Perhaps a more accurate title for this blog post would be ‘How to assign a vanity URL to the wrong page – and how to fix it’. Because that’s what happened to me.
If you are solely interested in the ‘How to’ part – read our PDF here.
And for a short story on why I’m an expert in this, read on…
A few months ago SK Chase decided to set up a business page on Facebook – for a number of reasons:
- To be present on the main social media channels and share who & what SK Chase is
- To be where our customers are, stay in touch and deliver value
- To build a community of people/businesses who are interested in our area and talk to people people/businesses we know & would like to know
When you first set up a business page on Facebook, you’ll be given a URL that looks something like this:
A vanity URL allows you to customise your Facebook page, to something like this:
Why set up a vanity URL?
It’s clean, simple and looks good! And it makes it easier for customers to find you, for you to share with others and allows you to claim a bit of social media space for your business, giving you a distinct website address for your page.
I had set up a business page on Facebook and was aware that in order to create a ‘vanity URL’ we would need to have 25 ‘likes’. ‘Social Media Day’ was a few days away and the idea was to launch our Facebook page to our clients on that day – to harness the buzz around social media that this day would bring.
I woke up early on ‘the day’, checked our Facebook and ‘hurrah’ we had over 25 ‘likes’ – it was all systems go to create the all important URL.
I had printed off ‘instructions’ from the web on what to do to create our own vanity URL and had these to hand so I could follow these carefully, as I was aware that if you set the wrong name, you were not able to change it.
Once you have claimed a username by clicking the “Confirm” button, it is not possible to edit it, or to transfer your username to a different account on Facebook. Additionally, when an account is removed from the site, its username will not be made available to other users for security reasons.
At least I thought I followed the instructions….
If you already have a Facebook business page set up, you will know that in order to have a business ‘page’ you need to have an individual user profile to navigate the site and administer the business page.
I have a Facebook page for personal use and I didn’t want to use this to navigate the SK Chase page, so I had set up a new user profile on Facebook with my work email address.
I didn’t realise that you must first assign a username to your user profile before you choose a name for your business page. When I tried to assign a name to our business page, Facebook stated that I had to switch to my user profile to do this, which I did and happily confirmed the name ‘skchase’
And I assigned the SK Chase name to my own personal profile that I had set up to administer the page!
(and it appears I’m not the only one to do this, judging by all the comments about it)
The horror! The horror!
When the realisation struck that the skchase name was assigned to the profile I set up administer the page – my heart sank and panic set in. I kept checking & rechecking – yes – www.facebook.com/skchase went to Heather Rae’s profile page.
I woke my boyfriend (who luckily happens to be a very talented Software Engineer for IBM) and whimpered to him ‘Fix it’.
He ‘looked into’ things while I got our two children up and dressed, but no amount of his expertise could undo what I had done.
With a heavy heart, I emailed my boss (who is also one of the founders of SK Chase) to let her know what had happened and we agreed that we wouldn’t be launching our new Facebook page until we looked into things further. ‘Look’ my boyfriend said sympathetically, pointing at her email, ‘She’s not angry – she put kisses on her email to you’.
It wasn’t a good day – they say things come in three’s and sure enough they did. Later that day, the fridge door came off in my hand and I crashed the car in the car park at the swimming pool. But these two events paled into insignificance with my ‘error’. I was broken 🙁
That day I contacted Facebook and I really didn’t expect them to be able to do much, as their website clearly states that once you have set a username you are not able to change it and they have 800 million active users, so I didn’t expect a response. But I’m a great believer in trying – and it was a genuine mistake on my part.
Facebook looked into my request – and they changed the URL to the business page within 24 hours!
I was over the moon and can’t thank them enough.
As I Paul Gillin & Eric Schwartzman point out in their book ‘Social Marketing to the Business Customer’:
‘Today’s most admired social media marketers – Dell, Cisco, Starbucks and Google to name just a few, have adopted a philosophy of open experimentation layered upon a culture of risk tolerance. But one thing they all share in common, is that they all had the good fortune to making high profile, public mistakes.’
So now I feel almost proud to have made this mistake and to be in such good company – and it reinforces what I already knew:
Experts are just people who have made all the mistakes 🙂