What to do when your social media handles are taken?

When your social media handle is taken, don’t panic. The best thing you can do is modify your original name using clever little hacks like adding a prefix or a suffix.

Whether you’re looking for a personal or a business handle, I got some tips for you.

It’s really not a big deal if your main name is taken.

Looking to buy a domain name?

I wanted to create social media accounts for Woodwaker and encountered this particular problem. I know that a lot of individuals and businesses face this obstacle when first setting up.

How to check the availability of your social media handles in bulk

My favorite site for that is Namechk. Apart from social media handles, it also checks domain name availability.

I checked my handle of choice, "Woodwaker," and almost all of the accounts were already taken :(. I was really looking for something that will be available on all of Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. There are several things I can do.

By the way, red means "communication error." Always check each service manually once you find something that you like. Namechk tends to get false negatives with Instagram and sometimes has problems with checking Reddit. No tool is perfect but, hey, it’s free.

A few pointers for choosing a name

Here is my short checklist for what constitutes a good social media handle:

  • The name is available on all social media platforms I’m interested in.
  • It’s as short as possible. Twitter has a 15 character limit for usernames.
  • No numbers or underscores. Not all platforms allow underscores.
  • Feels authentic and goes well with my brand.
  • It’s easy to remember and type.

Add a prefix

Some of my favorite social media prefixes are:

  • Real, Actually, Iam, Im, ThisIs, Its, WeAre, Being, Official, The, TheReal, Daily, Just, True, AKA, Said, ArtOf, Team – these are pretty universal
  • Mr, Miss, Missy, Ms, Mrs, Dr – if you’re making an account for a person
  • Lil, Big, Kid, Young, Old, Fat, Skinny, Boy, Girl – works well with entertainment niches
  • Hey, Hi, OhHey, OhHi, Hello, Love – give your account a homely feeling
  • Try, Use, Get, Join, Ask – create a call to action

Now, it’s very simple. Take a prefix that you like, say, "Mr", combine it with your name and check its availability with Namechk. In this case, I would check the name "MrWoodwaker".

Hey, I think this guy reads my guides! 😉

Add a suffix

Here’s a list of good suffixes that you can add to your name:

  • Official, Social, Actually, Iam, ItIs, WeAre, Live, Real, 4Real, IRL, Buzz, Notes, Chat, Clout, Me, Says – general stuff
  • Com or DotCom – use whatever TLD works for you
  • US, Chile, Texas, NYC, MA, Cal, 60606 – if your brand is local
  • Love, XO, XOXO, XD – cater to younger audiences
  • PhD, MsC, OBE, MD – if that’s a part of your title
  • Nation, Tribe, Group, Team – if you want more cred in your name
  • Ster, Izer, Pedia, Ville – create a fresh spin of your name
  • App, Blog, Site, Journal – tell them what kind of product you’re offering
  • Inc, HQ, Co, LLC – if you’re a corporation
  • Legal, Media, Labs, Photo, Films, TV – tell them what your business is about
  • Writes, Codes, Sings, Speaks, Lifts, Paints – tell them what your profession is

Use your initials, abbreviate or shorten your name

So let’s say your name is Jessica Bode and you’re a painter, right? 🙂 You could abbreviate your name to "JBo" and add a suffix like "Paints". "JBoPaints" sounds good to me.

A famous example would be what Ashton Kutcher did. "A" plus "K". "aplusk". Simple and brilliant.

Use alliteration

Alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, alliteration is also called head rhyme or initial rhyme.

To put it simply, two or more words that start with the same letter usually sound awesome together. Examples of famous alliterated names include Coca-Cola, PayPal, Rolls Royce, American Apparel, and Dunkin Donuts.

If you’re a painter and your name is Pamela, you’re in luck. Grab "PamelaPaints" and be on your way.

Make something up, use an unusual word

You can find a lot of inspiring words and names on these subreddits:

I just found out five minutes ago that "sweven" is an archaic form of "to dream". "Sweven" sounds like "Steven". If my name would be Steven, I’d maybe go for "EvenSweven". Funny, memorable and available everywhere. Would work for some kind of a lighthearted/entertainment site.

Combine different methods if you still can’t find anything good

If your base name is super popular you can try combining a prefix, your name, and a suffix. I guarantee you will find something decent eventually.

Final words

After some thought, I’ve decided to go with "WoodwakerSocial" for this project.