This is a quick and easy guide to claiming your Facebook vanity URL.
Just in case you skip ahead and jump in straight away I just want to point out some things to be cautious of before going into more depth on the what and how of Facebook vanity URLs.
- You can’t change your vanity URL down the track. Make sure you give it some thought first before committing to an address.
- Try to pick something as close as possible to your business name or your own name if it is a public person page.
- If you have Twitter, YouTube or other social media accounts then try to align your Facebook vanity URL with those usernames. This helps with branding consistency.
- Once you have claimed your vanity URL no-one else can take it so if you have a brand then look at claiming that name as your vanity URL. Protect your online space. This is another good reason not to delay setting up a Facebook page.
- Vanity URLs can only contain letters, numbers or fullstops.
- I’ll just reiterate point one – this is a one shot activity.
What is a Vanity URL?
If you create a new Facebook page then by default the address of the page is similar to www.facebook.com/pages/examplepage/1234567891234
Try to fit that on a business card or pass to someone over the phone. Not going to happen.
Thankfully Facebook gives page admins the ability to change this address to something a little shorter and more useful.
How to claim your Facebook Vanity URL
In this example lets use the Redcliffe Senior Rugby Union page. As I write this their page URL is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Redcliffe-Senior-Rugby-Union/300600298102
Lets step through how they can shorten this. Before continuing its worthwhile pointing out that you need at least 25 fans of your page before you can do this process.
Navigate your browser to www.facebook.com/username
You will be presented with a drop down box where you can choose the page you wish to work with. In this case the Redcliffe Demons admin would choose their page and in the text field to the right would enter ‘RedcliffeDemons’ or ‘RedcliffeSeniorRugby’. Capitalization of the letters will not matter with typing the address into a browser – you can enter it all lowercase and still reach the page later on. However when Facebook displays the page the browser bar will reflect the capitalization used in this step. If you are joining words together I think it looks neater with a capital for each word.
Click ‘Check availability‘. If that username has already been taken then you will need to try another one. If it is free then you will see a popup similar to the one below.
Re-read the displayed warnings and when ready click ‘confirm’.
You could now navigate to www.facebook.com/redcliffeseniorrugby and arrive at their page. That is significantly shorter than what we started with.
What if we could make it even shorter?
Facebook includes a link shortener so that you can fit more words into your messages on Twitter for example. A handy trick is to use this service to knock a few more characters out of the address.
Hence fb.me/redcliffeseniorrugby would also get you to the same page.
One more way…
I won’t go into fine how-to details here but you can point any domain name that you own to another domain. This is called redirection or forwarding and is useful for a number of things. In this context though you can redirect a domain to your Facebook page.
Click through on fbmick.me and it will take you to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/redcliffemarketinglabs. I would have taken fbmick.com but that was taken. The great thing going forward is that I can point fbmick.me at any Facebook page that I want but still keep the same business cards.
What to do if someone has already claimed your vanity URL?
It may be a case of tough luck. Facebook is a very big place and in many respects its first in best dressed. If you think you have a case or someone is clearly squatting on your company or brand name then you can report it and maybe able to have it assigned to your page.