Three Takeaways from the Epicenter Twitter Fail

Three Takeaways from the Epicenter Twitter Fail

By: SiarzaSD
Date: 23 Feb 2015

Screenshot_2015-02-20-14-46-52The communications specialist for the new Epicenter in Downtown Albuquerque ran into a confusing situation last week that made headlines in Albuquerque Business First. After a few phone calls and clicks of the “forgot password” link, the city was searching for the person who claimed the “EpicenterABQ” twitter handle.

Epicenter’s mystery was solved within days: a local content strategy director for McKee Wallwork and Company claimed the account with the best intentions and the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development team had their infant Twitter account.

We’ve seen brands and businesses run into this “whodunit” situation before. What do you do when this happens to you?

Here are three tips to keep in mind when this situation may happen to your brand name:

ONE) Tell Twitter About Your Trademark Violation

If your brand is trademarked or copyrighted, you can contact Twitter and let them know about the trademark violation. The website has an investigation process that takes time and manpower.

Does it work? Sometimes.

This trademark violation process doesn’t give a brand the right to claim anything and everything that sounds like their company name. Fan accounts or commentary feeds are allowed, so be sure to take a close look at accounts created with your brand name.

TWO)  When You Think of Your Brand, Search Through Usernames

If your marketing and operations team are at the drawing board for brand names, always consider if the new name will be available right from the beginning.

These questions should be a part of your brainstorm session:

  1. How will this username look shortened for Twitter?
  2. We need to put our social channels on marketing collateral. Can our name look good after the social media URL forward slash? (i.e.
  3. The YouTube channel name is taken, but it’s available for Facebook and Twitter. Will I be able to stay consistent throughout the chosen social networks?

To save you time searching through the handful of social networks, use NameChk! This tool will check the availability of your username on 157 social channels.

THREE) Once Claimed, Start Your Social Media Process Right Away

Epicenter’s mystery happened because of a content strategist going on paternity leave. (Congrats Brad on the new baby, BTW.)  It’s easy to claim networks right away and forget to pass on the information.

An easy process to keep in mind includes:

  1. Start your social media usernames and passwords sheet right away and share it with your team.
  2. Have your team start adding more than one person to your social media management teams. Teams can now manage Twitter accounts via TweetDeck, and Facebook has a good user interface for administrators.
  3. Develop your social strategy. Never start a new social networking without mapping out your visuals, voice, messaging and key audiences.
  4. Set an operational protocol on who will be managing and monitoring your social networks. Depending on your organization, it may take more than just the marketing team to deliver customer service through social media.

Have you ever run into this situation before? Comment below: We’d love to see what you did to work around the Twitter username mystery.


Happy Tweeting,

Kristelle Siarza
Chief Executive Officer
Siarza Social Digital

back to top