Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is your Twitter handle your calling card?

Don't be surprised if I change my company name to @dontgetcaught. Twitter handles, to my mind, are becoming what URLs used to be as corporate branding...and I happen to like mine.

We may not be there yet, but people like me are already using their Twitter handles as a handy--and short--nametag replacement for their company or title. And Twitter handles abound on everything from bumper stickers to business cards.

The more creative uses of Twitter handles as brands that I've seen come from sports--which makes sense when you consider how much time cameras are trained on athletes, making this a built-in broadcasting tool. Washington Nationals closer @DrewStoren put his Twitter handle on his glove (stitched in, thank you) and you can see Twitter handles instead of names on the backs of the Philadelphia Wings' jerseys. Athletes' Twitter handles let fans know how to reach them and encourage them to reach out. So do yours, on your business card or nametag.

There's another bonus to using a Twitter handle as your primary brand: It's yours. You have carved out your own Twitter identity, right? Mashable brought the standards up-to-date with Should You Combine Your Personal and Business Social Media Identities? -- and most of the discussion is around Twitter handles:
...if you intended to be a public spokesman for a company in 2006, then it made sense to put your company’s moniker in your social profiles. However, in 2012, the standard practice is to be yourself and build a social media following, and then act as a hired gun for the companies you represent....Also there are two fields of identification on Twitter: Your name and your handle; you can change both to whatever you would like (as long as it’s not already taken). Consider the case of Ben Smith, the former Politico editor, who joined BuzzFeed in January. When Smith left Politico, he changed his Twitter handle from @BenPolitico to @BuzzFeedBen, yet his name still appears as “Ben Smith.” He has kept his handle intertwined with his company, but remains his own personal brand on Twitter — as a result, the switch from one publication to another is seamless.
The takeaway: Make sure we know you as a person, not just a broadcaster for your company. I'm guessing we'll be taking our Twitter handles with us for a while, if we play our cards right.

How are you using your Twitter handle, outside of Twitter? Share your creative uses, or the ones you've seen.

No comments: