Social Media Handles: The Complete Guide
Is there anything more satisfying than seeing your name illuminated?
What about getting the perfect handle to launch your brand into social media stardom.
Although it might not be as glamorous as you would like, it will help you achieve more than 15 minutes of fame.
Social media marketing won’t be going away anytime soon. It is important to be present on the channels you choose for your target audience. How do you start? Create an account and choose a social media handle. It’s not always that simple.
Let’s take a look at:
- What is a social media handle? And why it matters.
- What handles look like (or not) on different platforms?
- How to choose the perfect handle for your brand
- Social media handles the complete guide
The handle’s 200-year history
For a long time, we have used the term “handle” as a title or pseudonym.
Since the 19th century, anyone who was a Sir or Doctor was considered to “have a name to his name.” However, if the distinguished knight or doctor went by Skip, it would be his “childhood handle” or nickname.
The term was popularized in the 1970s when commercial truck drivers began to use citizens’ band radio. Truckers used their CB radios as a means of communication to use assumed callsigns and to avoid fuel shortages.
This semi-anonymous conversation became popular in instant messaging and chat rooms on the internet. The name stuck. In the early days of social media, a handle was used to refer to a screen name.
What is a social media handle?
Your handle, which is a public name that you use to connect with other users and broadcast your messages, can be found on any social media platform.
There’s an important lesson in our history lesson that you should take away: A social handle is not just a moniker. It’s also a communication tool for social media handles the complete guide.
This unique identifier will be used by your followers or audience to locate your brand on Facebook. They’ll also use it to @mention your company in tweets and Instagram stories, and tag you in posts. A handle is a gateway to all social media engagement.
Social media handle vs. username
A handle is a public username that doubles as a login password. It is often referred to as a username on social media platforms, rather than a handle.
Not all usernames can be handled.
Display name vs. social media handle
You may be able to select a display name other than your handle depending on which social network you use.Multiple accounts can share the same display name. However, a handle is unique to you.
A handle can be thought of as a Gmail address, or Social Security number. It is truly unique. This means that your ideal handle might not be available. However, we will see that there are ways around this.
Here are the social media handles that will show up on your profile
Now that you have a good understanding of the basics, let us see how this handy sobriquet fits in with your social profile appearance. And how your audience will view it via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
You can control two different identifiers in your Facebook settings:
- Name: This is your display name. This name appears in bolder text at the top your profile. However, it is not unique to you.
- Username: This is your unique handle. This handle appears in your Facebook profile after you have added the @ sign and in the URL.
Catbird, a Brooklyn-based jewelry business, uses the name “catbird” for its Facebook display name. However, their handle is @catbirdnyc. Their profile URL is Facebook.com/catbirdnyc.
You must follow Facebook username guidelines when choosing a handle for your Facebook profile or Page.
- It must be at least 5 characters in length, with a maximum of 50 characters.
- Only letters, numbers, and periods allowed
- Periods don’t distinguish usernames (e.g. @johnsmith is the exact same as @john.smith).
You have the exact same options when you open your Twitter account and adjust your profile settings:
- Name: This is your display name. This name appears in bolder, larger letters above your handle.
- Username: This is your Twitter handle. This is unique to your account. It follows the @ sign in your profile. It can also be used in your Twitter URL.
Catbird once again uses @catbirdnyc for its Twitter handle and “catbird” as its display name. The company’s Twitter URL has been changed to Twitter.com/catbirdnyc.
9 top tips for creating social media handles
Social media handles the complete guide will help you, whether you are a marketer who needs to create a social strategy for your business or an entrepreneur who needs to launch a social account.
1. Imagine that someone else has already gotten your ideal handle
Brands looking to be successful on social media in 2020 will have to compete with over 3.8 million users around the world. This means that handles are not available in a first-come-first-served fashion.
You can increase your chances of landing the perfect handle on multiple platforms if you are still in the early stages of your business idea.
There are several avenues that you can use to address concerns about trademark infringement. However, you cannot always rely on this process to get your perfect handle.
2. Check the availability on different platforms
Find out what is available to you if your brand name has been set in stone.
These sites let you check for usernames and handles across hundreds of social media platforms.
Take the results with a grain o’ salt. You can only find out if the name you are looking for is available by creating an account or changing your existing handle.
3. Your handles should be aligned with your domain name and business name
It is logical to use the same name or variations for your business, social profiles, and web domain when you approach social media management.
This makes it easy for both you and your audience to understand.
- Talking about your business with your customers is possible using one name only.
- If your followers are looking for your website or Google Maps information, they can simply type the familiar name in the search bar to reach you immediately.
4. Matching handles will ensure brand consistency
Social media handles the complete guide will give you great tips and should be consistent across all platforms.
Take Etsy. The company’s website links to five social media profiles. All of them use @etsy or the /Etsy/ URL in a vanity URL. It is very satisfying.
A consistent naming system is more important than this because it promotes better communication and increases brand recognition.
- Audience members are aware that there is only one @mention when they interact with social media campaign.
- You can add @brandname to your printed business cards or event banners and you are ready to go.
5. Different platforms have different requirements
Different platforms allow different characters. Avoid underscores and periods altogether to ensure consistency.
Which would you prefer to explain to your audience
- Facebook: @brand.name
- Instagram: @br.andname
- Twitter: @brandname_
- Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @heybrandname
It’s not even an actual contest, is it? These top handles were likely taken by these organizations. They created brand-aligned Instagram accounts without punctuation.
- Gemological Institute of America: #giagrams
- Chatsworth House: www.chatsworthofficial
- Christian Louboutin: www.louboutinworld
- Modsy: @modsydesign
- Pietra: @shoppietra
- GLDN: @itsgldn
6. Make sure to keep your social media handles short
An easy-to-remember and concise handle is key to a memorable social media brand. So your ideal customer can find and contact you quickly, it should be easy to type.
You can choose to either spell it or to acronymize your company name if you have a long one.
- The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), @themuseumofmodernart
- Chicago Architecture Center: @chiarchitecture
- New York Botanical Garden: www.nybg.
Remember to adhere to the character limits for each platform. A handle of 15 characters or less is a good choice if you intend to be active on Twitter. This will allow your social media team to maintain consistency across all platforms.
7. They should be easy to spell and pronounce
One of the many advantages of being social is the ability to generate word-of-mouth interest. If you want to encourage conversation, your handle should be easy to pronounce. It should also be easy to spell.
Alexis Nido Russo, founder of Local Eclectic stated that “Don’t pick a brand name no one can spell or say.” I have most of the misspellings for ‘eclectic” online.
This is a costly mistake for the brand and an inconvenience to the customer.
8. Choose a name that will stand the test of time
It doesn’t really matter if your live stream is every Wednesday, or creating evergreen content. Your social media accounts should be relevant now and in the future.
Once you have chosen a handle, it is not always possible or easy to change it. If you expand your product offerings, a name that ties your brand to a specific category of products can create misinformation.
Start your brand’s social media presence by choosing a handle that is flexible and can grow with your business.
9. If your preferred handle isn’t available, be prepared with a backup plan
You might be surprised to find out that your brand’s social media handles are not succinct after doing some research.
Catbird uses @catbirdnyc instead of @catbird because Ryan, a design professional, was the one who acquired the Twitter handle. This happened two years before the jewelry company’s debut on Twitter. The handle on Facebook is owned by Cathy from North Carolina.
There is a lot misinformation and confusion in the world of small and startup businesses about social media handles
We know that entrepreneurs want to make the right business decision. Entrepreneurs are meticulous about branding, including social media handles. It is not surprising that some people hesitate to take over a business name if they are already taken.
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about social media handles in the world of small and startup businesses. A social media handle, just like a domain name, is a way potential customers can find your company online. You don’t always need a social media handle that matches your domain.
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Your username is your social media handle. On platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, handles often follow an @ symbol like @Squadhelp. It allows people to identify you and communicate directly with you.
We have worked on almost 20,000 naming projects and often assist our clients in finding the right domains to fit their needs. Many people are not clear on the best social media handles.
They may need a matching handle if they are looking for a specific match domain.
The same advice has been given to us all: social media handles that are exact matches are unnecessary.
It may seem confusing to people that you don’t have a social media handle that is exactly the same as your match. Even if you don’t have an exact match social media handle, most customers will be able to find you on social networks.
This is due to a few factors:
- More important than your handle is your name.
- Many businesses do not have social media accounts, and this does not hinder their success.
- It is unlikely that people will have difficulty finding your business via social media.
- There are many ways to circumvent exact match handle restrictions.
We have raw data that can back these claims if you aren’t convinced.
We became interested in social media handles after working with thousands upon thousands of companies to name their new ventures.
We researched LinkedIn’s annual 50 fastest-growing startups and examined their social media handles to determine if they have had any impact on their success.
It could indicate that precise match handles can give an advantage if most of the companies are using exact match handle. It would indicate that not all companies use the exact match handle.
For the companies in this list, we searched on four social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We also recorded the exact match of each company’s social media handles for their online presence on each platform. The table is below.
Here’s a quick overview of the most important data points:
- Only 20% of these companies use the exact match social media handles across all platforms.
- 34% of companies on this list don’t have exact match handles on any social media site.
Only ten of the 50 companies had exact match social media accounts across all five platforms. This is 20% of top startups with exact match social media accounts. The rest of the startups had some variation in at least one of their social media handles.
We also found that 34 percent of the 50 people on our list didn’t have exact match handle information for any of their social networks.
These businesses account for 70% of their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
These rapidly expanding companies use social media extensively, but they don’t need the exact social media handles to be successful in business.
We spoke to many customers and found that most reservations are motivated by the fear of missing out on connections with customers who don’t have an exact match handle. This can lead to slower growth.
This isn’t always true, however, as it is with URLs and exact-match domains. Exact match social media handles can be even more important than exact match URLs. Sometimes, clients require exact match URLs. We help them find great names with the available URLs. Sometimes, however, exact match social handles and URLs are not always available.
It is unrealistic to expect that you will find the exact match handle across all social media platforms, whether it be on three, five, or seven. Every day, thousands of people join social media from all over the world. They claim usernames every second, especially because handles, unlike domains are completely free. Anyone can claim handles at any moment.
But even businesses that need or prefer exact match domains don’t necessarily require exact match social media handles. A handle shouldn’t be an important factor when choosing a business name.
Our research revealed that the most successful startups don’t use social media handles that match their exact profiles, which has not affected their growth.
These data suggest that a startup’s growth will not be hindered by having exact match social media accounts. This list has shown that startups can succeed even if they don’t have exact match social media handles.
It is vital to secure your social media accounts before anyone can impersonate you online. However, a stolen username should not stop you from using a great name for your business.
If the business or person using your exact match name is doing something similar to yours, a taken handle could get messy. If you’re starting a paint brand named “New Blood”, but another brand using @newbloodart as an Instagram handle, it might be worth reconsidering the name.
What is the point of social media handles if they aren’t important?
It’s a good place to start. A great name is more important than a good social-media handle in most cases.
Your startup will thrive if you have a strong brand and solid social media presence.