Successful digital marketing opens a lot of doors for yourself and your brand. To do so, you need to build a strong online presence.
Don’t limit yourself with only a website. Build a unique identity across social media platforms. With over 500 million active users, Instagram should be on top of your list.
To establish your presence, you should pick a strong Instagram username. It must be unique, creative, and easily identifiable.
Remember, your username is one of the building blocks of your brand. In some cases, it can make or break your brand identity.
Unfortunately, choosing a name isn’t as easy as A-B-C. Instagram is continually growing in popularity. That’s why it’s hard to find a unique name. Some of the challenges you might encounter include:
- Unavailable username
- Difficulty in choosing a creative username without numbers or symbols
- Inability to connect with the audience
To help you overcome these difficulties, we’ve come up with comprehensive criteria for picking a username. But first, here are few things to keep in mind.
Instagram Username And Handle – Are They The Same Thing?
At some point, you might’ve asked, “What’s the difference between a username and handle?”
These words are used interchangeably. They describe the same thing. An Instagram username has an “@” before it. Your handle is your Instagram username but is found at the URL address of your account.
Why Is It Important To Have A Creative Username?
Your Instagram username introduces your brand to your audience. This is the first step to growing your account.
It tells them what your account is about. In fact, it helps in creating your brand identity on the platform.
It what makes your account discoverable and memorable. This may seem like common knowledge. However, plenty of people have failed in growing their account by skimping on this crucial step.
For example, you left a comment on another user’s content. Then, your comment managed to gain the attention of other users. If your IG handle is unique or creative, they’ll want to check out your profile.
Remember, a creative username:
- Is crucial for building an online identity
- Helps boost brand recall, making your business easier to find.
- Sets a professional vibe
Criteria For Picking An Instagram Name
Determine The Purpose of Your Instagram Account
First, you must identify brand goals. What are you going to use the Instagram account for? Are you promoting products and services? Do want to grow your personal account to be an influencer?
An Instagram username helps users to identify what type of account you have. It lets them know at a glance what you’re about. Here are some of the most common types of account:
Your Instagram handle must represent you. You can use a shortened version of your name or a full name.
Add numbers or special symbols to make it unique. For example, @Macy143 or @Jane_Doe. However, this format is only acceptable when you use your profile solely to connect with family and friends.
In doing so, those within your circle can easily find you.
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Personal Brand Account
If you want to grow your Instagram account and become an influencer, you need to choose a creative Instagram username.
To become an influencer, you need a dedicated following. With that said, you must have a username that defines who you are.
- What makes you unique?
- Are you a travel blogger? Make-up guru?
- What is your niche?
Take this example from girleatworld. Mel is a food and travel blogger. The username she chose clearly depicts what her account is all about.
Your Instagram username should contain the company name. Your main goal is to improve brand awareness. The best way to achieve that is by building a brand identity.
Take a look at this budding skincare brand, KraveBeauty. Their Instagram username includes the name of their brand, Krave.
This company was founded by Liah Yoo. She built a brand based on her #PressReset principle. They aim to provide the most basic skincare products that your skin craves for.
Tip: If you haven’t decided on a company name, it’s best to wait before creating an Instagram username.
For example, your temporary IG handle gained followers. When you change into your permanent Instagram username, you’ll end up losing followers. More importantly, you might lose credibility and online traction.
Choose A Simple But Memorable Username
Instagram usernames should be within the 30 character limit. It can include letters, numbers, periods, or symbols. But this doesn’t mean you should use complicated words.
In fact, it’s best to keep your username simple. Make it easy for users to find you. So, don’t add unnecessary symbols or numbers.
Secondly, use words that are easy to say and share. Remember, word-of-mouth is still one of the best marketing strategies. If your username is difficult to pronounce, users will have a hard time finding your profile.
Take a look at Darling Media‘s Instagram username. They kept it short, memorable, and easy to find.
Thirdly, don’t add random or consecutive letters. Take this example from Meow Purrtee. Just by looking at their username, users will know what the account is about. Unfortunately, it has its drawbacks.
When you share the username verbally, people will ask, “how many Rs?”. In fact, they might automatically assume it ends with a Y and not a double E.
Other things you should avoid:
- Using symbols. Users will find it difficult to remember where they should go.
- Adding underscores. Did you know that more effort is needed just to type a single underscore?
The Shorter, The Better
In line with keeping your Instagram username simple, you must also keep it short. Don’t use up the 30-character limit.
Make sure that your username will not be cut off. But how?
A neat trick is by visiting any profile. Take a look at who they are following. Notice how the example’s username was cut off?
If you want to grow your Instagram account, make sure to clearly convey what your brand is about. Long and complicated usernames will confuse potential followers.
Your Instagram handle should be concise and clear. Short Instagram names are discoverable and can also give you exclusivity.
Of course, you can’t use a username that’s already taken. Instagram will tell you when a name isn’t available. But there are more ways to be unique and original.
Firstly, avoid using similar names as other personal brands or businesses. Copying or using trademarked names for your own can lead to legal problems like copyright infringement.
Secondly, you can use other accounts as inspirations. Never copy off a successful brand.
For example, you can’t create a business account called @star.bucks. Once your account grows, Starbucks have the right to report and close your account. In a worst-case scenario, you might face legal charges.
Remember, your goal is to build an online presence. You should align your creative username with your brand identity, vision, and mission.
Use these factors to connect with your audience. Establishing a unique and valuable connection will help you gain and retain followers.
Make It A Part of Your Brand Identity
When choosing a creative username, you must identify your content. Consider using keywords in your niche. Make this keyword a part of your name. This is especially useful if you’re a start-up business.
This is a smart way of using search engine optimization within the platform.
Take for example Glossier. From the word “glossy” – or more specifically, from the founder’s beauty website, Into the Gloss.
This company started by launching four products: cleanser, moisturizer, lip balm, and a misting spray. Their username is really good at communicating who it’s for. Plus, it’s also very easy to remember. Especially if you’re already a follower of the beauty website.
Popular international brands like Maybelline have built a strong brand identity. They’re easily recognizable. Why? Partly because they retained their name for years. You should also use this mindset.
When you choose an Instagram username, think of it as branding. Make it a permanent. There’s nothing more exasperating for users than tracking down brands that constantly change usernames.
Use Your Domain Name
Consider using the name of your website as your Instagram handle. This helps improve online presence and brand recall.
However, if you haven’t set up a website, choose a domain that matches your chosen username.
For example, if your website gets a lot of traffic, you will have a higher search rank. This means more people will discover your profile outside Instagram.
Remember, if you want to grow your business, you should always think forward. Consider building an online presence on multiple platforms. This will make you easily accessible to more people.
Use The Same Name Across Social Media Platforms
After brainstorming and thorough consideration, use your chosen username on all your social media platform. This includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
This solidifies your branding. Additionally, it’ll be easier for your target audience to find you on any platform.
Tip: Keep your personal and business account separate. Make sure that the content you post is what your followers expect to see.
Lastly, immediately register your chosen Instagram username on all accounts! You never know when your chosen username will be taken.
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What If Your Instagram Username Is Not Available?
With billions of active users, there’s always that possibility. But don’t be discouraged!
If you want to grow your account, put in the hard work. This includes crafting your Instagram username.
It’s tempting to add a period, an underscore, or a number at the end of your username to make it unique. However, remember the criteria we’ve listed above.
Here are a few things you can do to overcome this challenge:
Add geographical zone: This is a great trick especially if your brand or business use different profiles for different countries.
Use the word “Official”: Another option is to indicate that your account is the official profile of your brand. Secondly, consider verifying your Instagram account. This adds credibility and the audience will know for sure that your account is authentic.
Place “I am” before your name: If you’re building a personal brand, this helps solve the problem of duplicate usernames.
Claim an inactive account: If the account using your preferred username is inactive, you have the option to claim it. But it’s only possible if you have a Trademark.
Note: This is a costly option and may take months to process. First, you have to fill and submit the Instagram trademark infringement form. Second, you must provide the details of your Trademark registration.
However, there’s no guarantee that the username will be yours. But it’ll at least give you a fair chance.
What if I came up with a creative username? Can I still change my existing handle?
How To Change Your Username On Instagram
Go to your account and tap Edit Profile.
Type your new username in the Username field.
To save changes, simply tap Done.
Need more creative username inspirations? Check out a few of the Instagram username generators below!
List of Popular Instagram Username Generator
This Instagram username generator asks you to fill any of these questions:
- Name or nickname
- What are you like?
- Things you like
- Important words
- Numbers or letters
Once you filled any or all of the boxes, simply click Spin. You’ll be given at least 30 usernames. It’s great in using specific keywords that match your personality or brand.
To check availability, simply click on the username you want.
With this Instagram username generator, all you have to do is add a keyword. You can also limit the length of the username.
Just like SpinXO, you can check username availability without leaving the page. Simply click on the name you want.
Although this isn’t your typical Instagram username generator, Shopify is a great source of inspiration.
First, you need to add a keyword or the core concept of your brand. Next, Shopify will curate at least 100 creative usernames.
However, you can’t cross-check the username availability with the Instagram app from within the page. You’ll have to do so manually.
Ready to come up with your most creative username?
When choosing an Instagram username, always keep your brand identity in mind. Be clear about who you are and what you’re selling – be it a personal brand, product, or services.
This will greatly affect the name you’ll choose. Consider running your choices through the criteria we’ve listed above.
Lastly, when you’ve published your account, it’s time to find and engage with your target audience!
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