Monday 9th October 2017
If you are new to business, you are probably hearing a lot of people telling you how important social media is. But just like choosing an email address, you may quickly discover all the best account name variations relevant to your business name are taken.
For several years my Twitter handle was @RugbyDesign because frustratingly somebody else was sitting on @RugbyWebDesign. What was even more frustrating is that the Twitter account using this handle had only ever sent 2 tweets way back in 2009. I started researching what I could do and discovered that this phenomenon is known as Twitter squatting.
The good news is that it is possible to claim the unused Twitter handle you really want. Technically the form-filling process is to help people/organisations who believe they are being impersonated. [link] However, I was able to use this process for my claim, and I'm happy to say my Twitter handle now matches all my other social media accounts @RugbyWebDesign.
How to do it
As already mentioned, the process is really there to help with impersonation issues, which means the form filling can seem irrelevant. I completed all the boxes and added a sentence explaining that I appreciated it was not an impersonation, rather a dormant account that coincidentally had the same name. Twitter does say that they reserve the right to delete inactive accounts, so I used this policy to my advantage.
You will need to establish that the name or brand you’re after is indeed yours. Make sure you own a website/email that matches the Twitter account you are trying to claim. For me, this was easy, as my domain is rugbywebdeign.co.uk and my business is established on Google. I also sent my claim using my domain's email address.
The next day
I woke to find an email from Twitter thanking me of my submission regarding impersonation. They requested ID and documentation to help establish my identity. I uploaded these via a secure link and figured I would be waiting a week or two.
Later that day Twitter emailed back.“The account you have reported does not violate our impersonation policy, but it is currently inactive. We can release this username for your brand's use by transferring the username to a Twitter account that you manage. We can either rename an account you currently have or transfer the username to a new placeholder account that you create”.
I was over the moon. I replied requesting that I would like them to rename my existing account. By the time dinner was in the oven and a glass of wine was in hand, another email arrived saying the transfer was complete. Happy days!
In less than 2 days I had got my Twitter handle changed to one that I really wanted and matched my other social media accounts. What’s more, the changeover was seamless. All my tweets, followers and mentions remained intact, Twitter simply renamed everything to @RugbyWebDesign.
So if you find that the handle you really want is taken. And (most importantly) the account is inactive, give this a try. It will take less than 10 minutes of your time and costs nothing.
Monday 9th October 2017
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