Do you remember your first email address… way back when the Internet was just getting popular? You probably chose an alias that masked your name. Times have changed, and as a REALTOR®, selecting your email address and your online usernames is serious business–you want to be easily identified and branded. We know a few things about the Internet–most stuff is permanent, whether for better or worse. So here are 5 tips to consider:
1. Visit Namechk.com
Before you sign up for a slew of social media sites… it’s a good idea to make sure that your desired profile name is available and uniform across multiple sites. If you want to set up your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (with an easy to remember URL), simply visit Namechk.com. Type in your preferred profile name and in seconds it will notify you where that username is available.
2. Use the name of your brokerage as part of your username only if you own the brokerage. If you’ve branded yourself as SallyWindbridgeRealEstate and then you switch to Sailboat Real Estate, you’ll have to rebuild your network and followers.
3. Keep it short and uncomplicated. Especially when it comes to your Twitter handle, since your username counts against the character count–which may make it difficult for others to retweet your content. Also, no one wants to type out: http://www.facebook.com/ilovemyranchosantamargaritacaliforniareagent
4. It’s okay to use REALTOR® in your profile or username (without the registered ® trademark too), but please make sure you’re using it correctly! This means you can’t attach a locality to your name, which gives the impression that you’re the only REALTOR® in an area. You’re also barred from attaching a generalized term to REALTOR® which may be “cute,” but this ultimately diminishes the brand identity. Incorrect: “IrvineRealtor,” “GolfingRealtor,” “Realtor_Mom” or “TheOCRealtor.” Correct: “RealtorSallyIrvine” or “RealtorSallyOC.”
Think no one will find out if you use this online? Think again. A REALTOR® created a vanity URL for his Facebook Business page that incorrectly used the National Association of REALTORS®’ trademark. He ignored requests to alter it. The response? Facebook, knowing a thing or two about brand identity and intellectual property, listened to NAR and shut the page down– with over 40,000 followers. Don’t make a costly mistake: http://www.realtor.org/letterLw.nsf/pages/TrademarkLogoRules.
5. Keep it professional–this mainly applies to email addresses. Your longstanding email address may be firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, but you’re a real estate professional and your email should reflect that!