Although most people know you by your name, in the internet world, you are also likely to be known by your social media handles. When I say handles, I am referring to your username or the personalized url. So when it comes to getting your name out there, you want your handles to correlate with the way you want to represent yourself, aka brand yourself.
How many of you currently have or have seen someone with a username/handle that really has nothing to do with anything? An example of this would be if someone had the Twitter handle @coolguy2012 (although you are able to change your handle on Twitter). There is absolutely nothing wrong with this scenario, as long as you want to be branded and characterized as “coolguy2012”. If that’s what you’re going for then this makes complete sense, but usually in the professional world, most people prefer to be recognized by their name.
This may actually be the first time you have even thought about this whole username/handle issue and do not quite understand what it all means or why it matters. Imagine that everything you do online is a piece of a puzzle…a very, very large puzzle. This means that every single thing you tweet, post, share, like and +1 is a piece of the puzzle that makes up who you are. Now think about how much easier it would be to put those pieces together if every single one of your profiles had the same, or at least somewhat similar, usernames. People can plug everything together and easily figure out what [insert your name] is all about…or what coolguy2012 is all about if that’s what you prefer.
Having consistency in your username/handle will also make it easier for people to find you. Let’s say that someone is really interested in your opinions, thoughts or work and wants to make sure they follow all your profiles so that they do not miss anything. There are going to be three things that they may use to find your profiles…your name, email and username. Many times they won’t actually know your email address and there will also be times when there are multiple people with the same name (this is definitely common when you are Indian and all Patel’s are supposedly related). So your username and handle is what will differentiate you and allow others to find your profile and content.
Places you can brand your username and handle
Note: For all of the below, you obviously want to have the name and title section be your name (or the name you want to be known by).
You can either have a regular profile, a page or both on Facebook and the main area to get your personal branding across would be the personalized url. It can get tricky with picking the right url when you have both a profile and page, but you most likely have the page because you are using it to promote and brand yourself…so give that the main handle. Just be warned, you cannot change the url once it has been created!
For Twitter, you will want to have your name displayed but you can use your selected handle for the username (the part the goes after the @).
Unfortunately Google does not allow for any real personal branding but you can create a unique url to direct people to using gplus.to.
You are able to edit and change your public profile url (similar to Facebook).
Once again, you get to select a unique url for your profile
This is a tricky one because although the main way of promoting and branding your blog is your url, there are many different ways you can go with it. If you are using your name as your main identifier for the other social networks, it may be smart to have your blog url be your name (for example www.anandmpatel.com) but this is not necessarily required. Some people have actual titles for their blogs such as QuickSprout or Brass Tack Thinking and their urls match this. Finally, you can go the route of David Armano and use your name in the url but give a title to your blog like he does for Logic+Emotion.
Examples of how some well-known bloggers and social media personalities do it
Neil Patel/Quick Sprout
As you can see Chris Brogan and Mari Smith keep everything very uniform throughout their blog and all of their social media profiles. Neil Patel, on the other hand, brands his blog separately from his self.
If you have already built a following under a username that is not your full name, then it may be better to roll with it. I actually have two username/handles I use because of how I initially set my accounts up (anandp29 and anandmpatel), so you may not get it down perfectly. The main thing is that you understand how the handle you choose and its consistency help put together the pieces of a puzzle that build your personal brand and identity online.