Are you starting a new business?
It seems like there is so much to go into at it, especially at the beginning.
Making products, finding a niche, looking for target customers, the list goes on.
What about constantly searching for the best possible business name?
Do you have a hard time finding it because you HAVE to have the most perfect name for your online shop?
But what can you do since it seems ALL the good names are already taken?
You're not the only one who's been there.
Luckily for you, there are so many more resources out there to help you find exactly what you're looking for.
When I first decided to start Creating Beautifully, I checked many of the social media platforms to see if @CreatingBeautifully was already taken, and to my surprise, they were all available!
I quickly snatched up the domain name and started grabbing all the social media handles I thought were available.
But I had made a terrible mistake.
I found out that on both Pinterest and Twitter, “CreatingBeautifully” appeared to be available but it was not, because both of those platforms restrict the number of characters to 15 and CreatingBeautifully has 19.
But what hurt even more was that the name was actually taken on Instagram all along – I must’ve misspelled it when I checked in the first place. #facepalm
(Luckily it was available on Facebook, so I scooped it right up. Finally, a small win!)
But this had me wondering (and, quite frankly, worrying!): What do I do now?
Because, first of all, just about every business coach, consultant, and social media expert will tell you that your social media handles should a). all be the same, and b). be either your business name, or your name.
But with social media rising in popularity every single day, and just about a gajillion domains being registered, and millions of Etsy shops open, having the same name across all accounts sometimes seems impossible.
Well, the good news is that it’s not impossible for everyone.
(The bad news is, it was for me! But more on that, later…)
For now, let’s talk about you and your social media handles. Here is a checklist of the ideal situations for your handles:
- They are the same across all social media for your business.
- They are also either: your name, your business name, your Etsy shop name, or your domain name.
- They are as short as possible.
- They are easy to remember.
- They are easy to spell.
Can you check off all the boxes?
If so, great!
You’re ahead of the game!
But if not, I have a few solutions.
But first, let’s get to why it’s important to have the same name across all platforms, when possible.
It really all comes down to one word: branding.
First of all, let’s say you start to have massive success and Mei decides to interview you on The Business Buzz Podcast, and at the end she asks something like, “Where can people go to find you online?”
And you say something like, “Well, I’m Jamin J Jewelry on Etsy, @JJJewelry on Instagram, Jill Smith on Pinterest, Jill H. Smith on Facebook, and my domain is www.JaminOnJewels.com!”
Who will ever remember all that!?
The answer is, no one.
Plus, it’s just not professional.
So let’s chat about some realistic workarounds, if your social media handles are taken…
Say you have the same name on Etsy, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, but your Instagram name is taken.
There are a few things you can do; one is to see if the Instagram account is active.
If not, try sending that person a direct message and see if they will simply give you the name.
(I did this with another account and the person replied a couple of weeks after I first sent the message and said yes! #Yay)
You can also do what I did with CreatingBeautifully and that was adding a “.” between the words (so I’m actually @Creating.Beautifully on Instagram.)
You could also use a “_” – a.k.a. an underscore — in place of the dot.
Even though that’s what I’ve chosen to do, it’s not always ideal, and there are some other options available.
For instance, you can add numbers to your name (though that’s not typically on brand for most creative business owners.)
You can also create some sort of abbreviation of your name.
For example, in the case of both Pinterest and Twitter, where you can only use up to 15 characters, I chose “OhHeyCB” — partly because that’s how I start out every email newsletter: “Oh hey, Mei” (or whatever the subscriber’s name happens to be), but also because those names were available, short, and easy to remember.
Which checked some of the boxes I mentioned earlier.
One thing to note; I also scooped up that name on Instagram, even though it’s not my main account.
I did that because sometimes people will just assume your name is the same across all platforms, so if they found me on Twitter, I want them to also be able to easily find me on Instagram.
So on the @OhHeyCB Instagram, I just redirect them to my actual Instagram account.
But I digress!
So, besides numbers, dots, underscores and abbreviations, what are some other creative ideas you can use so that all of your names are the same?
Well, you can add qualifiers that describe you and your business.
If you’re an artist, you could add words like art, artist, studio, painter, sculptor, calligraphy, photos, photography, photographer, etc. before or after your name or business name.
If you’re a jewelry maker you could add words like jewelry, jewels, maker, jeweler, goldsmith, silversmith, gems, etc.
Other makers could use words like: maker, handmade, crafted by, handcrafted, etc.
You could also add words like: hi, hello, love, xo, co, etc.
Or add relevant location information, like usa, au, ca, it, etc.
I did this with my personal Twitter because @julestillman was taken, so I chose @julestillmanpdx instead. (Yay, Portland!)
If you want to use your name but it’s taken, try using a nickname, a short or long version of your first name (like Vicki vs. Victoria) and/or adding your middle name or initial.
Of course, only use these solutions if it feels authentic to you and your brand.
Obviously some of those solutions will make your handle longer, which isn’t always optimal, as we discussed earlier, but if they can’t be avoided, then it’s what you’ll have to do.
Here are a couple of other things to note:
If you’re still in the brainstorming stage for both your business name, domain name, and social media handles, you might also want to check out sites like http://www.spinxo.com which offers suggestions for names based on things like your name, what you’re like, your hobbies, what you like, important words, etc.
And finally, if you do have a name locked down on the social media sites you’re using, I would also suggest grabbing them on at least some social media platforms you’re not using, just in case that platform blows up and/or you decide you really love it, after all (I’m looking at you, Snapchat!) you’ll at least have your name reserved there.
Jules Tillman is an artist, entrepreneur, and creative coach at www.CreatingBeautifully.com — a space to celebrate and cultivate your creativity! Whether you’re an artist selling your work, or you just want to have fun making, we believe that everyone is (or can be!) creative. Jules wants you to feel empowered and excited about creating something new – whether that is a business, or a piece of art!