Whether you married in or were #bornthisway, your name is basic af. The pros are there – no one ever mispronounces or misspells it, you can always find it on a kitschy keychain, a third perk that totally exists. But in this world where personal branding is king, having a common name is rough. How do you brand yourself when you can’t use your own name? Here are a few tips for choosing a unique, representative social media handle when your name is already taken.
1. Numbers and/or Symbols
Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is the oldest and most *duh* trick in the book, but that’s because it’s tried and true. Underscores and periods are great for creating the illusion of a space such as kelsey_anderson or kelsey.anderson. Numbers can start to seem tacky or lazy when there are too many, but adding one or two digits to the end of your name could do the trick. Try to pick numbers to which you can relate or even rhyme with your name like kelseyanderson3 or kelseyanderson94.
2. Initials, Middle Names, and Titles
If it’s your first name that’s giving you trouble (Emily, Sarah, etc.) try using your initials and last name like mwasowski or mapoppins. Maybe you have a unique middle name. Tacking your middle name to the end of your first can be a great way to reserve some privacy, too. If you’re a “junior” or don’t mind going by Mr., Ms. or another title – try that!
I’ll admit, I don’t have many nicknames BUT my very first email address was based on something my dad used to call me – kookykook16. If you have a nickname (that you don’t mind being referred to as on the internet), do it. If they’re unique enough, they can even serve as a conversation starter or filler in your bio. So many perks, so little time.
4. The Real Official
Feeling bold? Add a “the” or “official” before your name, or a “real” to the end. Other combinations, that TBH sound like TV show titles, like “kelseysrealworld” and “lifewithkelseyanderson” could be the ticket, too. Play around with it! These also make awesome blog titles!
5. Mash ‘Em Up
This is my ~zone~. I was sick of adding numbers, symbols, and the like to my name and my middle name is as common as they come (Ann). I had reached my wits’ end. So, I started combining my names and, after a few truly cringe-y combos, I settled on kelserson. It’s short, sweet, and all mine! Since then, it’s become a nickname and literally how I’m known on the internet.
6. Who Are You?
This one takes some serious brain power and introspection. What is a key characteristic that distinguishes you from others? These are the smileymiley’s and blondebetty’s of the world. If there’s nothing there that feels right – what is your purpose or your underlying theme or product? Is it gift baskets? Social media? Is there a particular industry with which you resonate? Maybe it’s giftsbynadine or harpersmithphotos.
7. Ask The Audience
You perceive yourself differently than those around you. Reach out to friends, family, or your current social audience for insight. Ask “What are 3 words that best describe me?” or send a few options out when you’ve narrowed them down. We get by with a little help from our friends!
None of these ideas are perfect, and you might need to combine a couple to really make some magic. Building a digital presence and a personal brand take time. Chances are, you won’t be instafamous overnight. And that’s okay! What counts is that your personal brand is, well, representative of you. That will help enable you to find your niche – your ideal audience. Because it’s out there!
What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually!