Unless you’re @POTUS, having a handle name that is anything but your own is damaging to your reach and impact on social media. Maybe you created your handle before you were cast on that hit TV show? Maybe you got to Twitter late in the game and your name was taken? Maybe you wanted to be unique and creative when choosing a handle? Maybe an inside joke between you and your fans seemed like an authentic option?
The list of reasons why people have a random handle name is endless. The truth is, the alternative social handle can be great and hilarious, but it is not the smart choice. This is especially true if you’re trying to grow your following on that network, whether it be Twitter or Instagram.
Let’s get real.
It is important that you get your name or a close variation of you name as your username, and this is why: Fans searching for you can not always find you. Depending on how many fan accounts are created in your image, it can be hard to find you in the list of names that comes up in search. The verification check mark has significantly helped this problem, but not everyone is verified. Let me tell you as someone who searches celebrities on Twitter for work, sometimes a fan from Ohio with the celebrity’s name, picture, tweets in likeness, and 67k followers can seem pretty legit.
When co-stars, networks, and other people mention you, you are not recognizable by the handle. Even if your name is listed on your profile, when something tweets @ you, the fans of that person are only seeing your handle name. Therefore, they have no clue who was just mentioned.
To give an example, I’ve been working with Abigail Breslin around Scream Queens. Abigail is awesome, and gets a TON of mentions, especially from her co-stars. This is great because people who are yet to follow her are exposed to her Twitter. However, Abigail’s handle name is @YoAbbaAbba. So when Emma Roberts tweets @ her, Emma’s 3.3 million twitter fans have no idea who @YoAbbaAbba is until (if they even go this far) click on Abigail’s profile.
To go even deeper into handle names and choices, it is highly recommended that you keep your name CONSISTENT. Meaning your Instagram, Twitter, Vine, etc name is all the same. Again, this helps people find you. Sometimes, people are lazy and will @ you without looking up your true account. If a fan follows you on Instagram and your handle is your first and last name, they will most likely assume that is the case for Twitter as well when they mention you. If your name is taken, come up with a close variation. Add your middle initial between your first and last name. Add the words “official” before or after your name, or MS or MR. Whatever you choose, make that your username across all platforms. This will benefit you and your social media in more ways than one.