If you are not a regular user of social media, you might find some of its terms confusing. One of these being “social media handle.” Here, we will look at social media handles, defining what they are, how to choose one, and how sites use them. Handles social media can make or break one’s online presence. Selecting the right one plays an important part in the formation of every business when it comes to internet marketing.
What are Social Media Handles?
The term, social media handle has been in use since 1970 when users of Citizen’s Band Radios (CB’s) discovered themselves by colorful and unique nicknames. When the internet became popular in 1990, this term was used as a method for the users to recognize themselves. It was therefore natural for social media users to continue to use “handle” for their public username.
A social media handle is defined as a public username used on social media accounts. On platforms like Instagram and Twitter, it’s the username followed by a @ symbol, like @BBC or @guardian.
However, on Facebook, it is the username following Facebook.com in the address bar when somebody opens your profile. For instance, if your name is John Smith, your Facebook address will be facebook.com/john.smith. It is the direct link to your Facebook profile, but people cannot use the same to search for you on Facebook. It must be typed directly in the address bar. That is why people say that there is nothing called handle on Facebook, but a Facebook username.
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No matter whether you plan to become a social media influencer or want to start a new business, finding the right social media handle should be the first thing to do. You can make use of a social media tracker to find out if the social handle you are interested in is already in use or not. But, should they be matching on every social media account or not?
When you have a complete idea about what your business is going to be, it is significant to choose a name for your business and grab your social media handles and site domain names as fast as possible. The reality is that social handles go extremely fast. The time which you took to read this far, maybe about 400 new users have signed up for Facebook by this time. That’s why Facebook marketing is booming right now.
Do you know the revenue that Facebook makes every year? The remarking usage statistics and Facebook revenue can definitely astonish you. Twitter and other social media channels move at similar speeds and the names they chose during that moment are now unavailable.
Another excellent reason to select and claim your handles of social media as fast as possible is that you can then start to build an audience for your products or services before your business is totally established.
How to Choose a Social Media Handle?
Social media handles play an important role for brands and online influences who want to maintain a consistent online presence. While they are not as important for an average user, you can still follow a few general guidelines to develop a solid handle.
Brainstorming initial idea
One of the best ways to start coming up with ideas is to make a list of the impressions and emotions your best handle must convey to your audience. Then, prioritize that list by significance. If there are two or more of you who are working on the same project, then everyone involved must make their lists separately before coming together to share and focus on. This avoids the dreaded groupthink and opens the door for the ultimate creativity.
Next, you must do some keyword research in your role using this list as an initial point. For keyword research, here are some of the commonly used suggested tools.
Google Keyword Planner- This is the new keyword tool directly from that top search engine and the best thing about this tool is it is free of cost.
Long Tail Pro- This is a paid tool. It comes with lots of extras that will help you to save a lot of time and effort. Once you have set up a blog and a website, one of its greatest features is the competition score, which will give you an idea of how hard it will rank for a certain keyword. This is helpful in staying away from keyword phrases that are difficult to target in the initial stage and focusing on those that are within your target where you can easily add value.
Google Trends- This is an awesome tool that allows you to check the trends for your keywords. Preferably, look for those keywords that are trending up or that is steady over time.
Does Social Media Handles Need to be Consistent?
Having a social media handle that is the same on every social media platform effectively makes it simpler for users to find you. Also, it makes the marketing procedure simpler and much easier. If you have a different handle for each platform, customers will get confused if all are the same brand. They may even send you emails to confirm that it is the same brand, and that is unprofessional.
And who has the time to remember all your social media handles for each platform? Literally, no one!
Getting matching handles will let users find your business online easily, and that is a sign of professionalism. What is more, it will make printed marketing materials memorable and clearer.
However, finding a matching handle available on every platform is not so simple. So, if you are one of the lucky ones to find it, ensure that you grab it before it is gone, even if you have not launched your own site, registered your domain, or built your business.
What Should you do if your Social Media Handle is not available on every platform?
Let us say you have the same username on Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy, but your Twitter name is not available. The first thing to check is if your Twitter account is active or not. If it is not, ask the person if they can provide you the username. You will be surprised how helpful it can be.
In addition, you can add “.” or “- “between the names. It is better to avoid numbers as it does not give a professional look. Also, you can create an abbreviation, or add words like artist, photos, photographer, art, studio, painter, sculptor, etc., after or before your username.
Just keep in mind, the maximum characters you can use on Pinterest and Twitter is 15 characters, so your username must be within this limit.
What name to choose for Social Media Handles?
What is there in a name? Many things, if you are talking about the ones you are going to use on social media. Not only are you working with character restrictions, but you must find a name that suits your business in the best way in this congested virtual world.
By keeping this in mind, here are a few suggestions on making this procedure a little less difficult. Check out these and you will find the best naming suggestions for handling social media.
First, aim for consistency across different social media platforms. Sometimes, predictability is a nice thing- and that is the same case here. Username consistency will make it far simpler for would-be connections to find you in social media as searching for a single name is far less disappointing than wasting time in finding different ones.
If you are not able to find the same name across all social media platforms, still focus on brand consistency. Use the same names and verbiage across all your platforms to make your social media presence unified.
When selecting, always keep these two words in mind: sweet and short. This is specifically important when it comes to Twitter, whose 140-character limit places an automatic restriction on the length of anything that you post. This includes your handle, which must not resemble the digital edition of War and Peace.
Always select a name for your handle that will stand the test of time. If possible, keeping your social media under your name, instead of your company name, is a smart move. You never know how long you will be with that brand or company-or even in the same business.
It is also significant to keep your customer in mind. Do they think of you in terms of your company’s name or by your first and last name? This should factor into your decision procedure as this is how prospective connections will seek you out.
You possibly want to stay away from numbers, the use of which often shows that your primary choice of username was taken and so you were consigned to tagging on “5678” at the end. The same applies to additional letters or underscores. Keep in mind that choose names that are short and easy to remember.
Once you have done your due diligence and selected the right username, be sure to run an internet search on it not just to find out if it is available, but to find out if there are any associations- good or bad- that come with it.
Now, you are all set to go ahead!
Popular Social Media Handles
Do you remember when you choose names for your social media, did you use your real name, something random, or a nickname? While producing online profiles, people can spend a lot of time improving their account handles. But there are a few social media that got it right. Here are some of the coolest social media handles. Know more about social media marketing tools.
- @POTUS on Facebook and Twitter
The President of the United States (POTUS) has a heavy-hitter Twitter handle to tweet to his voters. As far as Facebook is concerned, it took 2 more years after Twitter for POTUS to join. But, in just 3 days he earned more than 1M followers. Perhaps, the President only has time for those small, real-time conversations which are better suitable for Twitter. It is uncertain if the White House will pass along the Twitter handle to each new President or if Obama will hold onto it…. Maybe saving it for Democratic social media gurus.
- @FLOTUS on Twitter
First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), Michelle Obama synchronizes with her husband. With Hillary running in 2016, the discussion of the first gentleman or first man title may be solidified with a Twitter handle. Though most of the tweets come from her team, Michelle signs her own tweets. Barack Obama also had a similar sign-off, but it was then removed from his bio (maybe because he was not tweeting enough).
- @SJP on Twitter
You know a nickname is genuine if it is your Twitter handle! Sarah Jessica Parker rocks her 3-letter initial on Twitter.
- @ NPH on Instagram and @NPH on Twitter
Like SJP, NPH shows off this household initials on his Instagram account. But as for Twitter, he chose for @actuallyNPH, instead of the typical “the real” of “official” pretense when the desired handle is already taken.
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Social media handles play an important role in every business’s digital marketing as they help customers find about your or business easily and make you look like a professional. So, select a short and sweet username that can be kept in mind easily and stands the test of time too. Try to be consistent on every social media platform. Reach out how to become a social media manager.