When I was presenting at the B4 Networking event last week, I was asked an interesting question about Twitter usernames – “How should you choose a Twitter username?”.

In my mind,  there are several things you need to consider:

1. Link to your company

If you are using Twitter for brand building, I think it makes it easier if your Twitter name is linked to your company name.  People may well have heard of ConciseTraining because of seeing me on Social Media.

This doesn’t always work.  At the moment, Concise Training is just me – how will this work if and when I expand?  If it is appropriate for more than one account to be linked with the business, I think I would create linked names so MaryAtConcise for example – but still keep ConciseTraining as the main account to keep the brand link.  If you use a name that is completely different from your company, then people may find what you say really interesting but will not associate it with what you do for a living.

2. Use Your Personal Name

There is  a school of thought that says Twitter should be person to person so the Twitter name should be a personal name.  I agree with this to an extent – My ConciseTraining account currently has a link to my name with a photo of me which is how I make it personal.  You do need to make sure though that your Twitter name is clearly linked to your real name.  If you are known as MaryThomas then use that (in the unlikely chance it is available), don’t use mdthomas – I might not know your middle name so how would I find you / or remember you if I wanted to mention you?

3 Uniqueness

Twitter names need to be unique.  This is causing a problem for a few businesses as the relevant Twitter name might have already gone.  You will need to identify a suitable alternative.  When I was talking about Social Media a couple of years ago, I urged businesses to ‘grab’ their Twitter name.  In some cases, it is too late, but I still think it is important if you can.
As a new business, you need to create an identity with a unique Twitter / Facebook name as well as a unique domain name.  Try to make it easy to remember though – if I have to use marythomas for anything, I tend to always use 66 at the end which I think makes it slightly more memorable than 1 or 2

4. Length

You are restricted to 15 characters when creating your Twitter name – with no spaces.  This is causing problems for businesses with great long names.  You need to identify an appropriate shortened version.

5. Easy to Remember

One of the things we want to happen on Twitter is that people talk about you.  Make it easy for people to talk about you on Twitter by using a name that is easy to write and easy to remember.  People won’t search for you all the time if they can’t remember who you are – they just won’t mention you.  Use a version of your business name or personal name or nickname that is easy to associate with you as a person and easy to remember.  See comments under uniqueness above.

There is no easy answer to a Twitter name and everybody has a different case – do put some thought into it however, and think about how it reflects your brand and values.

I would love to know if you have you got any tips to share regarding Twitter usernames.