Twitter Territory ReTaken

Business Twitter Account InaccessibleHaving worked on several full scale, business social media marketing projects, I often face the unhappy task of helping a company regain control of an orphaned Twitter or Facebook page, or two or three! Well meaning or unknowing staff persons often set up social media pages for a company not really understanding or appreciating exactly what they are doing.

Many orphaned pages were set up during the early days of Facebook and Twitter when people were experimenting with personal and business fan pages.  Sadly, the experimental business page is often forgotten and due to the rapid attrition of an average email address (18 months according to Constant Contact) the business page often lays dormant, inaccurate, incomplete and inaccessible to the company that it claims to represent.  The business Facebook or Twitter page is left haunting a company like an unresponsive doppelganger daring you to try and purge him from the Internet!

One of the first steps in any social media strategy is to discover how the company is currently represented on the internet. A quick Google search will give general results and also uncover customer comments on business rating sites, but searching specific social media sites is also necessary. The exact spelling of the name and close variants will help uncover the lifeless content of orphaned pages. In the case of Mooers Volvo, the Twitter page in question was named @mooersvolvo or  There was no mistaking that this Twitter page belonged to the company!

The following timeline is a brief case study of a successful attempt to reclaim the business Twitter account for Mooers Volvo of Richmond. Virginia’s first and Central Virginia’s largest Volvo dealership.  🙂

  • 6/5 Discovered inactive business Twitter account that was set up in 2008. There was only one post on the page over the two year span of its existence.
  • 6/6 Tweeted a message to the account asking for the owner to contact me so that we could gain access to it for the business. Waited for a week with no response.
  • 6/13 Read Twitter policies to find any reference to abandoned accounts.  Finding no such policy, decided to make a claim that the owner of the account was impersonating our business and submitted an online ‘impersonation’ form to obtain access to @mooersvolvo. (screenshot1)
  • 6/13 Immediately received an auto response confirming submission of the form and explaining their impersonation-related policies. (screenshot2)
  • 6/17 Received an email from Twitter explaining that they removed the ‘reported profile’ from circulation due to violation of their Terms of Service. (screenshot3)
  • 6/17 Asked Twitter if we could gain control over the @mooersvolvo name.
  • 6/20 Twitter responded asking us if we want to replace an existing Twitter account name with this one or if we didn’t have one, they instructed us to create an account with a placeholder name, i.e. mooersvolvo123 (screenshot4)
  • 6/22 Created new placeholder account using mooersvolvo123 and emailed Twitter that it was created.
  • 6/27 Twitter moved new account to mooersvolvo

In summary, compared to the duplicate Facebook page elimination process, this experience was a dream! Here are the positives:

  1. Twitter had a policy and simple form that was able to deal with the issue
  2. An automated response provided a link to the related policy and informed us what we could expect to happen next
  3. Followup emails from a Twitter staff person provided clear and concise information about each step in the process
  4. The Twitter staff responded by email to direct questions about the account
  5. The same contact person at Twitter followed the process through to resolution

Here are the OFI’s (Baldrige Performance Improvement Program terminology for “Opportunities For Improvement”)

  1. A policy dealing explicitly with duplicate or abandoned Twitter pages would seem more appropriate than claiming someone is impersonating the business.
  2. An actual Twitter staff name or pseudonym would more user friendly. The contact person, “kielyMKP” is a bit cryptic.
  3. Response time, of several days between emails, was a bit long, but was still lightning speed compared to the ‘fall flat on your Facebook’ process. 🙂

About Brian Loebig

Owner of, author of, and part-time Technology Manager for the Alliance for Performance Excellence, Brian has over 15 years of experience working in the quality improvement, human services and technology fields as an administrator and consultant. Brian has also worked as a practitioner and administrator in the corrections, substance abuse and human services fields with a special emphasis on technology. He continues to work with numerous community-based non-profits as a web technology consultant, board member and volunteer. Feel free to .
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