Your Twitter handle (also known as your username) is the name that appears after the @ sign. It also appears at the end of your Twitter URL.
Getting your Twitter handle right is important because it is what users will use to communicate with you – whether that be @ mentions or direct messages. It sets the tone for your page and allows people to recognise your brand.
In this blog we look at how to change your Twitter handle and if and when you should consider doing this.
Should you change your Twitter handle?
Many sources state that you should think carefully before changing your Twitter handle. Much like you would if you were considering making changes in other areas of your business.
The key risks associated with changing your Twitter handle are:
- You risk people communicating with you via your old handle if they do not realise you have updated yours. And therefore, you risk their messages not reaching you
- You risk someone taking over your old Twitter handle and potentially impersonating you/your brand
However, there may be some situations where you feel it is necessary to change your Twitter handle and where it may actually be of benefit
- If your Twitter handle is no longer appropriate – you may have set your account up before you started your own business for example and now want something more professional
- If your Twitter handle is no longer a good representation of your brand – e.g. you have a new business name or have had a brand refresh
- Your Twitter handle is not consistent with those used on your other social profiles
- The purpose of your Twitter account has changed – for example the business need that your Twitter account fulfils may have changed
How to choose a good Twitter handle
Remember that your Twitter handle will be used to represent your brand. This is what people will use to @mention you, reply to you and Direct Message you. It is very visible to people and your followers, so you need to get it right.
With so many users on Twitter, it’s entirely possible that the handle (username) that you would like to choose is already taken. So, you may need to be flexible and have a number of options that you’re happy with.
Ideally you want your Twitter handle to be consistent with those used across your other digital properties such as other social media sites, your blog and website. And of course, it should represent your businesses nameas closely as possible. It should also be as memorable for people which probably means keeping it short(long usernames aren’t an option with Twitter character lengths anyway!). It is best to avoid using underscores and numbers as these can add complexity and make it harder for people to find you.
If you do find that one of your preferred usernames is available, then make sure you take it and reserve it. If you change your mind at a later date you can always delete the account. If you don’t act quickly enough you could be disappointed when you come back at a later date to find your desired username has been taken.
How do you change your Twitter handle without losing followers?
Of course, you may be concerned that changing your Twitter handle could impact your account and lead to a loss of followers.
Twitter do state that changing your username will not affect your exiting followers, direct messages or replies.
But you will want to follow a structured approach if you do decide to change your Twitter handle.
- Inform your followers – post on your account that you will be updating your Twitter handle in the coming days so that they know to expect a change to the account.
- Keep your profile picture the same – it’s not a good idea to update your Twitter handle and profile picture at the same time. Leaving your profile picture as it is will provide a sense of familiarity and reassure users that they have come to the right place/are interacting with the right brand or business.
- Rename your twitter account – once you are ready to update your handle, go ahead and do it. You can find instructions on how to update your Twitter handle (your username) on the Twitter help centre. Twitter will tell you if your chosen handle is available or not (see above for advice on choosing a good Twitter handle)
- Create a new account and take ownership of your old handle – Twitter reinforce that as soon as you change your Twitter handle then your old username will be immediately available for someone else to take ownership of. This is why you want to immediately set up a new account and claim the old handle. It can help avoid any confusion with your followers and allow you to direct any who is lost back over to your newly named account.
If you require marketing support for your business, then chat to us at ACES Marketing. We work across the entire marketing process including social media management. We are also flexible; we can work remotely or as part of your business on either a long or short term basis to provide the support you need. Get in touch with us today.