How to Change Your Twitter Name without Losing Followers

Someone recently asked me for the link to an article we published in our old ezine, The Portable Business (discontinued October 2011), on how to change your Twitter name without losing followers.

At the time, I was changing my Twitter name and found this wonderful information from Alicia Cowan. Here is a reposting of that article for those of you who need to change your Twitter name and want to keep all your followers. It’s brilliant!

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How to Change Your Twitter Name without Losing Followers

By Alicia Cowan

I recently decided to change my Twitter username and wanted to do it in such a way that I wouldn’t lose my followers or access to my current profile. I’ve built up a great community on Twitter and want to preserve it. Besides, what if someone decided to use my current name once I’d changed it? One day I may decide to reinstate it!

This quick article takes you through the simple process I used. I retained all of my followers and other important profile settings–lists, favourites, tweets and people I follow. It’s a foolproof strategy and the smartest way to switch while retaining your profile.

Why do it this way?

It’s very easy to change your Twitter name. You can do it through the settings area of your profile. BUT WAIT!

If you just switch your name to something new, what happens when someone makes contact with you using your old name? They may not realize you’ve changed your name. The problem is, you won’t receive the message. It will be lost because your old username account no longer exists and that person will never know. What if someone follows you using your old username? They may have received a recommendation to follow you but they won’t know you’ve moved your profile. You could lose countless opportunities to engage with others interested in your product or service!

For this to work you need 2 things in place first:

  • A new available profile name. This bit can be tricky. My chosen name @AbsoluteAlicia was about 10th on my list of desired names!
  • An email address that is not currently associated with any of your other Twitter profiles. Each Twitter account needs a separate email address. You can’t have one email address associated with two or more accounts so you’ll want to make sure you have an email address in place before starting this process.

OK, here’s how you do it…

Step 1:

  • Change your current username to your new one in the settings section of your account.
  • Once you’ve added your desired name, Twitter will check to see if it’s available. If your chosen name isn’t available it will say so and you’ll have to pick another.
  • Once you have your chosen name scroll down to the bottom of the page and SAVE CHANGES.

Step 2:

  • Notify all of your followers that you’ve changed your Twitter name. Do this by sending an update message telling them your new username.

Step 3:

  • Next up, create a new Twitter profile using your old Twitter name. This is when you will need another email address.
  • Enter all the account information required for your new account, including your previous username. It’s important to do this step straight away to prevent anyone else taking your profile!
  • Once the account is created, skip all of the ‘find people to follow’ stuff and go straight in to settings to recreate your account adding your profile picture, email, web address and old Twitter name.
  • In the bio, explain who you are, that your profile has moved and where people can find you. By adding your new username in the bio, it will show up as a link taking people directly to your updated profile. Remember to save changes!
  • If you’ve got a custom Twitter background you can add that in too in the Design area of settings.

Step 4:

  • The next step is to send out a message on your new account with your old username. Don’t expect to get any followers here but just in case people come looking for you using your old Twitter name, you’ll want to make doubly sure that people know where they can find you. For the time being at least, this message will remain at the top of your profile ready to point people in the right direction.

I recommend that you come to check this account periodically, especially after the first few days of switching your name because you will get messages from people who don’t realize you’ve changed usernames, or they’ll forget, or people may follow you too. You can send them a message explaining that you’ve changed your name and where they can find you. If you using any apps on WordPress (Tweet this or @Anywhere) remember to change the settings there too.

And that is it! That’s the whole process, really simple–it takes 5 minutes and it prevents you from losing any contacts you’ve made through your old username and will ensure a smooth transition from one to the other!

RESOURCE: Check out my video version of this article. If you want to learn more about using Twitter to market your business, check out the fabulous e-book Twitter Your Business by Mark Shaw, for tons of practical tips, plus I’m a featured case study!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alicia Cowan helps small businesses use online and social media to market themselves effectively and efficiently, so they stop wasting time and start increasing profits! You can find more tips on her blog.


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