Twitter 101 – How to choose a successful Twitter name

Twitter 101 – Chapter 1 Part 1 – Choosing a successful Twitter name

This is the first article in a series of helpful briefs on how to get ahead on mobile, and in this first article we look at choosing an effective name on Twitter.

Everyone agrees that there’s a benefit from being on the Twitter social network. If you have a product, a brand, or you want to champion your expertise in a particular subject then you need to get on Twitter.

The problem is with 50+ million Twitter users there’s a serious lack of any good names, the good ones have all gone, and chances are your own product and service names have probably already been grabbed, so what do you do?

The good news is if you have a trademark and someone has already taken your name on Twitter or they’re impersonating you – Twitter calls it Name Squatting,- then there’s a process to follow to reclaim your name. Their Name Squatting Policy can be found here (

So if 50+ million users have already grabbed the good names, then how can you get a good name? The answer is to think around the problem and be a bit creative.

But first let’s go back to basics. Ideally a Twitter name should be short, meaningful and memorable.

Short is a must have. If you want people to broadcast (retweet) your words of wisdom (tweets) to the World then you need to have a short name, especially if you’re the wordy sort of person who uses ten words when you only need two.

It’s important to remember that Twitter has a limit of just 140 characters. So, if your Twitter name is @thebestukcinemachain then when someone retweets your message RT @thebestukcinemachain you’re digging a 24 character hole into your valuable tweet, and your retweeter will have to start editing your valuable text Eg

Original Tweet

Get your two for one deal on tickets for the 7pm show of Indiana Jones and the Temple of doom, it’s first come first served so get there now

The Retweet

RT @thebestukcinemachain We’re offering a 2-4-1 deal on cinema tickets tonight for the 7pm show of Indy and the Temple of doom

The Retweet is over the 140 character limit, and has to be edited by the retweeter, and that can cause problems. In this case they have missed off the vital information that it’s on a first come first served basis, which might cause some problems from disappointed customers. Plus they’ve cut Indiana Jones to Indy which may not be so saleable. And if it’s retweeted again by a follower with an equally long user name then most of the message is lost.


Making your Twitter name meaningful is useful rather than a must have. However if you want to attract users via the Twitter search facility ( then a meaningful name could get you some extra followers.

For example say you’re a cinema chain called Kinetica then a Twitter name of @kinetica will find you users searching for your brand name, but a Twitter name @ukcinema would find people looking for the much broader term “cinema”.

Which one you choose really depends on if you’re a local, national, or global brand. If you’re a small local brand, then stick with your name, as that’s what your users are more likely to be searching for. If you’re a big national chain then a more general name, or both, maybe better. There’s no law to say that you can’t have more than one Twitter name.

If you’re planning on setting up individual users in your business to twitter, then it’s a good idea to associate their name with your brand. For example @smartamatt is the Twitter feed for Matt Thomas Editor at business site Smarta ( The name is good because if you do a Twitter search for Matt or Smarta you’ll always find him, where as a Twitter name of @mattthomas – if it existed – wouldn’t have had the same brand awareness.


Being memorable is the fun part of registering with Twitter. When you register with Twitter, the site will let you put in any username you want and it will laboriously check every one – It would be nice if they tried to suggest some possible names based on your name like every other site in the universe. This trial and error process can be very tedious, especially for common names, which is why so many people end up with Twitter names like @mikeb345 or @cinema345. Try to avoid doing this, a name like @cinema345 is an awful name and it’s instantly forgettable.

To get something memorable you will need to be creative. We’re @bmobuk because @bmob was taken but we wanted to maintain the name, so we added UK as we’re based in the UK. Additionally you could use a job title like CEO/MD eg we also have @bmobed for the Bmob Editor to tweet from. If you can’t add your county code, or a job role to add, then you could add numbers, but it’s best to choose memorable numbers so if you’re an all night taxi service then @taxi365 or @taxi47 would work.

Alternatively you could try to swap numbers for letters. The editor of Mobile Industry Review ( Ewan MacLeod is @ew4n which is both short and memorable.

In summary

  • Keep it short, memorable and meaningful
  • Use country codes/job titles
  • Add your name to the product/brand name
  • Swap numbers for letters ( Tip avoid 0 for o, and 1 for I as it’s too confusing and avoid using too many eg bu51n355 instead of Business is overkill) A -4, E – 3, S – 5, B – 8
  • Remember your options are limited Twitter only accepts lower case characters a-z and numbers 0-9, any other characters are not allowed.

If you have any top tips on creating a Twitter names then please add them to the comments below.

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