You only get one chance to pick your fan page name.
Giving some thought to how you name your page can save you a headache down the road.
Presently, Facebook’s rule is to only allow a fan page to be named once. They don’t allow the page owner to change the name later on, and for good reason. Simply put, they don’t want users to “like” something that can be changed after the fact by the page owner; so you get one chance to come up with a creative name that will get your brand seen. Hopefully this will change at some point, however, as it stands now, you get one shot at it. (update: this has changed – yay! See below.)
As more and more businesses and brands sign up for Facebook pages, the landscape is becoming exponentially more crowded in your namespace. Unless you are a world-renowned brand or celebrity, you stand a good chance at getting lost in the crowd. Here are a few things to thing about before naming your page:
- Keep the feed in mind when naming your page. How do you want your name to appear in the user feed when someone “likes” your business? The goal is to pique the interest of your fan’s friends and cast the largest net possible to gain brand exposure. This doesn’t mean you have to be the Picasso of naming conventions, however if you keep the feed in mind, it should help to guide your thought process.
- Survey the landscape. Do a search for your business name. Try searching in different ways, using different variations of your name / niche and see what comes up. Think about how you might stand out amongst the people competing in your business’s namespace or niche. Get an idea what you are up against when people search for you in different ways.
- If your business name is common, try to make your page name stand out from the crowd. Facebook ranks pages with the same name based on several factors, including number of fans and page activity level. Small business pages can easily get buried in Facebook search. This is mainly due to naming conventions and other more established pages, with the same or even similar names.
- Think about how users might search for your business. Would they add any descriptive keywords when searching for you? For instance, if you own a restaurant, does it make sense for you to add the word “Restaurant” to the title to avoid being confused with another business? Descriptors include things like your business type or location. Just remember to use descriptive words very sparingly (if at all).
- There’s a fine line between clever and spammy. Resist the temptation to “keyword stuff” your name. You want to stand out, but don’t want your fan page name to look like a jumbled mess in your fan’s feed. Your page title’s primary focus should be on your business name – you don’t want your page name to be a long list of keywords with your business name thrown in as an after thought.
It’s widely known that Facebook’s search feature leaves alot to be desired at this time. As of now, even though you choose a business type when creating your page, it doesn’t seem to make any difference to the search algorithm. Things should improve as time goes on and the algorithm becomes more refined. Hopefully at some point they will develop a process by which a business owner could change the name of their fanpage as well.
2/2011 Update: Since writing this article, Facebook has begun allowing pages with less than 100 fans to rename their fan pages. This makes the process slightly less stressful – that is unless you are popular and get 100 fans quickly (which does happen 😉