Sometimes we outgrow our Twitter handles. I did.

At the same time, once we’re established, the thought of losing the possible thousands of followers we’ve already amassed can be quite daunting. Undeterred, I looked into this anyway.

It is actually possible to change your Twitter handle through your account settings in just a few clicks. Take a look at the screenshot below:

RoseWroteThis
This ensures that you keep all your profile data (profile text, images, previous tweets, followers – essentially everything), just with a new name. Brilliant, right?

There’s a catch:

Your old name now becomes free. At best, it turns into a Twitter 404 page. See below:

twitter not found
At worst, some sneaky or malicious character can spot the existing link juice pointing to your old username and that it has now become available. They can use this to spam your followers or even impersonate you, damaging your image and potentially scamming your friends.

On top of that, you lose all the link juice you already built for your old profile!

There is a semi-fix, and that involves doing what a spammer might have otherwise done in your place:

  1. First change your username, as described above.
  2. Now register a new account with your old username.
  3. Give this new account with your old username an appropriate profile picture that clearly indicates your username has changed. See mine below:
    englishrose moved
  4. Put one tweet out on that new account to direct people to your new username. For emphasis, you could use that picture again.
  5. Add a link to your new username in the URL part and explain that this is an old username in the profile for the new account.
  6. Also consider following your new username (and following your old one from the new account) to highlight that it really is you and draw more attention to the new username.
  7. If you so wish, you can also change your background image. I didn’t bother, as I figure the profile image is enough.

Okay, I lied. Not exactly the same links, as there is no 301 redirect going on here – but it’s the next best thing.

Now you have no excuse for not changing your Twitter handle as your brand and business evolve!

2017-11-01T13:03:33+00:00

About the Author:

My name is Rose Newell. Commercial writer, copywriter, marketing mastermind and... geek. In another life, I listened to the call of the 56k dialup modem and ended up in tech. In this life, I'm a commercial writer, helping great ideas reach an international audience. Happen to need a geek with a bit of uncharacteristic marketing-savvy to tease those ideas out of the sandbox? Here I am. Get in touch.

4 Comments

  1. amy cross 03/11/2015 at 2:24 am - Reply

    Useful info, thanks! I did wonder how I was following you on your new account already.

  2. David Harper 04/11/2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Good work. I need to do something like this, i knew you could change your name but not about all the other things you have to do to protect your brand. Thanks for that.

  3. Suzanne Smart 06/11/2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Thanks for these very helpful instructions Rose 🙂 I’m considering splitting my Twitter use in 2 and having one handle for the translation industry and another for my clients. I haven’t decided whether to do it yet but if I do your info will certainly come in very handy!

  4. David 06/11/2015 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Thanks for that. I need to do this, too. I have this really old account with a silly name, but I have a new company name and would like to keep the followers. This sounds like a good idea.

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