Businesses and people often times rush to a decision when defining their online brand. Worse yet, sometimes branding is not even considered when creating a Social Media presence. This can lead to serious problems in the future especially with Twitter. Let’s explore how to properly change your Twitter username and why it is so important to follow this process.
Scenario one: A startup explodes onto the scene with a riveting product. The marketing team jumps online creating a Twitter and Facebook presence. However, the team is inexperienced or fractured when establishing the Social Media and Community accounts. One marketing manager uses the full company name for the Twitter handle (@GlobalGamingGadgets) and the other marketing manager creates a Facebook page and sets the vanity URL as /GGG. The print marketing blitz uses GGG and the corporate website features a well-designed GGG logo on every page. Six months later the Twitter follower count is above 50,000 and the CMO wants the Twitter username changed to @GGG.
Scenario two: In college you create a Twitter account and get real crafty with your handle. You select @EyepwnzUfool because you are an adept gamer and love first person shooters. Then you graduate and pursue a career in Social Media. You learn about the importance of branding and other best practice marketing principles. You want to increase exposure for your own name and your Twitter account has attracted 50,000 followers. You want to change your Twitter username to your real name rather than continue with your Xbox LIVE gamertag as a handle.
Twitter associates your username with an email address, so only one Twitter handle can be linked to the account’s email address. If you want to change your username simply access your account and click on Setting found in the drop-down under your Twitter username in the upper right corner of the screen. DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT, yet.
Then enter your new Twitter username in the Username field:
It is that simple. Now Tweet to your followers that you have changed your username. Since you did not create a new account you do not need to launch a massive campaign getting your hard earned followers to follow a new account. The old handle is dead and you can move forward. Or can you?
Most likely there are legacy webpages that drives traffic to your old Twitter handle. Maybe you forgot about some older Community sites where you linked your older Twitter handle in your profile. Perhaps your print marketing has driven traffic to the older Twitter handle too. Do you really want someone to highjack your old username? What if people start following that Twitter account? Chances are they will because for years you were operating under that trusted Twitter handle.
As soon as you change your Twitter username you must immediately create another Twitter account with a different email address. Use your former Twitter username for this new Twitter account. Then under Settings select the Profile tab. In the Bio enter the following:
You can now follow me at twitter.com/newusername. Thanks!
Now you have given your fans that find your older Twitter handle the ability to follow you on your new official Twitter account. You have protected your brand and your customers, fans or Users. This is very important if you have created enemies along the way or operate is a highly competitive space or if you have some really devious friends.
If someone highjacks your older Twitter username they can do some serious damage. From driving your followers to malware sites or they could drive your followers to their conversion pages stealing your business. Do not let that happen.
So if and when you change your Twitter username make sure you immediately create a second Twitter account under a different email address and claim your former Twitter handle on that account. Then post a message driving potential followers to your new Twitter handle.