Putting A Name With A Face(book)

As of last Saturday, Facebook began offering the chance to add a branding component to your Page. The Facebook blog says:

“…This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you. We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future….people can enter a Facebook username as a search term on Facebook or a popular search engine like Google…”

Now you can choose a username on a first-come, first-serve basis for your profile and the Facebook Pages that you administer by visiting www.facebook.com/username/.

Why should you select and register a username? 360i’s David Berkowitz writing in today’s AdAge highlights notes that “the most important reason is brand protection. If your company is Acme Widgets, you can claim facebook.com/acme or facebook.com/acmewidgets . The other key reason is for brand promotion. The Facebook username can be promoted through other marketing channels online and offline.”

But, there’s a hitch: your page must have been live on Facebook with at least 1,000 fans as of May 31.  If you missed the date or the fan cut-off, don’t worry because Berkowitz adds that “Facebook is increasingly vigilant about protecting marketers’ brands. On its FAQ , Facebook offers a number of measures for trademark owners to report infringement.” Berkowitz suggests some action steps:

Plan of Action
If you have a page with 1,000 fans as of the end of May:

  • Read the Facebook FAQ. There are important rules regulating usernames; for instance, generic terms such as “pizza” aren’t allowed.
  • Determine the username — one that adheres to Facebook’s terms and best represents the brand. If you run traditional media, think about what would look good on a billboard or TV spot, or sound good on the radio.
  • Decide which of your page administrators is reliable, really understands Facebook and will be available at 12:01 a.m. ET June 13 or very soon after.
  • Make the change. And be very careful — a typo could be irreversible.
  • Check Monday and periodically thereafter to see if any of your trademarks were registered by others.

If you don’t have a page, or it didn’t hit 1,000 fans:

  • Consider whether it makes sense to have a page, or if you do have one, consider ways to grow the fans. Some strategies are discussed in 360i’s Social Marketing Playbook . Facebook will undoubtedly create new windows for claiming vanity URLs, so it’s not too late.
  • Scan Facebook for any trademark infringement violations in the meantime.
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