You’ve got a business idea and you’ve got a name for the brand.
You register the domain and business aaaaand…. Oh phooey! Someone already has your name on social media sites. Looks like that Facebook page is no good. Gah! Someone also has it on Twitter, too! Surely Instagram? Nope, not there either.
If someone tried searching they’d get mixed messages about you. That could hurt the business.
Checking if your name is available with a social media username search tool is commonly overlooked.
Suppose your business got popular but the social was an afterthought – you:
- Won’t get the name you want
- Must settle for something less
- Spend money to buy the name
This quick post will explain how to go about checking your name on social channels. You’ll also get to see how a social media name checker tool can help. And, what you can do if someone has your name.
Part 1: Doing a Preliminary Search for Your Name on Social and Search
Your task is to visit the major social media channels and do a basic search for your name. You’d use the site’s search features. If nothing appears you may be in luck.
You’ll also want to do a Google search using your name in quotations – like “Murray Lunn”. This displays any webpage featuring your name. Those wanting a deep search can use people search engines and a few extra Google tricks like reverse image search.
You now have a basic understanding of what personal information is online. Plus, whether someone else has your name, created a fake profile, or abandoned one using your name.
Part 2: Using a Social Name Checker to See What’s Available
The tool we’re using is Namecheckr.com.
Visit the site and type in your brand name, click the magnifying glass, and see your results.
Namecheckr will see if your brand is available on the major social networks. Plus, the availability of domain names, niche social media channels, and other popular online platforms. You can click on each of the platform’s icons to learn how to sign up for each.
You could also use other name checker tools like:
These social media username search tools have the same features as Namecheckr.
Know what also make these tools great?
- Kick around social media name ideas
- Check in on the competition
You could see platforms your competition is on letting you join and build a following. These smaller channels may not have the big numbers but can have higher engagement. If you notice your competition is active on smaller channels then it’s likely it’s worth the time and resources!
Part 3: How to (Sometimes) Claim Your Name if It’s Been Taken
Is it possible to recover a social media profile using your name? Kind of.
It’s hard to tell if someone retains access to a profile. This is the issue with attempting recovery of your name’s social handle. The persona may decide to reactivate the account meaning the platform won’t strip them of the profile.
Also: You’re postponing your account creation when you could have been active.
Adding “The” or “Official” to your new brand name will suffice. This lets you begin connecting with your audience and promote your site’s content & offers. Waiting weeks (or months) for the desired profile to be active is a lot of missed opportunity.
That said – if you’re still adamant about claiming your name when it’s taken:
- Appeal to the Platform. Sometimes you can luck out by sending a request to the platform. A user no longer using the handle – and having ignored deletion emails – will have it added back into the pool. You may get the handle early by proving your brand name and ownership.
- Buy It Back. Contact the handle’s owner and offer financial compensation. It doesn’t always work but some users may go for it. Don’t tell them it’s locked to your brand, though, as they may try to raise rates once they know this information.
- Pressure Them. Turn up the heat by contacting a legal representative. Got a copyright on your name? There’s a possibility you can get it back by simply forwarding a stern letter. If not, you could push it further (talk with your legal person for that).
Hope for the best but expect the worst, as they say. If you can’t get the name? No biggie. Do as we mentioned and add a modifier. There shouldn’t be follower confusion if you add enough branding elements to the profile.
When It’s Time to Rethink Your Branding Strategy
You’ve got to think about a few things when settling on a brand name – things like:
- Does the name have a dirty social and link profile from a previous owner?
- Are your names taken on social media sites, forums, and other channels?
It may be time to rethink your branding if there’s too much “baggage” with the name. Launching with a preconceived negative perception will do you no good.
Go back to the drawing board and see what you can salvage.
Hopefully, this info will help with your next online business and project. Don’t skip the name check in your launch checklist. Use those name checker tools to be on the safe side.