05 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Choosing Your Social Media Handle

Choosing the name to use for your business on social media can be tricky. There are multiple places where your name is displayed on each platform and there are some character limitations as well. And if you have had any experience with social media, you know the native search tools on platforms like Facebook and Twitter aren’t very good. Strive to be as consistent as possible across platforms and choose your social media handle by following these guidelines.

The first and I think most important consideration is what does your audience call you? How are you known or referred to by them? You may need to put yourself in your ideal customer‘s shoes for a minute here.

An example I often use in my seminars is an organization called the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. I sit on their Board of Directors and helped them straighten out some of their social media profiles a while back. For a business name, the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce is pretty long. Internally, the staff refers to the organization as the DRCC. However, most members and the general public do not.

Side Note: It’s important to avoid using acronyms publicly whenever possible. Our office is right outside of Washington, DC and if you use the wrong acronym around here you could be in big trouble. Beyond that, it is confusing and there are often many other organizations using the same acronym.

This organization is referred to almost exclusively by its members and the public as the Dulles Chamber. This name fits nicely with the next point to consider when thinking about social media profiles – the length – since it is only 14 characters. So, my recommendation to the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce was to use “dulleschamber” as their Twitter handle, Facebook URL, YouTube username, etc. I also advised using “Dulles Chamber” as their Facebook Page name and Twitter username.

In some cases, this isn’t possible because someone else has secured the name. You will need to investigate your name availability on all the major social media platforms as well as the associated domain name.

Think Rabies vanWith your new shortened name in hand, you should see if the matching domain name is available. Many years ago, I wrote about a Brilliant! domain name I saw while driving around. The van pictured here has the URL thinkrabies.com. In all these years, I did not know or remember the phone number or business name but I never forgot that domain name. If I was advising this business, I would recommend that they take that name and secure all available social media profiles, even if they don’t plan to use the profiles right now.

The final step in choosing a name, even it it’s available everywhere you have looked, is to run  it through a search engine to see what comes up.

If you already have profiles set up, you can often edit your username, URL and handle. The Facebook URL probably has the most rules associated with changing it. You can learn how to Set Your Facebook URL by watching this video. You can also read about the Facebook Username Guidelines.

About the Author: Laura B. Poindexter (87 Posts)

Laura B. Poindexter is a renowned thought leader, guiding clients through the changing electronic marketing and social media environment. Her public seminars have helped thousands of business owners learn and employ affordable marketing solutions. Since 2000, her company, Queenb Creative (formerly laura b creative), has managed clients’ online presence, maximized their social media and electronic marketing to positively impact their bottom line and enhance audience engagement.