How To Find, Claim, and List Your Social Media Handles

Ed Pronley


March 28, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Image depicting different social media icons

Promoting your business on social media is a great way to attract an audience to your content and promote your brand online. However, in order to do that, you need to create social media accounts and pages that are easy for your customers to find. The first step in doing that is finding the right handle for your business and learning how to list your social media handles on your different marketing materials. In this article, we discuss:


How To Choose Your Social Media Handle

Image of a phone showcasing various social media platforms

Image via Pexels by Tracy Le Blanc

Choosing your social media handle is an important part of your branding. For one reason, it helps to claim the handle so that nobody else can use it and potentially represent your company (without even realizing it) in a way that you wouldn’t. But choosing a handle can be complicated, especially if you’re working hard to make sure what you select is appropriate for your brand and explains what you do well. Here is a list of steps to help you choose your social media handle:

1. Base Your Handle On Your Business and Brand

The most common place to start is to use your actual business or brand name. If you use the same name as your business, your customers can have an easier time finding you on social media. If your handle is the same as your display name, it can also help people find you through search. That’s because you’re targeting the same keyword multiple times, which can help it show closer to the top of the search results.

If another company has a similar name, having the same display name and handle can also keep similar accounts from appearing at the top of search results. That doesn’t mean your display name and social media handle have to be exactly the same. If your business name is Protect and Gard-en your social media handle could be @protectandgarden and your display could be Protect and Gard-en: Your Answer To Everything Nature. As long as your business name is at the forefront, it doesn’t matter what you add after.

2. Ensure Your Handle is Evergreen

Though it might boost your account’s reception in the moment, creating a social media handle that follows a certain trend might not stand the test of time. It’s important to ensure that your handle will always be evergreen and consistently match the brand you’re trying to establish. For example, let’s say your business sells personal safes. You might make your social media handle @keepitsecretkeepitsafe, to attract Lord of The Rings fans and gain attention from the trending TV show release. But eventually, that attention will fade, and you might want to change your social media handle.

Though it’s always possible to change your handle, changing often can confuse your target audience and make it harder to promote your business. You also risk the chance of someone taking a more fitting handle for your brand in the meantime.

Related: 4 Tips for Creating Evergreen Content

3. Create a Few Backup Handles

Though the goal is to always get the social media handle you want, it’s possible that it might not be available. If that’s the case, it’s helpful to have some backup handle options. It doesn’t have to be drastically different from your original option, but just different enough that it’s available to use while still professional and representative of your brand. For instance, say you’re trying to get the handle @protectandgarden. Some backup options might include:

  • @protect_and_garden
  • @protectandgard_en
  • @protectandgard


Changing the basic structure of your handle and adding certain symbols like underscores or dashes can help make the handle more unique and give you more options if one is already taken. However, it’s important to make sure that your handle still represents your business and brand. If you add too many symbols or need to add numbers and other characters, it might look unprofessional and turn away potential customers or followers.

On any backups you create, write a short bio with directions to anyone viewing that profile to visit you at your official handle instead. You can even tag your official handle in your bio to make it easy on the visitor to click over to where you’re actually posting content for your brand.

What To Do If Your Social Media Handle is Taken

There are a couple of things you can try if your social media handle is already taken:

  • Talk to the owner: It’s possible that the owner might not know that they’ve taken the name of your business or brand. If you message them and explain your situation, they might be willing to let you have the handle or negotiate its release.
  • Talk with the platform: If you notice that someone has your business name, but their profile is fairly inactive, they might be potentially holding your social media handle hostage. These are sometimes known as squatter accounts and platforms don’t really like them. If you contact the platform, they might become aware of the account and make the social media handle available again.
  • Find a new or similar name: This is where your backups come in. If you find that your desired social media handle is taken, don’t be afraid to alter it or change it to find one that’s available and matches your business and brand.
  • Add an additional word or location: Adding other words like “the,” “business,” or “company” can help you create a unique social media handle. If your business operates in a specific area or region, it can also help to add a location to your handle as well.


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How To Claim Your Social Media Handle

Here is a list of steps to help you claim your social media handle once you know what it is:

1. Check the Handle’s Availability

The first step is to make sure that your handle is available on all platforms. There are a few ways of doing this, from simply checking the handle’s availability on each site to using online tools such as:


These resources show you where your desired username is available and where it’s already taken. Consider using them to make sure you can use the same handle on every platform you want before creating your accounts.

2. Create Accounts on Your Main Platforms

Once you know what handle you want to use and which ones are available, start creating accounts on your main platforms. These are the platforms you know you’ll use the most and create the largest audience following. For most companies just starting a social media campaign, it’s helpful to focus on one to three different accounts so you don’t spread your resources too thin. That way, you can create high-quality content for each platform that attracts your target audience more effectively.

3. Create Accounts on Other Platforms

If you think you might want to create an account on other social media platforms in the future, consider signing up for them right away. This can help ensure that the handle isn’t already taken when you decide to sign up for it. However, if you just sign up for the account and don’t add other information to your profile, the platform might mistake you for a squatter. So, it’s important to fill out other information, like your company bio, contact information, and website, as well as your logo or profile picture.

Also, consider posting a handful of times so there is some content on your profile in case a potential lead, client, or customer visits. Take a look at your Google Analytics and start with your most popular blogs or articles that are currently published on your website. If you need to create content, get started with CopyPress. Our team of expert writers and editors are skilled at developing content for professionals like yourself so you can stand out against your competitors in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

How To List Your Social Media Handles

Depending on what type of marketing materials you’re using, it might be beneficial to list your social media handles or include links to your social media pages. Here is a list of steps to help you list the social media handles on your marketing materials and direct people to your social media accounts:

1. Add Links To Your Website

It’s important to add links to your different social media platforms on your website, as well as the written content you host on your website. This can allow people to find your social media accounts more easily and generate a larger audience following. Most often, these social media links are found in either the footer or header of every business website. Having them in those commonly found places makes it easier for customers to know where to look.

Most websites use hyperlinks or icons that direct people to their social media pages. However, you’re more than welcome to list your social media handle next to these icons as well. This can help people make sure they’ve found the right page and follow the right account.

2. Include Links in Your Emails

If you’re running an email campaign, it’s also important to include social media links in your email content and newsletters. This helps you create more calls to action that direct people to other areas of your business and brand to develop stronger relationships with your target audience. One of the best places to include social media links in your emails is in the footer at the very bottom. This allows people to read through your content first, gain trust in your brand, and then pursue your brand further.

3. Add Handles to All Printed Materials

Image via J32 Design

When you create printed materials, like the business card shown above, it’s important to add your social media handle so people can find your business online more easily. As you can see from the image, because the business was able to use the same handle for every platform, they only need to list it once on the card. This makes their handle easy to remember and search for on different platforms.

If your company sends out flyers, printed promotional materials, or brochures, it’s also helpful to include your handle on those as well. You can even write out a call-to-action such as, “Follow Us On Social Media @businessname” to encourage your audience.

4. Advertise Them With Video and Audio Marketing

If your business hosts a podcast or video series, it’s helpful to include a call-to-action encouraging people to follow your business in other areas, like your social media accounts. The best and easiest way to do this is by mentioning your social media handle during the visual or audio content and telling people what social media sites your business operates on. It’s also helpful to add links to your social media accounts and business website in the description of your podcast and video channel.

Knowing how to create the best social media handle for your business and how to list them on your marketing materials is important for the development of your brand. Improving your social media gives you a stronger online presence, which can help you generate a larger audience following and more loyal customer base.

Social Media Handle vs. Display Name

Social media handles are unique usernames. That means only one person or company can have that handle at a time. Display names, on the other hand, are the title of your page or account that displays when people visit it. For example, here is a screenshot of Tesco’s main Instagram page:

Image of Tesco's Instagram profile

Image via Instagram

As you can see from the image, though the handle is @tescofood, the display name is simply the company’s main title “Tesco.” That means that if you wanted to create an Instagram account, you wouldn’t be able to use the handle @tescofood, but you could call your page “Tesco,” if you felt so inclined.

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Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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