How to snap an already taken Twitter, Facebook or Instagram handle

The perfect @username. It’s that special name, the one that fits your brand like a glove. However, most of the times this username is already taken. But what if there were ways to get around this problem? Read on, you will surely find a solution!

Report a trademark issue

All social networks take it very seriously when someone is trying to look like or imply affiliation with your brand. Here are the links where you can report such cases:

Do note that even if the spelling of a username resembles your trademark, as long as it doesn't impersonate your brand, you don't have a strong case.

File a squatting report

If an account was created with the clear intent to extort a form of payment in exchange for it, a squatting report might be the solution. You can use it when someone has registered a handle purely for the sake of squatting on the name and it confuses or misleads others. Here are some useful links:

When reporting squatting, make sure you also include proof that you are entitled to use that particular username (a government-issued photo ID or proof of registration of your trade name or pseudonym). In the description you can say "This person has a dormant Instagram account that has never posted content and was created with a clear squatting intent". Also, using an email address from a domain name identical to the desired username might help your case.

Set up an alert to notify you if the username is released

Unfortunately, in most cases, none of the above applies, and your only solution is to monitor if the account owner deletes it or if the social network marks it as inactive and releases it for public use.

If you want to prevent that anyone else snap the newly-released username, you can sign up for a service that monitors a username and notifies you as soon as it's released:

Common mistakes to avoid

Resist the temptation to contact the current owner of the account. He/she will not release it (unless you're willing to pay a hefty price) and chances are that following an email notification they will log in to the social network and the account will no longer be dormant (not for at least another 6 months).

Don't be a squatter yourself and log in to your social media accounts at least once every six months. Otherwise, you risk someone else doing the same thing to you!