Facebook vanity URLs, once reserved for company pages with a minimum of 1000 fans, are now available for companies with as few as 25 fans. These URLs reinforce brands while helping drive traffic through easy to remember company Facebook page addresses.
Facebook Vanity URLs, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
For companies today, being on Facebook is like being on the Internet was a decade ago. In other words, if you are a company without a website 10 years ago, you would be hardly thought of as progressive. With over half a billion users today, having a branded company page today on Facebook is Internet marketing table stakes.
In fact, having a company page on Facebook provides numerous benefits such as providing a platform for creating brand awareness, driving customer engagement and messaging distribution, and perhaps most important, access to the world’s largest online community (that I know of at least). Best of all, a company page on Facebook can be obtained free of charge costing only the time required to create a Facebook profile and associated company page. Taking it one step further, obtaining a Facebook vanity URL with your company’s brand can provide additional benefits.
Facebook vanity URLs reinforces brands by including the brand name as the sole distinguisher of a company’s Facebook presence. For eBiz ROI, our Facebook company page is http://www.Facebook.com/eBizROI. Every time a user is directed to our company page on Facebook, our brand is automatically reinforced. These Facebook vanity URLs have the additional benefit of making it easier for Facebook users and potential fans to find your page just by remembering your brand. Best of all, Facebook vanity URLs can also be obtained free of charge (at least for today).
Sounds great, so what’s the catch? Well to begin with, sometimes your brand name may not be available. Facebook does warn you when selecting an alias or vanity URL, that attempting to use a trademark name will result in loss of that alias. However, for small to medium-size businesses who may not have their brand name trademarked or service marked, there is always the chance that some cyber squatter has taken your brand as their Facebook username, and therefore, your branded Facebook vanity URL.
Another drawback is that company page ownership/association with a Facebook profile cannot be changed or transferred between user profiles, so think twice about who within your organization creates your company page, probably bypassing the person currently on probation whose position with the company is currently on life support.
Initially, Facebook required company pages to have 1000 fans before providing those companies with access to create a vanity URL. More recently, Facebook has relaxed this requirement to now allow company pages with 25 fans or more to create a vanity URL.
Even if you’re brand name is available when you go to create Facebook vanity URLs, make sure to proceed with a good deal of caution because you can only create this custom URL once. You cannot change it once created. Well, uh hum, sort of. There is a work around described below based on a real-life scenario that happened within eBiz ROI while in the process of claiming our vanity URL for the company’s existing Facebook page.
The Ugly (true story with a happy ending)
A funny now (scary when it happened) true story played out when attempting to claim our company brand as an alias for our existing company Facebook page. When creating the alias for the company page, the user accidentally associated eBizROI, our company brand, the one used for company pages on all social media sites, with a personal Facebook user profile.
The only way to disassociate ebizroi from the newly created personal Facebook profile alias was to change the username of the personal profile to RichardCNoel (those following closely now know who goofed!), which automatically replaced the www.Facebook.com/ebizroi alias for the personal Facebook profile page with www.Facebook.com/RichardCNoel.
The nerve racking part having to wait roughly 2 weeks for the ebizroi to show as available in the Facebook create username dialog box used to create page aliases (i.e. Facebook vanity URLs). Right after changing username, the www.Facebook.com/ebizroi URL returned a Facebook message of ”alias not available.” The big unknown was how long Facebook would hold on to ebizroi as part aparently undocumented username “aging policy.” For ebizroi, the anwers was 14 days.
As special thanks to Jonathan Arthur Reneau for describing the above work around on the Custom Username (Vanity URL) for Business Pages | Facebook
Your mission should you choose to accept
Step one: go forth and create a branded company page for your business on Facebook.
Step two: get 25 people to like your company page. Rely on calling in favors from friends and family as needed.
Step three: carefully mind you, create a vanity URL for your company’s branded Facebook page.
Step four: celebrate your company’s place in contemporary Internet marketing.
For more information on this topic directly from the horses mouth (Facebook), check out Why should I register a username for my Facebook Page?