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Tuesday Quick Tips: Change Your Twitter Handle Without Losing Followers

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on June 3, 2014 in Social Media for Bloggers
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Change Your Twitter Handle Without Losing Followers

Today I'm kicking off a new weekly post series: Tuesday Quick Tips. Each Tuesday moving forward I'll publish a short post with a simple tutorial, generally covering a common question or something you can do in just a few minutes.

Let's start by talking about Twitter.

If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed that I recently changed my handle (the name I use on the social network). Is used to be @AllIndieWriters and now it's @Jenn_Mattern. I made this change because I didn't want my primary Twitter account to be tied to a specific website's brand anymore. Nor did I want it solely focused on writing.

This will allow me to leave behind other site-specific accounts in favor of one collected account tied to my name. Given that I'll have to manage accounts for several pen names more in the near future, consolidating site-based accounts was the smartest move to free up extra time.

You might also have noticed that if you were following my old account, you're now following my new account, and you didn't have to do anything. That's because I changed my Twitter handle in a way that brought my followers with me.

How to Change Your Twitter Handle and Keep Your Followers


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Here's how you can do the same thing:

Step 1: Choose a new Twitter handle.

The first thing to worry about is what handle you'll use moving forward. Unfortunately there are a lot of unused accounts sitting around, registered by squatters or people who simply stopped using their names. If you want one, you can always ask them if they're willing to let the handle go. But beyond that, you're currently out of luck. So be prepared to try other options.

Step 2: Change your handle on your existing account.

Visit Twitter.com and click the gear icon towards the top right corner of the site. Your username is the first field on the form you'll see. Change it to your new handle and click "save changes." Technically you've now changed your handle, and all followers of that account are still following you, only under your new name. But there's still more to do.

Step 3: Sign up for a new account under your old handle.

It's a good idea to sign up for a new Twitter account, using the handle you just got rid of. This way someone else can't use it to take advantage of all the past links you built to the old profile page.

Step 4: Point the old handle to the new one.

Log into the account for your old Twitter handle. Post a note in the bio area and send out a tweet from that account, both mentioning the name change. This way if people follow old links and end up on this page, they'll know to follow your other account instead of this one. Monitor it for a little while too, and let people know your account has moved if some still follow the old handle.

Step 5: Announce the name change to your followers.

Go to your main Twitter account (the one with the new name and all of your followers). Send out a tweet to let them know you've changed your handle (mention the old one in the tweet so they recognize who you are. If you're changing it to something like your real name, like I did, a message or two is probably enough. People will catch on. If you've changed it to something brandable that isn't as clearly-identifiable, you might have to keep reminding people of the change for several days or even weeks. Just avoid getting spammy about it.

That's all there is to it. You've just changed your Twitter name and you didn't lose a single follower in the transition. Of course, it's not a perfect solution. You will lose old links. So make sure you update any that you have control over, such as links on your own blog.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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7 Comments

  1. Princess Jones June 3, 2014 Reply

    I JUST did this the same day you did I think. The reason I did it was because I had SO many Twitter handles. I’m still running my copywriting business, my websites, and now I’m writing fiction. For some reason, I thought I had to maintain separate accounts for each one. But I’m one person with a lot of jobs and lots of different interests. And networking is for people, not brands.
    Princess Jones recently posted…No Office? No Problem: Looking Professional When You’re Running a Kitchen Table EmpireMy Profile

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      Jennifer Mattern June 3, 2014 Reply

      I’m still going to have to juggle several, but at least not similar ones. I figure freelancing, marketing, and small business for example fit well enough together that I can share resources and thoughts on each without alienating one audience or another. I’ll probably still keep the official business ones, but they’re mostly for announcements now, and posting to them is rare. Those are accounts I might eventually outsource. For now I’d rather focus on ones where I can have a bit more personality and share personal recommendations rather than operate under the business name.

      I do have to say TweetDeck has made my life much easier. I like it better than Hootsuite in some ways, but both are fine tools. What I love most is that I can see all mentions and replies in one stream, for all accounts, and automatically reply from the correct one. So even if I get an occasional comment on an account I’m leaving dormant or the business account I don’t use often, at least I don’t have to worry about missing something or ignoring someone simply because I haven’t logged in in a while. Those tools have both been lifesavers.

  2. Cathy Miller June 3, 2014 Reply

    Networking is for people, not brands.. Princess, I love that! I thought about changing from @millercathy (you know there was no way I would ever get Cathy Miller) ;-) to multiple handles for my different niches. I am sooo glad I didn’t.

    Thanks for sharing the “how-to”, Jenn.
    Cathy Miller recently posted…25 Sneaky, Overused, Abused Blog Post WordsMy Profile

  3. Dale Szewczyk June 4, 2014 Reply

    Brilliant post. I had to switch my fiction account around due to a brand change, and a lot of it I had to figure out on my own. Having these helpful posts is a great idea for those who need assistance for things you wouldn’t think would be challenging. but for me, I am not super use to Twitter, I am getting there now, but for the longest time I was all about FB, a quick run down does wonders!

  4. Natalie Smithson June 30, 2014 Reply

    I found this so useful, thank you. Previously, I hadn’t thought to keep the old handle and realised any historic mentions would lead to a blank. A very old account of mine has already been snapped up by a bot. You just never know, so this time I’ve done it properly and also shared with other Twitter users.

    Cheers,

    Nat
    Natalie Smithson recently posted…Somebody has to talk about nappy bags…My Profile

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