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What Are Social Media Handles? Local vs. Global Handles

Olivia Fitzpatrick
25 mars 2021
Dernière mise à jour le
May 10, 2024

One of the brilliant parts of social media marketing is that there are no hard and fast rules. Marketing professionals have the freedom to build and maintain a unique brand voice on social media and can adjust strategies according to best practices and shifts in consumer preference. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there’s an ongoing debate in the social media community on the use of local versus global handles on Instagram and which is more beneficial — which helps reach more users, which earns more ROI and what makes a greater impact overall. 

What Is a Social Media Handle?

A social media handle is essentially a personal or business identifier used on social media platforms to represent an individual, brand or organization. It acts as a unique username that allows users to interact, share content and communicate with others within the platform. Handles are critical to establish an online identity and presence — they’re not just how others address you on the platform, but how other users can find and connect with your brand.

Handles typically precede with an ‘@’ symbol, which differentiates them from other text in posts, messages and makes it easier to link to profiles. 

Choosing the right handle is crucial since it reflects your brand’s voice and personality. It should be consistent across different platforms to maintain brand coherence, making it easier for your audience to find you across the social media landscape. Additionally, a well-chosen handle can contribute to social media SEO and improve the visibility of your social media accounts in search results.

When creating a social media handle, it's important to keep it simple, memorable and relevant to your brand or personal identity. Avoid using complex spellings and consider potential global interpretations to ensure it resonates with a local and global audience.

How To Create Social Media Handles

Creating a social media handle is critical to establish an online presence on various platforms. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating handles on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and X, including tips on how to check social media handles for availability.

How To Change Instagram Handle

Want to simply change your Instagram handle? Follow these steps to change your handle: 

  1. Go to your Instagram account or Meta Accounts Center.
  2. Click ‘Edit Profile’.
  3. Enter your new handle in the ‘Username’ form — remember, Instagram only lets you change your handle every 14 days. 
  4. Click ‘Done’ — if available, your new Instagram handle will be live. 
  5. Be sure to fix any links on your website, link-in-bio or any other assets featuring your handle. 

Here’s how to create an Instagram handle for a new account on Instagram: 

  1. Sign Up or Log In: If you’re new to Instagram, download the app and sign up with your email, phone number, or Facebook account. If you already have an account, simply log in.
  2. Go to Profile Settings: Tap on your profile icon at the bottom right, then tap on ‘Edit Profile.’
  3. Set Your Handle: Under the username field, type your desired handle. Instagram will automatically check its availability.
  4. How to Check Social Media Handles on Instagram: If the handle is taken, Instagram will suggest available alternatives or you can try another name until you find an available one.
  5. Save Changes: Once you find an available handle, tap "Done" to save your changes.

How To Change TikTok Handle

Unfortunately, TikTok does not let you change your handle once you’ve selected one — however, you can make a new account or change your name. To create a new TikTok handle, follow these steps:

  1. Sign Up or Log In: Open TikTok and sign up or log in.
  2. Access Profile Settings: Tap on "Me" in the bottom right, then tap "Edit profile."
  3. Choose Your Handle: Enter your desired handle in the "Username" field. TikTok checks the availability as you type.
  4. How to Check Social Media Handles on TikTok: If your preferred handle is unavailable, try different variations until you find one that is available.
  5. Confirm the Handle: Once you find an available handle, save your profile settings.

How To Change X Handle

Luckily, you can change your X handle as many times, as frequently as you want. Here’s how to create or change your existing handle: 

  1. Sign Up or Log In: Open X and either create a new account or log in.
  2. Go to Settings: Click on ‘More’ from the navigation menu, then ‘Settings and privacy.’
  3. Edit Your Username: Click on ‘Your account’ then ‘Account information.’ Here, click on ‘Username.’
  4. How to Check Social Media Handles on X: Type your desired handle. The platform will automatically indicate if it's available. If not, try different combinations.
  5. Save the Handle: Once you find an available handle, click ‘Save.’

Local vs. Global Social Media Handle — What’s Right for Your Brand?

When considering whether to adopt a local or global social media handle, brands must evaluate their target audience and long-term business objectives. According to Statista, the penetration rates and usage patterns of social media platforms vary significantly across different regions and countries. This data is essential as it guides brands on whether to localize their social media presence or maintain a universal approach.

Local Social Media Handle

Opting for a local handle, like @mtvuk or @mtv, or @sephora or @sephoracanada, can be advantageous for brands that have a significant local presence or those whose products and services are tailored to or only available in specific regional markets. This strategy lets social teams create content that connects with audiences on a cultural level, addresses local events, holidays and consumer preferences and can be in the local language, thereby enhancing engagement.

While social media users are active in a number of countries, the times they’re active and how much time they spend on social media differ — this means local handles can have unique strategies tailored to reach these users, like sharing content during the best times to post in those regions and more. 

Some other benefits of a local Instagram handle include: 

H3: Region-Specific Trends
Trends often vary by region. Brands that create accounts for different countries or continents benefit from being able to use colloquial language and can incorporate cultural values into its social media strategy. The more adaptable your brand is in the way you communicate, the more consumers you can reach and turn into loyal brand fans.

Product Offering

If you offer different products depending on region, a localized strategy might be for you. The ability to promote products that are relevant and available to a targeted audience increases the chance of purchase. Features such as Shopping Tags, and link-in-bio solutions can be used in a more strategic way when they pertain directly to the audience.

Meaningful Engagements

It can be easier to make meaningful connections and build a unique sense of community when you have a page dedicated to each region. Answering product questions, engaging in discussions, and understanding your brand's conversation on a per-location basis can be invaluable for guiding your marketing and product strategy in the future.

Global Social Media Handle

Conversely, a global handle, like Saint Laurent’s ‘@ysl,’ suits brands aiming for a broad, international audience. This approach is ideal for companies whose products and services are universally applicable without significant regional variation. It also simplifies the brand's social media strategy by centralizing audience management under one handle, which enhances brand consistency and recognition across borders.

Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are home to millions of users across the globe, which make universal, global handles ideal for brands who want to capture worldwide attention. Using a single, unified handle on these platforms can help maintain a cohesive brand image and voice, which is crucial for global recognition. Other benefits of creating a global handle include: 

Consistent Messaging

For any international brand, consistency across digital touchpoints is important and speaks volumes to brand identity. One global handle ensures that brand messaging for all markets is aligned and provides a single source of truth for any new users that might visit your page for the first time.

Consolidated Fanbase

Global handles give brands an accurate picture of your fanbase’s size and allow you to keep a pulse on engagement. The consolidation of your audiences enables brands to deeply understand what content resonates with them as a whole. This makes it easier to make strategic content decisions moving forward.

Streamlined Workflow

As the scope of a social media manager roles continue to grow, time and resources are often scarce. A global handle makes community management more straightforward and allows time to make sure each post has strategic messaging.

Decision Factors

The decision between a local or global handle should also consider factors like brand scalability, resource allocation for social media management and the potential need for region-specific customer service. Brands must weigh these elements against their overall marketing strategy and objectives, to make sure that their social media presence supports their broader business goals.

Whether to go local or global with your social media handle depends largely on your target demographic, brand identity and business aspirations. 

How To Handle Multiple Social Media Accounts

Managing multiple social media accounts is a common challenge for businesses aiming to reach diverse audiences across different platforms and regions. For example, creators in APAC countries have between 4 and 11 social media accounts —  very few creators, including brands, rely on just one social profile. This highlights the importance of a strategic approach to managing these platforms efficiently.

Centralized Management Tools

One of the most effective strategies for handling multiple social media accounts is using centralized management tools. Platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social allow businesses to manage all their social media accounts from a single dashboard. These tools enable scheduling posts, tracking engagement, and analyzing performance across platforms, simplifying the complexity of managing multiple accounts.

Consistent Branding

Consistency across social profiles is essential. While each social media platform has its nuances and user expectations, maintaining a consistent brand voice and aesthetic helps in building a recognizable brand identity. This consistency ensures that regardless of the platform, the brand is easily identifiable, enhancing brand recall and loyalty.

Tailored Content Strategy

Each social media platform caters to different demographics and usage patterns. For instance, Statista reports that platforms like TikTok and Instagram are more popular among younger demographics, while Facebook has a broader age range. Understanding these differences is important for developing a content strategy that resonates with the specific audience of each platform. This might mean adapting the tone, format, or type of content posted to each platform to align with its user base.

Regular Audits and Adjustments

Regularly auditing your social media strategy is essential. This involves analyzing the performance data of each platform to see what's working and what isn't. Exploring social media benchmarks and industry averages can help brands set realistic performance goals. Regular audits allow brands to adjust their strategies in real-time, optimizing their social media presence to better meet their objectives.

Employee Training and Guidelines

Finally, when managing multiple accounts, it's vital to have a well-trained team that understands the nuances of each platform. Providing continuous training and clear guidelines can help ensure that all team members are on the same page, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring that all content aligns with the brand’s overall objectives.

By leveraging these strategies, businesses can effectively manage multiple social media accounts, ensuring they engage with their varied audiences in a meaningful way. Using insights from sources like Statista to inform these strategies can significantly enhance their effectiveness, driving better results in social media marketing efforts.

Raise Reach With Dash Hudson

Brands can learn more about their audience with Dash Hudson — this can help you determine where your audience is from, which helps your team ultimately determine whether a local or global handle is best for your brand. With Dashboards, brands can create custom reports for the metrics that matter most to help you identify opportunities for improvement and areas you’re succeeding in. Aside from reporting, brands can leverage Dash Hudson’s social commerce solutions, offering tools to source UGC, tag your Instagram products, create embeddable galleries for your website and more. 


How do I find my social media handle?

Finding the perfect social media handle involves a blend of creativity and strategic thinking. Users should start by brainstorming keywords that reflect their brand's identity, values or offerings. Once they have a list, they can use social media platforms’ search functions or specialized tools like Namechk or KnowEm to check the availability of these handles across different sites. It’s important to select a handle that’s available and easy to remember, pronounce and relevant to the target audience. Ideally, securing a consistent handle across all major platforms will help maintain brand coherence and make it easier for followers to find and engage with the brand.

How do I display my social media handle in print?

Displaying your social media handle in print materials, such as business cards, brochures, or promotional posters, is a great way to connect offline interactions with your online presence. Here are some tips to do it effectively:

  • Consistent Formatting: Use the same style and format across all materials. Typically, include the "@" symbol followed by your handle.
  • Visibility: Place your handle in a prominent location where it’s easily visible to the audience.
  • Platform Icons: Use the specific social media platform’s icon next to your handle for clarity and brand consistency. For example, the Twitter bird or the Instagram camera icon can precede your handle.
  • Call to Action: Accompany your handle with a call to action, such as "Follow us on Instagram," to encourage engagement.
  • Consistency Across Platforms: If you have the same handle across different platforms, you can simply list the handles once with the icons of each platform next to it. If they differ, list each one separately with the corresponding platform icon.

Incorporating your social media handles into your print materials effectively bridges the gap between your digital and physical marketing efforts.

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