Having a presence on social media is a necessary component of marketing for a business of any size. With so many platforms, it can seem overwhelming to create a new social media strategy that works across them all. However, one of the best places to start is by claiming your business username, also referred to as “social media handle”, on multiple platforms and using one name consistently. Let’s take a look at the best social media practices for claiming your social media handles.
Helpful Tips for Choosing Social Media Handles
Even if you don’t anticipate using a particular social network, it’s better to claim the handle now rather than risk someone else claiming it. To avoid confusion, try to match your business name with your social media handles as closely as possible. It’s also important to try to claim the same handle across all networks instead of having different handles on different pages. A single username used everywhere will make it easier for your followers to find you anywhere.
Once you are past the brainstorming stage and have a username in mind, you can use several tools to check to see if it is available across domains or social networks. Knowem and Namechk are two examples of tools that can be used to quickly check where and if your company name or username is available (remember to enter your brand name without any spaces).
What should you do if your preferred username is already taken? There are a couple of choices. First, you can select a slightly different variation of the original username you had in mind.
Second, you can contact the person who holds that username and ask if they would be willing to transfer it. If it is an inactive account, a simple request through direct messages might get you the username you want. Please note, on many social media networks it is a violation of terms of service to purchase domain names or usernames.
Third, if your name or logo is protected by a trademark, you could potentially get the username through trademark infringement. Most websites have policies against username squatting, and if trademark infringement is involved, the username may be released to your company if you file the appropriate report.
How to Claim Your Business Page Handle for Each Social Media Platform
The necessary steps for claiming your business page and social media handles for each of the top social platforms are as follows:
Start by going to Facebook Business. Click on “Create a Page” in the upper right-hand corner. You will be asked to identify your business page type, including your business name and category. Then you can add a profile picture and a cover picture. While you can skip this step, if you have a logo, that is usually a great choice for your profile picture, and the cover photo can help customers identify your brand and purpose.
The one step you don’t want to miss is creating a vanity URL. In Facebook, this is called your Page Username. Essentially, this is the Facebook version of your social media handle. Without it, your Facebook page URL will look something like facebook.com/pages/you/12345789. Setting a username will create a URL at facebook.com/YourBusinessUsername. Once you set your Facebook username, it cannot be changed. To set your Page Username, click “Create Page @Username” on the left-hand side of your Facebook page.
Once your page is created, add a short description (155 characters maximum) and other important details like your business domain name, contact information, location and more.
Claiming your business username on Instagram is pretty straightforward. It is important to remember that Instagram usernames are limited to 30 characters and can contain only letters, numbers, periods and underscores. To claim your username, download and launch the Instagram app. Sign up for an account using your business email address and enter your username. Once you have an account, click on “Settings” and select “Switch to Business Account.” This will allow you to add business information like your address and phone number.
For additional tips on using an Instagram account for your business, check out the Instagram Business page.
There is no difference between personal and business Twitter accounts. Whether for individuals or businesses, Twitter usernames are used as profile URLs (twitter.com/username). To create an account, visit the Twitter Sign Up page. Once you have claimed your Twitter handle, you can add a profile image, header image and background. Similar to Facebook, it usually makes sense to use your business logo as your profile image. Be sure to add your business URL to your Twitter profile, and then learn more about best practices on Twitter with this official Twitter business guide.
To claim your business name on Pinterest, start by going to the Pinterest Business page. Click on “Sign up” and add your contact information and username. Add a profile photo (165 x 165 pixels) – usually your logo. Once you have your Pinterest page established, go into Settings and add your business URL. You will be asked to verify your website by adding HTML code to your webpage.
Start a YouTube account for your business by visiting YouTube and clicking on “Sign In.” Create an account. Then, choose “My Channel” from the drop-down menu in the top right corner. Select the line that reads “To use a business or other name, click here.” You will input your business’ YouTube handle in the field labeled “Name your channel.” Once your channel is set up, you can add your business details and logo in the “About” tab.
LinkedIn is a particularly good choice for B2B or professional services companies. To get started with a LinkedIn business page, you’ll need to first have a personal LinkedIn profile. Once you log into your personal account, choose “Work” from the main menu and then “Create a Company Page.” You’ll be asked to select your page type and then to provide details about your company. When you complete your page identity details, you will select your LinkedIn public URL (linkedin.com/company/your-url-here). You’ll also want to add a 300 x 300 pixel logo.
To add your Business Profile to Google, you’ll want to use Google+. This helps your business show up in Google Search results as well as Google Maps. You’ll need to start by logging into a Google account. Then click on “My Business” in the Google account menu or visit Google’s My Business page. Once you click on “Manage Now,” you’ll be prompted to add your business details. For more tips on using Google to grow your business, check out their small business page.
Social media accounts can play an important role in your company’s marketing plan. These networks allow you to connect with your customers in unique and meaningful ways. You can build your brand and dialogue with social media influencers and your brand ambassadors. Therefore, while it can take a little bit of time to go through each network and create new accounts, it is a worthwhile investment.