How Much Should I Spend on Social?

Marketing via platforms like Twitter and Facebook is now de rigueur. But how important is it for your company?

Written by Advisory Board

Welcome to Advisory Board, a weekly department in which a panel of experts—made up of entrepreneurs and professionals—answer questions you have about how to run your business better.

This week, a reader asks:

“I’m preparing to launch a new business venture. My marketing plan depends on a significant social media presence, but the Twitter handle for the company’s name is already taken. The person who owns it doesn’t seem to use it much—is it worth the expense to buy it from her?”

Here’s what the experts have to say:

Twitter does not allow the buying or selling of accounts. Many companies do this regardless, but there is technically a risk—however small—that Twitter could cancel the account if they became aware of the transfer.

“If you have trademarked the name you may have a claim to the account, but as you are launching a new business, this is probably not applicable.

“The quickest, cheapest and safest option would be to develop a similar Twitter account name just as you would with a domain name.”

— Amir El-Nesr, founder & president, Marketspace Design Group, Mississauga, Ont.

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“You don’t always have to use your company’s legal name to have a social media presence or build a brand. Many organizations are choosing  web and Twitter handles that speak to the nature of their business, not the name of the business. Here at BOWEN we use @bowenworkforce and people know exactly who we are.”

Shannon Bowen-Smed, president & CEO, BOWEN, Calgary

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“If you don’t have a trademark, the easiest thing you can do is just to try asking for the name. If you tell them your story they may be willing to cooperate with you.

“How much is it worth? The shorter it is, the more valuable it is, because short names are rare and easier for users to include in their tweets. And the more followers the account has, the more valuable it is. If the name is six-plus characters and the account doesn’t have many followers then you should be able to get it for $200 or so. But keep in mind that this is against Twitter’s terms of service.”

— Jennifer Osborne, President, Search Engine People, Pickering, Ont.

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“If Twitter is a material component for your marketing strategy, consider purchasing it. But remember that purchasing a name for the name’s sake will not accomplish anything if you don’t have a marketing plan to support it. Social media presence is about content as much as it is about presence.”

Phoebe Fung, proprietor, Vin Room and VR Wine, Calgary

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Do you have a question you’d like answered? Email us and we’ll put it to the experts. Have any advice to add to this list? Share your thoughts using the comments section below.

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