With the steady rise of social media marketing, it’s very important to create optimal profiles for your brand or business on social media. This usually begins with choosing the perfect username. Picking the right social media handle can have a big effect on your online presence.
So what is a social media handle? It is your public username that is used on all of your social media accounts. It is also one of the first ways that users are introduced to your social media profiles. This is why it’s important to put in a little extra work to choose the best one. In this article, we will learn some of the ways to choose the best social media handles for your business and marketing goals.
What is a Social Media Handle?
First let’s talk a little bit about handles themselves. Although social media is relatively new, the term “handle” has been used since the 1970s, when radio hosts used unique “on-air” names. The term then migrated to the internet in the 90s and became a way for online users to identify themselves. Today, your social media handle is your username with an @ sign in front of it. It essentially acts as a way for users to find your business or brand’s social profiles online. The rules for what can be included in your social media usernames vary a bit by platform but are usually pretty similar. You’ll want to make sure that your chosen handles work for each platform. With a little extra effort, you can create a handle that will get your business noticed online.
How to Pick a Great Social Media Handle
As mentioned earlier, having the right social media handle can make or break your online presence. As soon as you give your business a name, it is important to snag matching social media handles as quickly as possible. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the best handle, but there are a few steps you should take first.
Step 1: Audience
When deciding on your social media usernames, you will want to take your target audience into account. Think about who you are trying to attract to your account and what they might like to see. What first impression do you want to give them? What kind of handle might help you stand out in a crowd? Ask yourself these questions and have the answers in mind as you move on to the next step.
Step 2: Research/Brainstorming
Next you’ll want to start brainstorming some ideas. Play around with your business or brand name and start putting some options together. This is also where you will want to do some research. Look for relevant keywords that might fit well in your handle. You should also research similar businesses and take note of what they’ve been doing online. Look at some of their handles and see if you notice any patterns you might want to follow.
Step 3: Choose and Verify
After you’ve picked a few good options for your handle, make a list and start testing them! See if you can match your social media usernames on all platforms. Also, check to make sure that your chosen handles fit with each platform’s rules. Once you’ve verified that everything will work, you can start creating your profiles.
Step 4: Claim Your Handle
Once you’ve found your perfect handle, it’s time to claim it! Set up your profiles on all of the social media accounts that you want to use for your business or brand. It is best to do this as soon as possible to avoid problems with social media handle availability. The best names will always get snatched up first.
Step 5: Start Posting ASAP
Last but not least, it’s time to start posting! Again, you’ll want to do this as soon as possible to get your name out there on social media. Create some great content and don’t forget to post regularly. Check out how your audience responds and adjust your strategies accordingly. Just like your handles, keep your content consistent across all platforms to build up a recognizable image for your brand.
9 Best Practices for Creating Social Media Handles
#1: Assume Your Ideal Handle is Not Available
Since social media has been around for more than a decade, social media handle availability can become a real issue. If you are still in the brainstorming phase, then you should probably assume that the handle that you would want first is already taken. Better yet, when you are coming up with the actual name of your business/brand, try to think of something unique. This will help lessen the chances of your brand’s name already being used on social media!
#2: Check Availability Across Platforms
Another important part of creating a social media handle is making sure that you can use it across all of the major platforms. When you are creating your handle, make a list of your top choices and try them out on various platforms. Once you find a username that you like (and is available everywhere you have an account), you are one step closer to improving your online presence.
#3: Stay Aligned With Business/Brand Name
It may seem obvious, but staying consistent between all of your social profiles and your website is a key factor in promoting your business on social media. Make sure that whatever handle you choose on social media is aligned with the name of your business and your website. Ideally, you want a user to be able to search for your brand’s name and find all of your relevant pages/platforms at once.
#4: Always Choose Matching Handles
This step goes back to the idea of staying consistent across all social media platforms. If you can’t exactly match all of your handles, try to at least keep the same pattern (word order, spelling, etc.). Consistent brand/business names will make it easier for users to find and interact with your content.
#5: Try to Avoid Punctuation
If the social media usernames that you want are already taken, it can be really tempting to add in punctuation so that you can still use them. However, different platforms allow different characters, so this may get a bit confusing. It could keep you from being consistent across all of your social media accounts. Instead of adding punctuation, try to get creative with your name.
#6: Keep it Concise
Social media handles that are too long can cause multiple problems when trying to keep up with your online presence. First, they may make it harder for users to find your specific accounts. Second, it will become increasingly difficult to use a long username for every account. Third, long handles tend to look unprofessional and messy. Sticking to something under 15 characters will give your account a clean and concise look.
#7: Make Sure Your Handle is Easy to Spell
Choosing social media handles that are difficult to spell is a recipe for disaster. This will almost guarantee that users will get lost looking for your profiles when they search online. This is especially true if your brand name is close to another business’s name or common phrase. You may end up driving users to other accounts if they type in your name wrong! To avoid this, try to stick with a handle that is simple, easy to spell, and easy to pronounce.
#8: Pick a Name That Will Stay Relevant
When choosing a great social media handle, try to stay away from trends. It may help you to get noticed in the short term, but when the trend is no longer relevant, you might regret your choice. A classic username will stand the test of time and continue to draw in traffic. Pick something that you know can grow with your business, rather than something that boxes you in and causes you regret.
#9: Always Have A Backup Plan!
Lastly, the best advice when creating a great social media handle is to always have a backup plan! As you’ve just learned, there are lots of things that can go wrong when picking your username. This is especially true when trying to stay on brand on every social media account. Having a solid backup plan can help you avoid these kinds of issues in the future.
Choosing an Effective Social Media Handle
Social media is an incredibly important part of any great marketing strategy. Before you can even begin posting great content, you need to choose the best social media handles for each platform. This will help to give a great first impression to users who search for your content on social media. If you’d like more help optimizing your social media profiles, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced social media management agency. SEO Design Chicago provides a number of social media packages that can help you to create amazing content and get your profiles noticed!
- What is a social media handle?
- Is a handle the same as a username?
- How do I choose the best social media handles?
- What if my ideal handle is already taken?
- Should I use punctuation in my social media handle?