How To Change Your Twitter Name
Twitter makes it really easy for you to change your Twitter account name. You simply log into your Twitter account, go to your account settings, and change your Username/URL. That’s it, pretty simple!
But wait. Can it really be that easy? Turns out, it isn’t.
A bit of context
This post was inspired by the recent Twitter name changes of two of our SteamFeed authors: @kittie_walker (formerly @TheIndigoGirl), and @kerijaehnig (formerly @connectyou).
To give you a little background on what happened, I’ll share a bit of the conversation we had last Friday. I sent out a #FollowFriday on Twitter mentioning @connectyou and @theindigogirl. I had it pre-scheduled, and at that time, they did not change their Twitter names yet. When the tweet was sent out, I noticed on Hootsuite that @connectyou and @theindigogirl where grayed-out. So I went to Twitter to check-out their accounts, and Twitter told me they didn’t exist. Being a bit concerned, I followed up with Keri and Kittie on Facebook to find out if their Twitter accounts were suspended, or if they had deliberately closed them. They told me they simply had changed their names.
So we started having a conversation about what this could mean to their followers. I had remembered that @marketingcloud (formerly @radian6) went through the same changes last summer, so I explained to both Kittie and Keri what Radian6 did to make sure they notified their followers of their change. Out of that conversation came the inspiration for this blog post.
What’s the big deal?
There are two major reasons why you need to be concerned about a twitter name change:
Your audience is conditioned to use your old name. You might have 10,000 followers, several of them who mention you on a daily basis. While you still keep your followers with a name change, and they can still see your tweets from your new account, they are simply conditioned by now to use your old name, especially if you’ve had that account for several years.
This causes a major problem, as they won’t pay attention to your new tweets as much, they might not be able to track you anymore (I had a feed-in Hootsuite set for @connectyou, not @kerijaehnig), and they don’t know to contact your new name
All of your properties (Facebook, LinkedIn, Blog, etc.), and guest posts are pointing to your old twitter account. This causes a problem, especially for guest posts. You won’t be able to contact every single person you’ve ever written for, or people mentioning you in their blog posts, in order to change the URL.
So here’s what you need to do if you ever change the name of your Twitter handle:
1. Re-Open Your Old Account
The first thing you need to do is re-open your old account. The reason you want to do this is to re-direct anyone that clicks on your old name to head over to your new account. Send out one tweet saying that you have changed to another name, and add that in your bio as well. This will make sure that anyone that finds your old Twitter handle will revert to your new name.
2. Schedule Several Tweets To Your Followers
The second thing you need to do is schedule several tweets over the next few weeks letting your followers know of your name change. You need to start letting your followers know that you’ve changed your name. And since Twitter has such a short shelf-life for posts, you’ll need to this often, and for a long time, in order to get most of your followers to use your new Twitter handle.
3. Listen to your old name
Set up a stream in whatever social media tool you use (I use Hootsuite, it makes it very easy to listen to everything), and track your old Twitter handle. Whenever anyone sends a tweet to that handle, direct them to your new name.
*IMPORTANT: Don’t use your old twitter handle to answer the tweets – that account shouldn’t be active, it’s only a temporary placeholder. You’re trying to condition people to use your new name, so make sure that every tweet you answer that mentioned your old handle is answered by your new name!*
4. Change the URL in your properties
Another important thing you need to do is to change the URL to your new name in all of your properties. Try to think of everywhere your Twitter URL might be:
- Social Media Tools
- Websites you contribute to regularly
- Other social networks
- Social Scoring Platforms
Anywhere you would have an account connected, you might have to re-verify your accounts, so the service recognizes the new URL.
As you can see, changing the name of your Twitter handle is a lot more complicated than what Twitter makes it out to be. Both Keri and Kittie told me they thought Twitter re-directed people to your new name automatically. They both mentioned that Twitter should make this process more efficient, and re-direct people to your new name.
Twitter: I hope you’re listening! This would definitely be something you should look at implementing!
Have you ever tried to change your twitter account? Have you ever thought about changing your name? Please leave a comment below!