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Social Media Handles

From a Naming Perspective

Key Takeaways:

  1. Crafting Compelling Handles: Social media handles are more than just identifiers; they’re digital calling cards that shape perceptions and drive engagement. 

  2. Embrace Creativity: Inject personality and uniqueness into your handles to stand out amidst the digital noise and leave a lasting impression. 

  3. Consistency is Key: Maintain uniformity across platforms to reinforce brand identity and facilitate seamless cross-channel navigation for your audience. 

  4. Legal Diligence: Understand trademark laws and protect your intellectual property rights by conducting thorough searches and proactive brand monitoring. 

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In the bustling landscape of the internet, where attention is currency and visibility is key, social media handles serve as digital addresses, guiding users to discover and engage with content creators and businesses. In this blog post, we delve into the art and strategy of crafting impactful social media handles that resonate with your audience while avoiding legal pitfalls.

The Significance of Social Media Handles: 

Social media handles, akin to online identities, wield significant influence in today’s digital ecosystem. They serve as calling cards, facilitating connections, and enhancing discoverability amidst the vast expanse of the internet. Unlike traditional domain names, social media handles often play a pivotal role in shaping brand perception and fostering engagement across various platforms.

Personal vs. Business: 

One of the prevalent debates in the digital sphere revolves around whether to maintain separate handles for personal and business endeavors. While consistency across platforms fosters brand recognition and facilitates marketing efforts, injecting personality into handles can forge deeper connections with audiences. Striking a balance between professionalism and authenticity is crucial in navigating this dichotomy.

Brand Consistency & Trademark Considerations: 

Maintaining brand consistency across social media platforms is not merely a matter of aesthetics but also a legal consideration. Establishing trademark rights in social media handles requires diligence and strategic planning, especially as brands expand their online presence. Legal complexities may arise if handles infringe upon existing trademarks, underscoring the importance of thorough trademark searches and proactive brand protection measures. 

Crafting Effective Handles: Tips & Strategies: 

Crafting memorable and effective social media handles entails a blend of creativity, relevance, and pragmatism. Embracing evergreen language and succinctness ensures longevity and ease of recall. Furthermore, leveraging location identifiers or qualifiers like “HQ” or “official” can enhance brand distinction and localization efforts. However, it’s essential to steer clear of overly complex or dated handles that risk alienating potential followers.

Navigating Legal Challenges & Ownership: 

Navigating the legal landscape of social media handles necessitates a nuanced understanding of trademark law and brand ownership. While trademarks confer protection in specific contexts, vigilance is paramount to safeguarding intellectual property rights. In instances of handle disputes, proactive communication and legal recourse may be necessary to mitigate risks and uphold brand integrity.


Wrapping Up:

As we conclude this exploration into the world of social media handles, remember to approach handle selection with creativity, foresight, and a touch of legal savvy. Whether you’re a seasoned influencer or a burgeoning entrepreneur, your handle serves as a digital beacon, guiding followers to your virtual doorstep. Until next time, happy navigating in the digital wilderness!


Ashley Elliott (00:08): 

Well, good morning and welcome to naming in an AI Age. Okay, last week we talked about domain naming. This week we’re going to dive into something a little bit different. Picture this, you’ve got a brilliant business, you’ve got great content, great videos, but crickets, no social media platform. No one can find you. That’s where these handles swoop in and save the day. Social media handles are like your online address and maybe even more important these days than a domain name. I would say considering everybody I search for things through TikTok and through specific things, and your social media handle could help with that. It’s what people use to tag you. They mention you, they find you in this vast jungle, this digital jungle that we’re in, and I would venture to say it can also actually help potential followers know what your profile is about and what you do. It sounds simple, but the really big digital debate these days is should you have separate handles for your personal brand and your business brand? Should they be the same? Should they be different? What are your thoughts, Mike? 

Mike Carr (01:11): 

I think social media handles give you an opportunity to show a little more personality, and it depends on what your ultimate objective is. If you want to use your social media handle to sell something, then having a handle that’s consistent across all platforms makes a lot of sense. In terms of personality though, we own name Well, my handle could be crazy Name Stormer as an example. It still relates to name storming, but it might imbue it with a little personality, or I could say name Stormer Sage, where Sage conveys something about the expertise and the experience that arguably I bring to the table since I’ve been doing this so long. So you have a little bit of liberty doing that, but when you start doing that, you run the risk of losing your trademark rights. So you might want to go with something like instead of name Stormer Sage or Crazy Name Stormer. I would just say I’m a crazy namer, right? And I just have a little different social media presence than I do on our website, and 

Ashley Elliott (02:28): 

It depends on maybe the direction and the connection you want to have with your audience and who you’re targeting specifically. Sometimes you have a brand and you want to come up with, or you’re wanting to build a brand and you want to come up with a social media handle. There’s some tips and tricks on how to do that, and we’ve talked about evergreen content as well as just evergreen language words specifically like naming Sage or Namer Sage or crazy namer. Those stand the test of time for better or worse. And so I think those type of things versus 2024. I know back in the day all the Hotmail, I don’t know if that’s dating me, the Hotmail, the Gmail, a lot of people put their graduation year and stuff like that. It kind of does date you a little bit, and so thinking about that, making it short and sweet, I’ve seen people whose domain names and whose social media handles. 


It’s like the ice cream truck on two 60 at whatever. That’s a lot for me to type in and I’m probably not going to search that. Some specific platforms ban use of characters in your actual name, and so having a dash or having a specific, maybe not necessarily underscore, but specific symbols, they won’t recognize it, so be careful of that if you’re trying to register it all the way across on all the different platforms. Having one little difference than another can get confusing when you’re typing it in. I also found out that there are a bunch of online tools that you can check across platforms that makes things so much easier than trying to go to each platform and do it. 

Mike Carr (03:53): 

Once you’ve done that, no one else then can steal that from you on those platforms. But if you forget a platform and you don’t own the trademark rights in that handle, then someone else could start using it like on X or on Twitter. Then as you grow in stature and size, now all of a sudden you want to have a social media presence on X, but you forgot to start out there and someone else has swiped it from you. Then you have a battle. 

Ashley Elliott (04:21): 

I think you mentioned don’t miss cover all your bases when you’re trying to register on the social media platforms. There have been some cases, I think, where people you just DM that specific person using it and ask them to change it. Now obviously if you’re a huge company that could lead to money problems, someone trying to sell it to you versus just asking. And sometimes you can tell if they haven’t posted in a long time or they’re not actually there and it’s kind of like a debt account, usually it’s more likely that they would transfer it over. But if you do have a trademark, I mean, what do you do if someone is using your specific account and you already have a trademark name? Does that give you that right on social media as well, do you think? 

Mike Carr (05:02): 

Basically you cannot trademark a social media handle unless you’re using it to sell something. So if you just got a website or a blog post or an Instagram or Pinterest page and you’ve got a lot of cool pictures and your social media is Ashley Elliot cool mom, right? 

Ashley Elliott (05:23): 

That would be inaccurate. But yeah, 

Mike Carr (05:26): 

You can’t register that because you’re not selling anything. You’re not using it to engage in commerce. On the other hand, if you’re using that exact social media handle to promote pictures on your website and maybe you’re offering content about the best way to raise your kids or something that you’ve learned about a product or service that you’re sponsoring, so you start to get subscribers that are paying you money. As soon as you start doing that, then you’re using that social media handle as quote a brand. Then often you have rights in trademarking that, but the way trademark registration works is it’s only for what you’re doing that is it doesn’t give you protection across all types of products and services. So if you were using your social media handle to promote education for moms and somebody else wanted to use exactly that same name, not that same social media handle, but that same name as a trademark for selling construction equipment, trademark law doesn’t prevent that, right? 


Because it’s a different class of goods and services. The likelihood of someone confusing you, the influencer on social media that helps moms with their kids versus someone else with the identical name, but selling construction equipment, the view by most folks would be the likelihood of confusion. There is almost zero. At the minimum, you ought to do a trademark search and make sure you’re not infringing upon someone else’s existing mark in your space. So after a year or two of you doing this, they can come back and send you that dreaded, that awful cease and desist letter because they own the trademark rights before you did in your space and you have to stop doing everything or you have to change your name, right? You don’t want to do that. 

Ashley Elliott (07:19): 

Yeah, that’d be a nightmare. 

Mike Carr (07:21): 


Ashley Elliott (07:22): 

Well, and so let’s say I did a search and oh, that one’s taken. I can’t really, and I also can’t asked them to switch their name or to let me use their name, and they said No, we have to have some work around on what else you can do that conveys your brand but doesn’t stray people away from you, and it still conveys what you actually do. So it’s going to be different if you’re a personal brand obviously versus a business brand. But I’ve seen a lot of people do. I am Ashley Elliot. Okay, so that’s the social media handle I have. So it has my name in it, my personal brand name, but it also has who I am or call me Ashley, what do you think are some business ones? You talked about crazy namers, that would be more of a personal one in my opinion, but name Stormers. What are some things that we could do if we had no ability to take a name stormers handle? 

Mike Carr (08:12): 

Right. So since we own the trademark for name stormers, if someone was out there using name stormers as their social media handle in their space, we could stop them and that might cost us some money, but we own the rights in that name, and so we could send them, we could DM ’em or whatever and say, look, we’re the trademark owner. You’re in our space. You’re promoting naming services under our registered trademark. You need to change your name. So if you think of social media as a distribution channel, which Mark Schafer talks a lot about in his books and on his podcast, then every one of those channels you can have trademark rights in using. But if you don’t already have the trademark, right, if you’re new to the field and you’ve done your due diligence and you’ve found out, Nope, I can use this name. 


Nobody already owns it, and you start putting in this social media handle into all the different social media channels, all the different platforms, you do want to use it consistently. I mean, there’s certain things you have to do to protect your trademark rights, and one of those is you want to use the same social media handle across all your platforms so that you can show the patent trademark office that you’re using it as a brand, you’re using it consistently. All that’s important for you to retain your illegal rights. And I know this sounds very complex to all of you that are watching this or listening to this and just getting started, but it is something that if you really are ambitious and you think this is going to be become a real money maker for you or important to you, the sooner you dot the i’s and cross the T’s from a legal standpoint, the better off you’re going to be down the road 

Ashley Elliott (09:57): 

At the end of the day. The point is just be consistent and do your due diligence and think outside the box when it comes to a social media handle that conveys what you do, your value prop and just engage with that potential future follower and subscriber, not just the ones that you currently have. Thanks, Mike, for joining us today. Do you have anything else you’d like to add before we end? 

Mike Carr (10:15): 

No, I think all those points are great points. Do your research, do your due diligence, be consistent. Don’t infringe on someone else’s trademark and just have a lot of fun when you’re out there in the digital world these days. 

Ashley Elliott (10:26): 

Says the crazy namer y’all go follow. We’ll see if that handle is taken. Alright, well have a good week and we will see you guys next time. 

Mike Carr (10:34): 

See you. 

Ashley Elliott (10:35): 


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