What to do when someone else registers your social media handle

March 29th, 2018

Carnival Cruise Ship - What to do when someone else registers your social media handleHave you seen the story of the 15-year-old boy who was sought out by Carnival and given an all expenses holiday on the cruise line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon? Why, you might ask? Well, he had something they thought was so valuable that they wanted to give him the experience of a lifetime. He had registered their Snapchat handle.

Darian Lipscomb from Virginia, USA, opened a Snapchat account with the @CarnivalCruise username during a family cruise in 2012 – at the tender age of nine-years-old. Let’s gloss over the fact that you have to be 13-years-old to have a Snapchat account. He says he wanted to use Snapchat to share his amazing cruise experiences with his friends. He has been doing just that ever since.

So, why did Carnival want their Snapchat handle?

Cruises are for old people, right? Think again! In recent years the cruise industry has recognised that it needs to win over the younger market.

Families and millennials are firmly on their radar, and social media platforms are one of the key places where they can reach this new audience. Snapchat in particular is a millennial platform used by the next generation of cruisers and young people tagging along with their folks.

Whether he had any inkling at the time he set up his account, this has played firmly into Darian’s hands as he and his family will soon be boarding a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona in exchange for passing over the @CarnivalCruise Snapchat username to Carnival.

A brilliant PR tactic

Carnival has come out of this really well too. This smart approach to winning their Snapchat handle will put them back in control of their social media presence and gain them some positive PR coverage. Darian will be sharing more updates from his cruise and the media exposure will ensure many more people follow the account.

How to claim back your social media handle

The issue that Carnival encountered of someone else registering their social media handle is a common one faced by businesses, especially if they are late getting into the social media game.

If someone else has claimed a Twitter or Instagram handle using your trademarked company name you can ask these social platforms to remove it from them and give it back to you. They will do this if the account is inactive or someone is pretending to be you or your business. Facebook will also shut down business pages if they have been set up by a so called ‘squatter’ and are inactive.

It’s not advisable to pay someone for a social media handle and this is expressly against the terms and conditions of Twitter and Instagram. Start by contacting the platform’s support team but, be warned, this process can take some time.

If you’re feeling smart like Carnival and you’re dealing with someone reasonable like Darian, then maybe there’s a PR opportunity to be had.

If you’d like advice about any aspect of setting up your social media accounts or creating engaging content to win you business then get in touch with the social media experts at Briscoe French.

By Claire Hall

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