File this one in your web marketing plan and set an alarm for this Friday. Facebook announced on its blog today that it will allow all of its members to select Vanity URLs for their profiles and fan pages starting this Friday, June 12, at 9:01 pm PDT.
Vanity URLs are customized web addresses that have long been an integral part of most social media websites like MySpace and Twitter. I’ve had http://www.linkedin.com/in/hunterjensen for years, but Facebook fan pages have always had a long string of random numbers instead of a URL based on your company’s name, products, or services. The opportunity to customize your company’s Facebook fan page will be a great marketing opportunity for businesses because it will make it easier for current fans and potential customers to find your fan page and remember your web address.
“When your friends, family members or co-workers visit your profile or Pages on Facebook, they will be able to enter your username as part of the URL in their browser. This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you,” writes Blaise DiPersia in the Facebook blog. “We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future.”
This will also have SEO implications as it will be possible to select keyword-rich URLs, which will help the pages rank higher. These fan pages are available to the public (you do not need to be logged in to view them), and indexable by search engines, so expect a mad dash for popular keywords like http://www.facebook.com/pages/sex or http://www.facebook.com/laser-eye-surgery.
Customizing your company’s Facebook web address will not only increase your searchability but will also give you another opportunity to highlight your company’s online brand and image, so be careful in your selection. Facebook’s fine print for this selection recommends, “Think carefully about the user name you choose. Once it’s been selected, you won’t be able to change or transfer (your vanity url.)”
Your company will be able to choose a username on a first-come, first-serve basis at www.facebook.com/username/. The turnout for this vanity URL is expected to be high. If you’re happy with your trademarked brand name, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. But if you’re looking for something a little more strategic, be prepared to wait in the digital version of the line outside of a Star Wars premiere.