Like most companies these days your social media strategy probably involves multiple platforms, be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and beyond. The question I ask is, do these social accounts share a common username? Or are they a mishmash of whatever was available? Maybe you got your preferred username on Twitter, but couldn’t do the same on Instagram as that username was already taken. While ideally you’d like to be able to snag the username of choice on every platform you use, sometimes that’s not viable for companies that might have competition for their username.
Cross Platform Compatibility
One thing I’m a big advocate of is cross pollinating multiple social channels. If you can share the same message from one to the next that’s a great way of optimizing your social efforts. Where the problem pops up is what if other users want to take your content and share it on another social platform? If someone uses a service like IFTTT(If This Then That), will they be able to connect with you on different platforms? One strategy I like using is to post an Instagram photo, then use IFTTT to post a native photo to Twitter. If I @ mention another user on Instagram, will they actually have the same username on Twitter? If they don’t, then the tweet will show a broken @username in the tweet and nobody gets notified of the interaction. Ideally you want to make it easy for users to interact with your business without creating friction.
DIfferent Username Syntax On Different Platforms
An issue you might run into is each different social platform has slightly different allowable usernames. On Twitter only alphanumeric characters and underscores are allowed. On Instagram there’s an added wrinkle that on top of alphanumeric and underscores, you can use periods. Then Facebook allows dashes instead of underscores. Really the only way to make sure you have a username that is compatible on all platforms is to stick to alphanumeric characters. You may end up with something longer, but at very least it will be unique to your business.
You Can Change Usernames
While this is a step that can be fraught with peril, it may be worth doing for your business. Changing your username can cause the issue of missed interactions with people. But on the plus side you won’t be losing any followers by making the change, everything about your account stays the same online, just the username changes. On Twitter and Instagram making the change is pretty trivial. On Facebook it’s more of a one and done thing, as you’re not allowed to make more than one username change. So if you take this step, make sure to get it right the first time around.
Update Your Messaging
After you make the change be sure to tell your followers. Be transparent that you made the change and keep them up to date. You definitely want them on board and know what’s going on. Then comes the painful part. If you’ve invested in signage in your store or business cards with your social accounts you’ll probably have to get them updated.
While updating your social usernames may be a pain, it does come with some added benefits. You’ll be easier to find online. If a customer knows your username on one platform they will be able to find you on the next they wish to connect with you on. Finding something unique to your business also helps you reinforce your branding. Being able to concisely point someone to your social media accounts with a single username versus telling them 2 or 3 different usernames will just help ease confusion and remove friction from connecting with your brand online.