What To Do If Your Twitter Username Is Taken

You’ve spent hours brainstorming the perfect name for your business. Whether it’s creative and edgy, straight to the point or somewhere in between, your business’ name will be the one piece of marketing material that customers think of first when they think of you.

But what happens when Sue finds out that someone’s already claimed @SuesBookstore? What do you do? Although Twitter doesn’t allow duplicate handles (thankfully, or things could get confusing quick!), there are a number of options at your fingertips if you find your preferred Twitter username is already taken.

There are two basic scenarios for businesses that notice their username is taken: a) the account in question is pretending to represent you or your business or b) your business name/preferred username is common enough that someone got to it first.

If you find yourself thinking you might be in column “a” – that is, the username you want is being used, or is dormant but was being used, by someone pretending to actually be you – you’ll want to file a complaint with Twitter directly. There are a few options here, including impersonation or trademark violation. For most small and medium businesses, you’ll likely be dealing with a case of impersonation. Fill out the form found at the aforementioned link, and Twitter should contact you in a few days to follow up. There have been a number of cases of businesses getting their desired username just by submitting this form, so it’s worth the effort!

However, if you aren’t a business, or if your business name is not trademarked or is pretty generic (think names like “Sue’s Bookstore” or “The Cleaning Lady”), you might have to go a different route.

One thing you can do is try to contact the owner of that Twitter handle, and ask them (ever so politely!) if they wouldn’t mind trading with you. It’s worked for several businesses I’ve spoken to in the past, and you never know – you might just encounter a good samaritan willing to hand over the keys!

Otherwise, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and start getting creative.

Although @SuesBookstore might have been your first choice for a username, why not use an underscore between words? @Sues_Bookstore could be available. Twitter allows the use of underscores, so if your business name (or your real name) has two or more words, this could be a very simple, and still well-branded, option.

Alternatively, you can use numbers in your username to score a unique handle. Why not try @SuesBookstore1? OK, it might not be as visually appealing as the original, but it works!

Lastly, it’s sometimes not a bad idea to use abbreviations or shortened words in your Twitter username. @SBookstore or @SuesBooks might be just what you’re looking for!

Whatever route you choose, be sure to tell all of your customers, clients, friends and family your brand new username!

(Hi my name is image via Shutterstock)

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