When you open a Twitter account, you’re asked to create a profile. This profile contains various elements: background image, avatar, bio, etc. Many of these can be changed periodically to reflect events, achievements and new locations. However, there’s one profile element you need to nail on your first shot.
Also known as your Twitter handle, your username is what follows the @. It’s how others will find you on Twitter, and the characters you choose to put after that @ can make you or break you. So it deserves plenty of consideration.
Here are some guidelines for a solid username.
Be consistent. If you already have a username on Facebook or LinkedIn, you’re set. Use it on Twitter to stay consistent and make it easy for followers to find you.
Keep it short. You have 15 characters to play with, but you don’t have to use them all. In fact, it’s best not to. Shorter handles are easier to remember for those wanting to find you.
Keep it relevant. Every element of your communication – even your username – should be consistent with your brand.If you sell artisan pizzas, a Twitter handle of @honkycat43 or @daddysgirl may amuse you, but it does nothing to identify your business or support your brand.
Go with a name. Best practice for creating a Twitter handle is to use the shortest form of your company’s name. Or you may consider using your name if your company’s brand or value is intrinsically connected to you.
When Someone Has Your Name
With more than 600 million registered users on Twitter, chances are good someone already has your company’s name – or even your name – as their handle. If so, don’t despair. You have options.
One is to purchase the username from the current user or have it wrested away for various reasons. This can be time-consuming and costly. A better approach is to slightly tweak the name you want. You’ll still have a good handle, and it won’t cost you a dime.
Here are some things you can do to your name to establish a strong username.
Start with “The.” It uses only three characters, but makes you distinct.
Start with an active verb. Words like “Try” or “Join” are short calls-to-action that encourage engagement. They’re especially effective for service organizations and apps.
Combine your name and profession. This is a smart move if your personal name is already taken. It links you to what you do, making it easier for others to find you.
Start with “Team.” That four-letter word speaks volumes. It implies size, solidarity and focus.
End with “HQ.” Here’s another short addition that works well with a company or personal name. This abbreviation for “headquarters” gives a business-oriented feel to your handle.
End with “com” or “dotcom.” It’s a great way to help visitors remember your website. The more they learn about you, the better your chance at sparking a relationship.
All these options are preferable to simply putting an underline between words (Eternal_Flowers) or adding some number to your name (CadizCafe88). These aren’t memorable enough to separate you from the original, and it implies you didn’t give your username much thought.
With the total number of registered Twitter users somewhere around one billion, finding an original, hard-working Twitter handle for your business may seem impossible. However, with some due diligence and a little creativity, you can make it happen.
Rhonda Serkes offers one-on-one instruction and corporate seminars on the power of Twitter. Known as “The Twitter Lady” in the Philadelphia area, she is also available for online instruction. For rates and availabilities, email Rhonda or call (610) 668-3020.