YouTube Introduces @Handles For Creators To Promote Their Presence
The @handle feature has been around for a while now on other platforms. YouTube has observed this and has now joined the ranks. This feature is vital because creators will now have another tool in their arsenal to drive more traffic to their channel and better promote their content or brand. YouTube stated, “Handles are a new unique identifier (example @youtubecreators) & ALL YouTube channels will have one. Your unique @handle will help people find & interact with you & your YouTube channel. And because handles are unique (unlike channel names), it’s easy to confirm if you’re engaging with the right person or not.”
Don’t worry about these @handles being generic, as the platform has made sure to add some uniqueness to each creator’s featured @handle. The image below gives you a first look at what this new feature will look like. You can link all your content to the handle like on other platforms. Not only is this your signature handle, but it will also act as a URL for your channel.
If you are pursuing a branding angle for your content, this is the perfect opportunity. Previously only creators with 100 subscribers had an option to have a custom URL for their channel. That is wholly changed. This feature will also be available if you are starting on YouTube. Additionally, with the @handles, creators will be able to be mentioned a lot quicker in channels, comments, posts and video descriptions. If you are featured in a fellow creator’s video, they will now have an easier path by which they can include your content and channel. This assists any creator in increasing their audiences and spreading brand awareness.
The platform also introduced this feature to promote the YouTube Shorts functionality. For example, if @handles are included in Shorts, this will fast-track the exposure creators have on the platform and give users an easier time following your channel through the Shorts video.
Copycat channels have been an issue on YouTube, where some people mimic other channels entirely and cause confusion on the platform. The @handle will mitigate this problem by using its unique tag properties. For example, these copycats could use similar names for their channels but will never be able to use the same @handle. Similarly, special characters will also not be allowed to be used in channel names to curb the use of similar channel names by scammers. This puts any creator’s mind at ease. Remember that you will still have to claim your channel name and @handle a lot quicker than before, so these copycats do not get to it first.
YouTube informed all creators in June that hiding the subscriber count won’t be allowed, and this was to create more transparency on the platform. By November 14th, all creators must pick an @handle. If you don’t, the platform will pick one for you based on your channel name. You will not be able to change your @handle once this is done. This will also be your channel URL unless you already have a custom URL. Any previous URL will be used to redirect users to the channel. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks, as YouTube will give creators access to this feature. The platform will contact the creator directly, letting them know when they can update their URL.
This new update is exciting on many different levels for creators in the coming weeks. On the one hand, you will be able to promote your brand more extensively with the feature, and scammers will have a more challenging time using your name to promote their content. On the other hand, if you are not quick enough, you could lose the opportunity to have the custom @handle and URL you always wanted. So don’t worry. Ensure you check the platform regularly to see when you have access and you will be fine.
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