I feel like I’ve been having this conversation just about every week now so I thought it would be a good time to share my thoughts. Go back in time five years and I’d tell you that having a Twitter and Facebook handle that exactly matches your brand name didn’t matter. Now I’m seeing a change and it’s mostly come from behavior I’ve seen with companies that go through a rebranding or pick a brand name for the first time.
Social Media is without a doubt one of the big customer acquisition sources for companies. Period. Big companies are using it like crazy (Delta has an entire social media lab), and of course startups and new companies are leveraging social in a major way.
I was talking to two startups this week, one doing a rebranding and the other picking a brand name for the first time both of whom would only go with a brand that they could get the .COM, Twitter, and Facebook handle. Last week I spoke to another startup going through a rebranding and they had the same requirement.
When I dig a bit deeper I learned a few interesting things:
- When you go to a conference or event with people who discover you for the first time they often guess your Twitter handle when they’re tweeting about you. One startup told me about a marketing event they did that got over 1,000 tweets…but around 75% of them were for the wrong twitter handle since they didn’t own the exact-match of their brand name.
- Even though it is against Twitter and Facebook’s TOS people are definitely actively buying and selling Twitter and Facebook handles.
- Most companies I’ve talked to said that over 50% of the people who tweet about them use @[brand-name] where [brand-name] is their brand name the first few times they Tweet about them. They might course correct eventually but usually not initially which is when the interactions can often be the most important, i.e. a customer asking you a question about your product or company.
- I’ve spoken to a couple of startups who complained about not having their matching Facebook page name. It made things tough for them with a few contests they had run in the past and unfortunately the owner of the PB page didn’t want to part with it and was also running contests…at the same time. This seems to happen most with companies branding around very broad single generic words.
All of this being said, there are plenty of examples of brands who do not have their Twitter and Facebook handles that are kicking ass so it’s definitely not a requirement for success, but from what I’ve been seeing and experiencing myself, it sure does help. It turns out that a majority of brands (around 55% as of last year) don’t own their matching Twitter handle.
What do you think? Should brands own their matching Twitter and Facebook handles? Comment and let your voice be heard!