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Bob Hawkes

Matching Social Media Accounts: Added Value?

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By Bob Hawkes, Jul 29, 2021
?

Have you registered matching social media handles for some of your domain names?

  1. Never.

    128 votes
    51.6%
  2. Yes, a few times.

    98 votes
    39.5%
  3. I do it regularly.

    13 votes
    5.2%
  4. I register handles and use them actively in promoting the names.

    9 votes
    3.6%
Total: 248 vote(s)
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    By owning your own domain name, you have independence from social media giants. Nevertheless, some potential purchasers of your domain names may prefer to also control the matching term in social media accounts. This can be a defensive ploy, or simply the advantage of consistent branding across multiple platforms. Does this mean that domain name investors should give attention to obtaining, and perhaps developing, matching social media handles?

    Which Social Media Platforms?

    While Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are some of the better known social media platforms, the full list is much longer. The first question a domain investor who has decided to invest effort in matching social handles needs to ask is: Which social media platforms?

    Wikipedia maintain a list of social platforms with at least 100 million active users. For example, Facebook has a staggering 2.8 billion users, with about 1.84 billion active daily. YouTube has about 2.3 billion users, and Instagram about 1.3 billion users, with 500 million active daily.

    But number of users alone does not necessarily indicate the social media handles that would be most valuable to a particular business. For example, having Twitter or LinkedIn is of more value than their placing (17th and 22nd respectively) on the list in terms of number of users.

    Different Sectors, Different Social Media

    The most desired social media accounts will depend on the industry sector of the domain name. A domain name intended for a coding business might have particular interest in GitHub or ProductHunt handles, while a business that did a lot of direct to user communication might value a matching WhatsApp, Telegram or Zoom account. Visual arts related businesses and organizations will have more interest in an Instagram, Pinterest or Vimeo account, perhaps, while a musician would benefit from YouTube, SoundCloud or Vimeo, among others.

    Tools To The Rescue

    While in theory it is a simple task to check whether any particular social media handle is available, with several hundred sites to search, it can use up a lot of time. Fortunately, online tools simplify the task to a few seconds. Here are two useful tools I found.
    1. NameChk With this free tool you simply enter the term, and it will show status on many dozens of social media platforms. If the box is green, it means the name is available on that social media platform, while dimmed indicates someone has it. The site also shows status of a number of domain name extensions.
    2. KnowEm This does an even more intensive search, covering 500 popular social networks. While KnowEm offer a paid service to subscribe to social media accounts across many networks, you can use the site freely to see platforms where a given name is still available. It also searches the USPTO Trademark database. Note that on the home page you just see results for the 25 most used social media, but if you use the Social Networks tab you get the full 500 platform search, all nicely divided by sector like photo, video, blogging, etc.
    Another feature I really like with KnowEm is if you hover over any social media platform, it provides a brief summary of that platform.

    As well as proposing names from their registry, Namify also searches the availability of the term on a handful of the most used social media platforms.

    Using Social Media Data for Domain Name Acquisitions

    Quite apart from whether you plan to ever acquire social media handles, the data provided by sites like KnowEm can be one metric to consider during domain name acquisition. If a domain name is already taken in most of the popular social media platforms, while that is a negative for obtaining matching handles, it can be a positive in potential end users, or at least an indication of the general popularity of the term.

    Read the Terms of Service

    While buying and selling of social media handles is definitely happening, see the next section, most of the social media platforms have terms of service that do not allow it. For example, Instagram terms of use specify “You can’t sell, license, or purchase any account or data obtained from us or our Service.

    Similarly, Twitter states in its Help Center: “Attempts to sell, buy, or solicit other forms of payment in exchange for usernames are also violations and may result in permanent account suspension.” The same section also makes clear one cannot sit on unused Twitter handles, and Twitter periodically takes away unused accounts.

    The Facebook terms of service specify that you should only have one account, and that you must “Not share your password, give access to your Facebook account to others, or transfer your account to anyone else (without our permission).” They also prohibit selling admin control of Facebook groups.

    This article in Alternative Assets on Buying and Selling Social Media Accounts indicates that one of the few exceptions is YouTube, that apparently permits transfer of ownership of accounts. Check the most recent terms of service for any changes, however, if this information is important to you.

    Marketplaces for Social Media Accounts Exist

    Despite the restrictions noted above, numerous marketplaces actively sell social media accounts. Trade in Instagram handles seems particularly active. If you are interested in getting an idea of current prices, browse listings at FameSwap, that handles Instagram and YouTube accounts, or SocialTradia. It should be noted that accounts for sale on sites like these have value primarily because of followers, not because of inherent worth of the handle name itself. The pricing is usually based on an approximate rate per 10,000 followers.

    What About Developing A Social Media Account

    So what about the idea of developing a social media account that exactly matches one of your domain names? I would see two potential benefits of this. One would be if there is a way to transfer it with the domain name, consistent with terms of service, it could be a plus for the business acquiring the name. The second advantage is meaningful development might help attract eyes to the domain name.

    That said, it is a lot of regular work to maintain meaningful activity on a social media account, and I would think in most cases the possible benefits do not justify the effort. Please share what you think in the comments section.

    Discussions on NamePros about Social Media Handles

    Aspects of social media accounts have been discussed a number of times on NamePros, although often with limited contributions. Here are some of the discussion threads I found.
    What Do You Think?

    With social media accounts ultimately outside your complete control, James Iles reminded us of the importance of operating on your own domain name: Why You Can’t Let Social Media Control Your Brand.
    1. What are your thoughts on obtaining matching social media accounts?
    2. Have prospective buyers asked you about accompanying social media handles?
    3. Have you tried maintaining social media handles to match any of your domain names?
    4. In general, which social media handles are most important?
    Looking forward to hearing your comments on this topic in the discussion below.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 102nd blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
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  5. Comments (41)

  6. MadAboutDomains

    MadAboutDomains Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I've only got matching social media handles for projects that I've actually completed, but not for the domains themselves, though I do find myself checking if they have already been registered for domains that I buy because it serves as a bit of insight into any previous use for the domain.

    Quite often I use trademarks to get the handles that I want, because you often find that half decent handles have been previously banned, deactivated or become dormant. So if you establish a brand you can persuade the social media companies that there's more value in you having it than the current owner.

    As for social media in general, I really think that these platforms are on a downward spiral. Trust is waning, feeling like you're being told what to do/say and that they're working in tandem with every agency under the sun... plus they're always trying to optimise everything into oblivion which wears you out emotionally and physically. So for me personally I try and avoid them like the plague.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  7. DomainBanana

    DomainBanana Established Member

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    Social handles can add value but it takes a lot of time to register or acquire them.

    If a domain is valuable, it will likely sell with or without handles.

    I don't think it's worth the extra effort.
     
  8. comRaid

    comRaid Established Member

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    Great article. Thank you sir.
    What would be the approximate price difference between a solo domain and a domain+brand package (with all relevant social media handles) ?
    Does registering social media handles for an average name increases its worth?
     
  9. Cyril.Best

    Cyril.Best Established Member .Best Staff

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    I think that the next decade will show the convergion of the 2 sectors: domains + social media handles.

    2000-2010 was the rise of e-commerce, 2010-2020 was the rise of social media.

    We are now moving to a new social commerce era combining the best of both worlds (domains + social media). More and more domain buyers (end-users) will ask for social media handles in a global package.

    In 2021, the time to oppose domains vs social medias is over! As a business & brand owner, the question is not if you need to have your own domain/website or choose a free social media account. You need both, you need ALL and you need to create your social media accounts at the very beginning to benefit from free social media organic reach.

    Moreover, protective domain buyers will ask more and more to get also the associated social media accounts because with more than 4.5B social media users, this is where the acquisition marketing is done.

    So even if (still for the moment) the domain name/website is the final point, social media are now the first entry of customer acquisition.

    And all of that, without speaking that Instagram, Tiktok, or Pinterest are already working on a direct "buy from app process" without redirecting users to the domain/website owner.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  10. Maximinus

    Maximinus Established Member

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    Social media accounts are for marketing purposes. Most of domain sales remain anonymous so seller can't offer SM accounts in before hand.(Afternic, Sedo, etc) This is not professional and the buyer won't be happy if after purchase seller is reaching out with some "extras".
     
  11. kalr

    kalr Top Contributor VIP

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  12. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    Excellent post. Thank you for sharing this valuable information Mr Bob. Good reference thread.
     
  13. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    Flippa connect the buyer and seller directly. According to reports.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  14. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    I think it is impossible (at least for me) to answer with any precision. I think in many cases having multiple handles will not add to value, whereas in others it might substantially increase the price. Also, it might help a sale finalize that would not have happened at all otherwise. Sorry I can't provide a better answer.
    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  15. rcs1973

    rcs1973 Established Member

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    of all the social media options i feel that Twitter carries the most weight By Far if you elect to pursue this strategy.
     
  16. AEProgram

    AEProgram Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    Great article.

    If you have the social media accounts for a name you own do not post in that account that the social media account is for sale, I know for a fact you could get your account suspended if you offer it for sale.

    Instead add your domain to the bio and to the post and say the domain is for sale. The buyer will already ask about the handle too. Do not communicate about the sale of the handle via the platforms messaging system, have them email you. If its via the messaging system and they don't like the price of the name etc some buyers turn demonic and they report the message for trying to sell the handle. I lived through this myself and the handle was suspended.

    If you own a handle follow some people, log in every few days, share some posts and tweet about the industry your handle is about. If its about gold tweet some gold news or comments. Buyers are more likely to pay more for a domain or handle that they feel the owner is more emotionally invested in vs a blank feed with 0's. Make sure not to share memes or anything offensive even though they could remove it later.

    From Twitters TOS

    "Attempts to sell, buy, or solicit other forms of payment in exchange for usernames are also violations and may result in permanent account suspension."

    https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/twitter-username-squatting
     
  17. topros

    topros Established Member

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    thank you for sharing..

    wich one is the best?
    twitter, FB, IG youtube?

    or we have to get them All?
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
  18. The Durfer

    The Durfer Wesley Sweatman VIP Gold Account

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    great article, Mr Bob. I said never but i just mean no i havent yet. ty.
     
  19. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    I'd say it's probably You Tube because video is the future. You Tube has 2 billion logged in monthly --> https://www.youtube.com/intl/en-GB/about/press/ <-- users whereas Twitter has around 10% of that at 200 million. You Tube is the second most popular website in the world with 20 billion month users --> https://www.statista.com/statistics/1201880/most-visited-websites-worldwide/ <--- to Twitter's 3.5 billion monthly users. Also it's significantly more difficult to get exactly the same You Tube account name than exactly the same Twitter name. I could be wrong.
     
  20. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    If you are going swimming prepare to get soaked or get out the pool. If I cared about registering social media accounts (and I really don't but it's an interesting thread from @Bob Hawkes) then I'd probably have to get all four IF money was exchanging hands. If you had one but not three how can you secure the brand? One on it's own is rather worthless imo (unless it has a significant following).
     
  21. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    Good advice. Thanks for sharing mate.

    Do you mean just post very general stuff not branded?

    More good advice. Cheers.
     
  22. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    The only way to answer this question accurately is from a data set but it isn't public because it flies in the face of most platform's T.O.S. like the @AEProgram said. So unless reported, found in public tax returns or someone has insider information we'll probably never know the answer. Purely speculating it varies wildly from case to case. Maybe someone knows a social media account broker who would be willing to anonymously go off the record? Although selling accounts is against T.O.S. it's probably a BENEFIT to the platform that if a major company buys the account they are much more likely to use it that a domain name hoarder. More activity, more users, more ads, more money for the social media network. I could be wrong.

     
  23. AEProgram

    AEProgram Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    If you name is related to a certain industry and in most cases unless its a random made up string of letter it will be, follow accounts from that industry and share some news about that industry, like a link to a news article and so on.

    So if your domain is VeganXYZ follow some companies that sell vegan food, some vegan influencers and share some news about it. The goal is not to gain following, its just to show it is active.
     
  24. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Certainly the ones you mention would be at or near the top of any list.
    But how important one is depends on the industry, I think. A direct to consumer type business might really like the FB or IG, while a B2B service might prefer Twitter. But I think there is no simple answer.

    From the bit of checking I did, even rather obscure phrases are often already taken in the most popular social media, not surprising given their number of accounts.

    I have not personally registered social media accounts with my domain names, not totally convinced that the effort was worthwhile. That said, I have heard people say they have been asked about matching accounts, and in some cases a sale of the domain probably proceeded because they also had the domain name.

    Bob
     
  25. noonoo1

    noonoo1 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Great in-depth article as usual Bob.

    I have over 20 twitter usernames that end in '_com'

    eg Bitcoin_com

    All are in the top 50 list of keywords.
     
  26. topros

    topros Established Member

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    thank you

    how can you did this?
    because twitter need phone number verifycation...
    do you have 20 phone numbers? or you have tools to did this?
     
  27. noonoo1

    noonoo1 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    All of these created before 2010
     
  28. stub

    stub DNStore.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I started to try to register my domains with social media handles, but it was a hopeless exercise as mostly, they were all long gone. And with all the threats from social media about buying and selling, and no marketplace where they can be bought and sold, there is nowhere to turn. And I suspect recognizing there is a market for such names, I suspect they don't come cheap. I just gave up. If somebody want's to buy one of my names, they'll have to go find their social media handles for themselves. At least it's then only 1 domain, and good luck to them.
     
  29. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    The comment from @noonoo1 about Twitter accounts created 2010 and earlier, when easier to do multiple, made me wonder does Twitter give increased profile to posts from old accounts, as long as they have maintained some level of activity, and if so does possession of an aged Twitter account give a competitive advantage?

    I tend to agree personally with your viewpoint @stub that not worth the hassle and potential problems (BTW marketplaces do now exist, but it seems still ToS dangers trying to sell). Tools like the ones mentioned in article now make it easy to check, at least. If I did try to get some, it would be in an area where I have what I consider might be the exact match for an emerging technology, even a narrow one. If one used it to promote news from the sector, along with an indication periodically the name is for sale, might be attractive.

    Thanks for all the interesting and worthwhile viewpoints, everyone.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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