Having accepted that Twitter is not just a site for inane comments about what coffee some guy named Eddie Schwartz likes (or rather, which coffee @eddiegizmo raves about), it’s time for me to choose a name to be known by on the blue-hued site.
If you’re in the same boat as me and only just dipping your toe in the Twitterverse pool, you might be interested in the results of my “What’s in a Twitter name?” research.
Keep it short
When choosing a Twitter name, make your name short. It needs to be easy to remember AND easy to type. People are now tweeting by phone, so having a name that is easy to phone-type is essential. That means avoiding underscores (tricky for phone users), and favouring lower-case letters, which also make for easier typing on the follower’s part as the case you apply when typing your username is what other people will see.
Another reason to keep it short
When communicating on Twitter, you only have 140 characters for your message. When you tweet, your username isn’t part of that count. However, when someone else replies to you, your @username becomes part of the message, reducing the number of characters available.
The same rule applies for re-tweeting, with ‘RT@username’ counting towards the characters in the re-tweeted message.
Look good – avoid underscores and numbers
Choosing a Twitter name with underscores and numbers makes it clear that you didn’t get the first name you wanted. Apparently this puts a dent in your Tweeting prowess!
Don’t mix business with pleasure
Mixing business with pleasure means your messages are likely to appear inappropriate or confusing. Remember that just as your friends aren’t necessarily your target market for business, your clients aren’t necessarily your friends either. Consider separate accounts for work and play.
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Don’t mix niches
If you have multiple niches, have multiple Twitter names. It helps to build credibility. Plus mixing marketing messages with health messages, for example, will just confuse your followers.
Using your personal name
Megan Hills was already taken. But I could have tried any of the following: meganjhills (using my name’s middle initial, from Jane), meganjane, meganh, meganjanehills, msmeganhills, mshills, msmhills, or meg. If you are known professionally by your nickname, consider using that instead.
Your business name or blog name
Consider using your business name or blog name for Twitter. But make sure your Twitter username is a clear representation of the original so your clients and customers can find you easily.
Combination of your personal name and business name
Combining your personal name with your business name (or your industry) is a double-whammy approach, enhancing your chances of being found and responded to. Having a name-industry combo is handy if you want to remind others of the industry you’re in and reinforce your area of specialty.
Changing your Twitter name
You can change your Twitter name down the track. But if your network is big, it could cause some confusion. Try to get it right from the start.
Looking forward to tweeting with you soon. You can find me @meganmything. What are you known by in the Twittersphere and why? @yourself below.