you’re there, you’ll have the opportunity to reserve a vanity URL for your personal account and any other accounts for which you are an administrator.
The option to set your personal name – if you haven’t already done so – will appear at the top. Move your eyes lower and you’ll see a drop-down where you can select any business pages you manage. Select the one you wish to change and type in the URL you’d like to receive (minus the facebook.com – just the part that comes after that) in the box to the right. They’ll tell you whether it’s available, and if so, confirm you want it and you’re done.
Update: As of summer 2012, Facebook is allowing you to change this information directly in the Page Edit section as well. So you can still go to the facebook.com/username url, but you can also do it by going to Edit Page >> Update Info. From that screen (which should default you to Basic Information), you’ll see an option near the top for Username. If you haven’t already set this, go ahead and find an available one that you like.
As per usual, some notes:
- Death, Taxes, and Facebook Usernames. Once you set your vanity URL, you can never change it.
- Morse Code. If you’re using multiple words, use either dots or dashes between the words. Whenever someone types in the URL with hyphens, periods, or all the words smashed together, it’ll take them to the same page.
- Automatic Redirects. Facebook will automatically redirect people clicking on your old URL to the new one. Maybe it’s all the SEO ingrained in us, but I would still update any links on your site to the new vanity URL.
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