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
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.