Welcome to my Level Up Your Social Media Game – a series of articles where I will be giving you my knowledge, expertise, and tips from managing numerous brand social media accounts over the years to help YOU grow your own social media game! Oh and don’t worry… these tips can be applied to BOTH your personal social media channels (let’s go personal branding!!!) and your brand’s social media channels. In my previous article, I covered the basics on creating your personal brand (including some tips on usernames). In this article, I’m going to teach you why picking a creative and consistent username/handle for your social media accounts is crucial for developing your branding.
WHAT IS YOUR USERNAME/HANDLE?
A “handle” is the username tied to your social media account, and for example can be your @PersonalName, @Gamertag, or your @CompanyName. Essentially, it’s the name your followers, customers, and friends can find you under on social media platforms. This plays a big role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or to put it simple, can have your account pull up when people search for what your name is on the internet.
PICKING A CONSISTENT USERNAME IS CRUCIAL…
Why? Well, think of it like this. You’re probably the only “First Last” (For this example we can use my name, “Eric Aaberg”) that you know in your own life (unless you have a common last name, which is possible!). Well, when your followers are searching you up on social media, you want that to apply as well. When it comes to usernames, there can only be one. So if your name is Eric Aaberg and you want to claim @EricAaberg on all of the social media platforms, chances are that you can’t – because I already tried that (which is why I made mine @Erictigerawr).
Sadly a lot of @FirstLast or even @YourCompany handles may already be taken on social media, and you definitely don’t want to try and go with @FirstLast2 as a compromise as it’s just weird when there’s a “1” and “original” of your handle. You also won’t want to go with @Green_Apple_Co on Instagram and then @Co_GreenApple on Twitter as it’s too confusing for your customers to search up what username on which platform. Instead, you’ve got to go being creative!
SECURE YOUR DOMAIN NAME TOO!
Going for a consistent username is also going for a good domain-name. For example, most companies try and get their companyname under .com (ie. erictigerawr.com) as it’s the most commonly used – however this is sometimes hard when you’re dealing with the fact that domains have been out for nearly 30+ years (not actually sure of the date, but you get the point). This means every day more domains are registered and taken, and for example Minecraft – one of the most popular games in the world – only has Minecraft.net as Minecraft.com – which goes to some mining company…. (who would’ve thought lol).
In most cases, you’re going to want to go for the .com domain for these reasons. (Some cases can exclude you going for another TLD [Top Level Domain] for branding purposes, for example esportsteam.gg since .gg is popular and clean for esports/gaming).
Fun Fact: Discord recently was able to obtain “Discord.com” and switched all of their platforms from discordapp.com -> discord.com as well as changing their socials from @discordapp -> @discord. Why? Because they want their audience to read them as “Discord” and not “Discord App” + easier to find on socials + people aren’t visiting the wrong website.
THINGS TO STAY AWAY FROM IN USERNAMES!
This may be a surprise to some, but not all platforms have the same “rules” when it comes to creating usernames on their platform. For example, XBOX LIVE allows actual spaces in usernames (ie. “Gamer Beast24”) could be a username you could create – and is the only platform that allows spaces to my knowledge. Another example is that Instagram allows periods “.” in usernames (ie. “your.username.here”) but Twitter and most other platforms don’t. Facebook also doesn’t technically allow underscores in usernames, but will just redirect it from “@your_page” to “@yourpage”). Here’s my personal preference and guide:
- Stay away from periods and spaces. (These special characters are only allowed on certain platforms)
- Stay away from underscores. (Why have your username as @your_company when it can just be @yourcompany)
- Stay away from numbers if possible. (Again, @YourCompanyName1 just looks weird and people might follow @YourCompanyName which would be another business’ account)
- Stay under 15 characters/letters. (Twitter’s limit is 15, Facebook/Instagram limit is 32, Playstation is 16, etc.)
- Stay away from possible trademark infringements. (This is just common sense, but yeah)
IT HELPS IN OTHER WAYS TOO…
Not only does having the same username across all platforms make it easier for your audience to find you, it also helps when you’re creating promotional marketing collateral. Let’s take a look below:
As you can see, having a consistent username helps a lot when it comes to promoting your social channels on graphics, merchandise, and more.
Overall, these are my tips on why you should create a consistent username! As always, if something is taken be sure to get creative (ie. adding “GG” to the end of your handle if you’re an esports/gaming account, adding “Social” at the end, etc.). So you get the point, get that consistent username + domain and get that bread!
Should you have any questions about creating a username, drop me a tweet at @erictigerawr!