Lately I’ve been trying to secure what I call “The Trifecta” when I’m buying a brand. When I say Trifecta, what I mean is owning the brand’s .COM, along with corresponding exact-match Twitter and Facebook accounts. Just like most people will look for a company on their brand name .COM, they also look for a company’s Twitter and Facebook account the same way.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen brands miss-out on some great Retweets and customer interaction all because they had a weird Twitter handle. Think about it, when people hear your brand name and then tweet about you, they usually just guess your handle assuming that if you’re a real brand, you have your brand’s name on Twitter.
The Trifecta is important to me for the same reason that a .COM is, if you want people to easily find your brand online and you don’t want to lose traffic to someone else, then owning your brand’s Twitter and Facebook handles is important. Of course, just like .COMs being taken, your brand may already be spoken for on Twitter, Facebook, or both.
When it comes to Facebook there’s not much you can do outside of contacting the owner and seeing if they have any interest in parting with their account. The problem is that if someone has already built-up a list of friends, etc. this may be quite challenging to do. Twitter on the other hand offers quite a bit more hope, especially when the person who owns your brand name on Twitter isn’t doing anything with the account.
There are two ways you can get the Twitter handle that corresponds to your brand, the first is if the account is inactive. Twitter defines an inactive account as follows:
To keep your account active, be sure to log in and Tweet (i.e., post an update) within 6 months of your last update. Accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity. (Twitter)
The second way to get your Twitter handle is if you have a Trademark on your brand name and thus, just like in the Domaining world, someone is squatting on your name. Twitter considers a Trademark Violation to be:
Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation. (Twitter)
In my opinion, having your exact-match Twitter handle is more important than your Facebook username (or pagename) so I’d go after this one the most. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen incorrect company Twitter handles references in a Tweet. When this happens the traffic from the mention goes to whoever owns your brand’s name on Twitter. This is the same as if you own a .NET or .ORG and advertise on the radio or in a magazine, some percentage of people will go to your name .COM, the same thing happens on Twitter.
So if you’re building a brand online, yes, .COM is king and it is important to have your brand’s .COM, but don’t forget about Twitter and Facebook. At the end of the day it’s all about traffic and both Twitter and Facebook represent incredible traffic sources, having your brand’s exact-match domain and Twitter and Facebook handles is the best way to make sure people can easily find your brand online, and ensure that you get all that wonderful traffic that you deserve.