I worked with a client last year who wanted to change his company name to better reflect the state of his new business. He compiled a list of five to six possible names, which he was very excited about. After finally deciding on the “best” name, he secured his new domain URL, started working on designing a new logo and was getting ready to order new letterhead and business cards for the company.
But, he forgot one small detail—his Twitter name. This client had built up an impressive following on Twitter under his old company name, yet he never checked to see if the new name of his company was available. Before I searched for its availability, I asked him “If it’s not available, does this change anything or everything?” “Everything!” he replied.
Sure enough, someone else had the name. It was an expensive lesson for my client. The good news is he found an even better name for his business—one that was available not only on Twitter, but all of the other social platforms he used for business as well.
The moral of this story is to think—and do your homework—before you leap. The world has changed the way it communicates, especially when it comes to business. Today, you need to create a real action plan for how your business will use social media to find new customers, cement relationships with current clients, conduct market research, connect with vendors and partners, and “spy” on your competition.
One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is not securing their brand name(s) on all social platforms before they open their doors. Hundreds of millions of people and companies are registered on the major social networks—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. And don’t forget about the rating and review sites. The likelihood of finding your business name available on all these platforms is increasingly slim.
That’s why you need to register on all social platforms, even if you only plan to actively participate in a few of them. There are two main reasons. First, things change. One platform may be the go-to destination for businesses today (e.g. Twitter). Next year (or even in a few months), it could be Pinterest, Instagram or a completely new platform that is in the process of being built. Second, using social media as a business tool is not just about your business and what you want to do. It’s about engaging with your current and potential customers on the platforms they prefer as communication tools. Where are your customers posting reviews, gathering information, looking for deals or talking to businesses that offer the products and/or services they seek? That’s where you need to be. When it comes to business—focus on the customer.