Why You Should Claim All Social Media Handles for Your Small Business
6 min read | Posted May 25, 2021
As a small business owner in Colorado, social media may seem like a task that you should hold off on until later—especially if you are just starting out and you have a dozen (or two dozen) other things on your mind.
However, even if you are not quite ready to use social media to market your services or advertise products on a regular basis, you don’t want to neglect it altogether. In fact, claiming your social media handles as soon as you have committed to a business name is one of the first steps you should take in order to enhance your overall branding strategy.
How to Claim Social Media Handles
Social media handles—the usernames that start with the “@” symbol—are used for all the major networks: Twitter, LinkedIn Instagram and Facebook. For YouTube, users select a channel name and SnapChat and Pinterest also require a username that is, more or less, like a social media handle. These handles and account names are scooped up by companies, agencies and individuals on a daily basis, which is why there’s an urgency to act now, even if you’re not sure what sort of social media strategy you’ll implement later down the road. Plus, there is no risk or cost to establishing a new social media profile or page.
The first step to maximizing the benefits of social media when starting up your small business in Colorado Springs is to develop a single unique handle that you can use for all the platforms. Because Twitter only allows 15 characters, it’s easiest to stick to that limit for all of your handles and keep your name short and simple. (Trying to be too clever often just winds up creating confusion for followers later anyways).
Once you have an idea, you’ll have to do a little leg work to see if it’s still unclaimed on the social networks that you plan to utilize for your organization or business. If someone is already using your preferred handle on any channel, it’s back to the drawing board.
Don’t worry. There are plenty of little ways to modify your original idea so you can create a unique name or handle that still reflects your company or organization accurately. For example, you can use acronyms; include the initial for your first name with your full last name or vice versa; incorporate words such as “try,” “HQ,” or “this is,”—but without the spaces, of course. If the account is associated with customer service or personal services, think about adding “help” or “ask.” If you sell products, add “try” or “we make.”
Benefits of Claiming Social Media Handles
The most important reason to claim a matching social media handle for your Colorado company early is that it enables you to cultivate brand consistency that pays off for years to come.
Current and prospective clients will see the same username or handle associated with your business, no matter what platform they’re interacting with you on. And if they want to find you on a different social media network, they can do so easily enough by plugging in the information they already have from your other account. In short, you are making it simpler for people to know how to find you.
Additionally, having a consistent handle across social media platforms demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and streamlines your marketing endeavors. This is especially true when it comes to print advertisements and publications. Imagine, when you are designing a direct mailer or brochure for your organization in Colorado Springs: Instead of having to create a long, unattractive list of your various handles or account names for LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and other networks you use, you can include your one unique name, which is aesthetically more pleasing and also more likely to be remembered by viewers.
Finally, claiming a unique, consistent social media handle or username as early as possible reduces the risk of competitors interfering with your digital presence. If you’ve only claimed a handle on Facebook, and then a different company or individual claims the same one on LinkedIn, it creates confusion and inconsistency that can negatively affect your branding efforts. A prospective client could search for your Colorado Springs business on Instagram using that handle they associate with you from Twitter and happen upon the account for the completely unrelated entity. Worse, you have no control over what the other user posts. If it’s unprofessional or goes against your messaging, that could potentially detract from your business image—even though the account isn’t yours.
Social Media Handle Mistakes to Avoid
When you are getting involved with social media professionally, it’s important to implement best practices from the start. Here are a few tips and mistakes to avoid when claiming social media handles and establishing your account:
- Keep your username or handle short, simple and consistent. Avoid using numbers to differentiate your account from another user with an identical handle, as it tends to look unprofessional. Underscores are also difficult for other patrons to remember and get right.
- When investigating a potential social media handle, Namechk is a good resource to use.
- If a social media handle is already taken by another user, you can’t (and shouldn’t) try to purchase it. That’s a violation of the rules for most major social networks.
- Make sure you are using each account occasionally so you don’t become labeled a “social media squatter” or have your account deactivated or unpublished. That can happen on Twitter after six months. Facebook and Instagram have not issued clear statements about what length of time must pass for that to happen, but both companies have policies stating they will flag and potentially remove inactive accounts.
Promoting Your Colorado Springs Business
Social media can be a powerful promotional tool for any small businesses in Colorado Springs, regardless of industry. You may be unsure how you will use it in the future, but it’s a smart move to go ahead and secure a consistent, matching username as soon as possible. For your other digital and print marketing needs, our team at Third Angle is here and ready to help. We offer website development and design, search engine optimization (SEO), and print and mail services that can further augment your company’s brand and help you achieve your growth goals.