Do Social Media Handles Have to Be Consistent?

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Do My Social Media Handles Have to Be Consistent?

The simple answer is Yes.  All your social media handles should be as consistent as possible!

Do Social Media Handles Have To Be Consistent Image

Why do I have to be consistent?

When a customer searches for your business online they will generally know your name. Either from a recommendation or advertising material they have seen. Therefore, you will want your social media handles to match the name they see advertised. It makes it easier to find you among the ever growing ‘noise’ of social media.

Social media handles are also know as  'usernames', 'vanity ULR's' or 'personalised URLs'.  This is the name that is attached to your business social media accounts.

When creating a social media handle for your personal accounts, you simply pick a name or nickname you like and away you go!  However, the difference with a business account is it represents your brand, so it needs to reflect your brand name. Your 'handles' are an extension of your brand.

Let’s look at my social media handles for example

My business is Rachel Moore Social Media & Marketing and my handles are:

  • Facebook.com/rachelmooreuk
  • Twitter.com/GetMOORESocial (Rachel Moore@GetMooreSocial)
  • LinkedIn.com/in/RachelMooreOnline

As you can see mine are not perfect but you can also see the common link between them all.  This means that even though they are not identical it is quite easy to identify me (Rachel Moore Social Media) from the handles.  One thing I do maintain throughout my online presence is that I always keep my profile image and header consistent.  This allows those searching for me to easily identify me across all platforms.

The reason mine are all slightly different is that my name is very popular.  This means I have to use variations such as with Facebook where I use rachelmooreuk and LinkedIn where I use RachelMooreOnline.  I've had these handles for many years and until recently it was difficult to change a username. As a result of that, the problem I now face is that, rachelmooreuk and RachelMooreOnline are on so many business cards and literature I dare not change them!  Twitter is slightly different, RachelMooreSocialMedia simply wouldn't fit within the 15 character allocation that Twitter allow.  I get round that by offering visitors 2 ways to find me. I head my Twitter account up as RachelMoore and have a user name of @GetMOORESocial using my surname as the common link.

How do you choose the best social media handle across all platforms?

When choosing your social media handle remember to keep it as short as possible. On platforms such as Twitter the shorter the better. This makes it easier for others to tag you and add a message within the 140 character limit. You want your handle to be memorable, that way it is easier for people to find and refer you.

It is not always easy to be 100% consistent with your handles across all the various social media platforms as I explain above. However you should still aim for brand consistency. Consider including ‘-‘ or ‘_’ or location nicknames such as LDN for London, LDS for Leeds, BHAM for Birmingham.  Avoid entering numbers into your handle, unless it is part of your business name. The use of numbers, especially at the end of a handle indicates your primary choice was unavailable and you chose the next best match which doesn't look particularly professional.

If you include your social media handles on your business card or on to printed marketing materials then you want them to take up as little space as possible.  Quite often just the icon representing the social media platform you are on can be enough. Having to write out each handle because they are very different from one another can take up a lot of space and in some cases can appear very messy.

Choosing Social Media Handles For Personal Use v Business Use

Some professionals choose to use just their name on social media. This is perfectly fine and can work well if you plan to change your business in the future or aren't 100% sure on the path you wish to take.  The freedom of using your name allows you to change the business without worrying about having to rename all your handles.  Although this is a tricky task to take on with some of the social media platforms, especially if you have a popular name like mine.  This is why I used the word 'Online' at the end of my name on LinkedIn.  Unfortunately there was no way I would be able to have a simple 'Rachel Moore' across all sites.

Always do a search to discover if your preferred handle is in use on any of the platforms before creating your accounts. This saves setting yourself up on Facebook and Instagram only to find the handle on LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest has already been taken. I recommend using www.namechk.com which will tell you instantly if all your handles/usernames and even domain names are available.

Once you have your social media handles set up get sharing them.  Post content on your accounts that your readers will want to see and share. If you're not sure what to post then come back here soon as I will be looking at the different types of content to post. Alternatively you could attend one of my Social Media Workshops – details of which can be found here - or book a 1-2-1 training session with me.

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