Changes should not be made lightly.
Facebook page names and usernames are often overlooked or not given as much attention as the more obvious profile picture and cover photo. While the photos are incredibly important from a branding standpoint as well as just setting the tone of the Facebook page, the username and page name are critical in being found in the first place.
Why Names Matter
Facebook pages are public. This means that they are indexed by search engines and can show up in search results. Just like websites where it’s important that the title tag and URL be SEO friendly and the page content be relevant for your target audience, this holds true for Facebook page names (analogous to page titles) and usernames (analogous to webpage URLs).
The Facebook page name should be reflective of the content that will be produced on the page. This will help attract the intended audience whether a search is being conducted on Facebook or Google, for example. Plus when someone sees the page name, it’s important for the person searching to be able to quickly determine if the page is worth visiting. A page name that doesn’t accurately reflect its content will not garner repeat visits and page likes.
Is It Too Late to Fix My Page Name?
So what happens if you create a page and then realize that it doesn’t contain important keywords that are relevant to your page? If you just created the page, most likely you will have fewer than 200 fans. If so, you can easily change the page username by going to the Facebook Username page. If you have more than 200 fans when you realize the page name is not as strong of a descriptor as you’d like, then you have to request a change from Facebook directly. However, a change can only be requested one time. So it’s critical that the change be carefully planned as there are no second chances.
A well thought out, relevant page name will drive your target audience to your page via Facebook and Google search results. It will also help ensure that the people actually visiting the page are the right people as the page name should be a good indication of the type of content that will be displayed.
Naming Part Two
The second half of ensuring your Facebook page is SEO friendly is the username or page URL. In other words, the part of the URL that is after “facebook.com” which is specific to your page. For example, the Siren Interactive page username is: www.facebook.com/SirenInteractiveCorp. First of all it is crucial that the username be customized vs. using the one assigned to you from Facebook. You have the opportunity to customize it to be more related to your content, brand, or website. The username has to be at least 5 characters and currently cannot be longer than 50 characters. Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters – no special characters. This will help create a cohesive experience regardless of which web property your customer, client, or patient visits (i.e., owned or social media). Once again the username should be chosen to accurately reflect the content on the page. A relevant name should be SEO friendly by default. But it’s important to do a reality check to make sure the username/URL contains keywords that describe the page.
So, what happens if you realize that the username that you chose is not the most SEO friendly or reflective of your page? After you customize it, you have one opportunity to change the username. After that, your only option would be to create a brand new page. So change the username with caution.
Final Thoughts and Risks to Consider
If you get to the point where you determine you need to change your Facebook page name, do it thoughtfully. The form to request a change is relatively easy, but it’s crucial to consider how it will affect the user experience. You have fans that know your page and engage with your page for a reason. Are you changing the name to be more reflective of the content currently being posted? If the page name change is too dramatic, you risk alienating your current fans and generating negative sentiment towards your brand. The same is true for the username. Changes should not be made lightly.
However, if there is a marketing reason or the change will make the username and/or page name more descriptive and relevant to your target, then go for it. But remember for all practical purposes, you have one shot and one shot only.