How to transition the names/handles of three social media accounts?
May 4, 2019 1:41 PM   Subscribe

An organization I am part of has three main social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We have the same handle on each, OldName, and we are going to change all three to NewName. I have questions.

Our plan at the moment is to change the handles on each of these accounts to NewName, so that all the accounts will keep all past content and followers. Then we will create new accounts on each of the three services, with the OldName handle, and post on each of the accounts directing people to the new accounts. Do any of these platforms use some kind of auto-forwarding service?

We have lots of printed materials with OldName, so until we order new supplies, we want people to be able to find us via the OldName accounts.

Does this seem like the best approach? Is there anything that we are missing? Any other advice on updating these social media handles? Thanks!

(I have heard that some of these platforms may hold back previously used handles? Is this true? If we change from OldName to NewName, how soon would OldName be available on each of these platforms for us to create those accounts?
posted by andoatnp to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You know you will lose all of your followers on all of your accounts, right? And that the attrition rate will be very high in change-over? Changing the names but not the handle is what many orgs opt for, for exactly this reason.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 PM on May 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm a little confused at your plan here. I don't think (unless your are the president or, maybe, other very high profile people) that you change accounts and transfer followers. And telling people to go follow a new account is unlikely to have a lot of success. And I'm unclear why you are going to close and then reopen OldName? Maybe you can outline what you are specifically going for here, with blank/dummy examples?
posted by jessamyn at 2:12 PM on May 4, 2019

It is possible to change the name of a Twitter account. Details from Twitter here. "Note: Changing your username will not affect your existing followers, Direct Messages, or replies. Your followers will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update. "

Both of the previous answers seem to suggest that we will lose our followers when we change the account name, when this is not the case. We would be following the instructions from Twitter about how to change the account name.

The specific questions I have regarding the transition are in my original post. (e.g. How should we handle people who continue to visit the old account name? How soon will the old account names be available?)
posted by andoatnp at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2019

It's very interesting that you can change your user name on Twitter. I didn't realize that was possible. Have you verified what the corresponding steps would be with Facebook and Instagram, and that they are possible? With Facebook I'm guessing it would be a page, and not a user, since users have to be [real] people. Is that correct?
posted by Winnie the Proust at 2:50 PM on May 4, 2019

Yes, I’m talking about a Facebook Page. (And yes, you can change the name/url of a Facebook page.)
posted by andoatnp at 4:53 PM on May 4, 2019

This sounds like a good plan, the main thing to be aware of is name squatters. You should make this change before announcing NewName publicly and change all the accounts at the same time.

In theory you could just register NewName on all the services in advance to reserve it, and then rename those temporary accounts to something random just before the changeover, but check in advance if that rename will really make the name available for use by another account, it might not work or may take some time to be made available.
posted by Lanark at 1:12 AM on May 5, 2019

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