What do you see when you see the name “therapists”? Well, depending on the context, you may see the profession “Therapists” or you may see the more dangerous and derogatory “TheRapists”. This is one of the things you need to think about when choosing a web identity such as a Twitter name.
Too often we get caught up in the excitement of a new name discovery or something we think is cute without considering the long term ramifications. We will hold a personal example until last, but lets next consider a friend of mine who came up with a great social media identity – Social Sass. But wait, when we put those words together as a domain name or Twitter ID, that great title can quickly become “SocialsAss”. Most likely not what the selector had in mind.
In addition to the odd double meanings of names, you also need to beware of names that are either hard to spell or confusing. This applies to plurals, multiple words that repeat letters, and the odd spelling form. Think about this – if your Twitter name is read on a radio program or podcast, would people be able to find it without doing a search or having it spelled out for them? The word “skool” may seem cooler to you that “school”, but how many prospects are you going to lose because they can’t find you.
And if your name is Tess, and your run a school, how many people would be able to find “TesssSkool” or even “TesssSchool”? How many “S”s are in that? And remember you can’t put in the apostrophe, so what are you going to do? Even if you don’t make it possesive, you get “tessschool”. Again, how many people would put in the correct number of “S”s?
On a mechanical note, beware of easily lost characters. The underscore for exacmpe, “_”, can easily be lost on forms with underlines. And not just lost in print, but lost on devices. What that means is beware of any character that is hard to enter on a cellphone’s keyboard. The more mobile platforms become a part of everyday life, the more we need to be aware of how hard it can be to enter special characters on those devices.
Finally, lets just look at my own example. Palmettobug. That was my business name. I was enamored of it. Little did I know that lots of people, especially women find the reference to bugs “icky”. So, after having that brought to my attention, and then having to come to grips with it, I am rebranding myself – as myself.
So, choose your name carefully. And for more on this subject, check out my colleague Cheryl Smithem’s post on the rest of this subject. Her post, Social Media Names, speaks to the heart of branding and is the partner post to this post.