Finding perfect Instagram usernames (that are still available) can be tough!
And as more people use Instagram to search for brands and products than ever before, it’s essential that your account is easy to find — and one to remember.
In this blog post, we’re revealing our tips to help you choose the best Instagram username for your brand in 2020, plus everything you need to know before you make the big switch!
Why Instagram Usernames Are So Important
Choosing a new Instagram username may seem like a small decision, but finding the right one can really set the tone for your brand identity — and help people to understand your mission right off the bat.
Your username also provides the easiest way for people to look up your brand on Instagram — and as we’ve mentioned before, your Instagram profile is the new homepage for your brand.
So if your Instagram username isn’t memorable — or it’s difficult to spell — then you’re already on the back-foot when it comes to your social marketing strategy.
With this in mind, here are our top tips for choosing a great Instagram username:
Choosing Instagram Usernames Tip #1: Highlight Your Brand’s Offering
With over 1 billion active users, the chances of your brand name still being available on Instagram are pretty slim.
However, this can be a great opportunity to add in an extra keyword that hints at the values, products, or services your brand provides.
Brands do this all the time, ranging from a subtle nod to an industry like @keepsakethelabel.
To a more direct mention of a product or service like @ctilburymakeup.
This simple hack will reinforce exactly what your brand does — whilst also improving your chances of being discovered through searches for your chosen keyword!
Choosing Instagram Usernames Tip #2: Make it Memorable
When it comes to your Instagram username, it’s worth making it memorable.
Memorable usernames are more likely to be searched for, which can directly impact your engagement levels and follower count.
One way to make your Instagram username more memorable is to use a play on words.
Take for example how OUAI Haircare created a catchy play on words from their homophonous brand name — they are “The Way”:
And beauty brand NARS gives a nod to self-admiration:
While Well+Good put their audience right at the center of their brand in their username:
But if your brand name isn’t a good fit for wordplay, you can still make your username memorable by using other techniques.
Alliteration and punctuation can really make your username stand out — take note of how digital artist Jamielyn Kane uses punctuation in her Instagram username to mirror the Photoshop file format:
A little bit of creativity can go a long way!
Choosing Instagram Usernames Tip #3: Be Consistent Across All Social Platforms
Before you decide on your Instagram username, it’s a good idea to check it’s also available on all the other social platforms you want to use to promote your brand.
Keeping your username consistent not only looks more professional, but it’s a great way to cross-promote your social channels. With the same username, a subscriber on YouTube can easily search and discover your profile on Instagram.
Keep in mind that although Instagram usernames have a 30 character limit, this isn’t always the case for other platforms. Twitter, for example, only allows up to 15 characters!
Choosing Instagram Usernames Tip #4: Make Sure it’s Easy to Spell
Instagram usernames can contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores — but you might not want to include all of those.
The bottom line? The easier your username is to spell, the easier it is to search.
So with this in mind, it’s worth keeping your username free from tricky words and complex combinations.
TIP: If in doubt, tell a friend or colleague your Instagram username idea and ask them to write it down 10 minutes later. If they’ve made any spelling mistakes, it might be worth going back to the drawing board.
Choosing Instagram Usernames Tip #5: Keep Long-term Goals in Mind
As we’ve already covered, highlighting your brand’s offering in your Instagram username can be a great way to boost awareness of your values, products, or services.
However, it’s important to keep your long-term business goals in mind.
If you plan on diversifying your product range in the future, don’t tie yourself to just one product in your Instagram username. Instead, opt for more generic terms that give you the freedom to grow in the direction you’re aiming for.
Thinking ahead can save you from a rebrand further down the line — which could damage your discoverability and impact your engagement levels.
Ready to start planning, scheduling and automatically publishing your posts to Instagram? Sign up to Later today — it’s free!
The Influencer Conundrum: Personal or Brand Name?
Not sure if you should be using your own name or a brand name for your Instagram account username? Think about how you’ll be running your Instagram account on a day-to-day basis to help you decide!
If the focus is primarily on your activities, actions, or point of view, then it could be a good idea to include your name in your Instagram username.
This will indicate to your profile visitors that they are following a single person they can get to know and build a connection with.
If you’re worried your name could be too nondescript, you could always hint at your content specialisms alongside your name.
This can add a stronger focus to your account — and will help new visitors to instantly connect with your profile value.
On the flip-side, if your personal identity has very little to do with the content you’re sharing, it could be worth considering a more anonymized brand name instead.
Taking this approach could be helpful if you’re looking to transition into a business further down the line, as you won’t be personally tied to the account.
What if Your Instagram Username is Already Taken?
If you’re part of the rich and famous elite, Instagram has been known to pull a few strings to help secure your Instagram name of choice.
However, if you’re not in the category of Hollywood movie star or royalty, it can be really difficult to claim an Instagram name that’s already been taken — even if the account is inactive.
But there are a few steps you can take. First off, you can try to get in contact with the account holder to see if they’d be willing to surrender their username. This could be via DM, or an email address if it’s shown in their bio.
Secondly, you could register a trademark to try and help your case. But keep in mind that registering a trademark can be a lengthy, expensive process — and it’s still not guaranteed to work.
Alternatively, it could be quicker and easier to find a slight variation for your Instagram username, like @missomalondon.
This could be as simple as a humble underscore, a relevant location, or a keyword from your industry.
Take note of how Reach Fitness has added the keyword “gym” to their username.
And if you’re worried about how a variation to your username will affect your discoverability, you can always use your display name to help you get discovered.
Instagram uses your display name when someone searches a keyword, hashtag, or username in the Search and Explore page — so it’s definitely worth making the most of this opportunity!
And unlike your username, you can change your display name as often as you like to include the keywords that are relevant to your brand or business.
For the best results, avoid using special characters or spaced capital letters — this may look cool, but it will hinder your discoverability.
Instead, use words that your target audience are most likely to search, such as your full brand name — including ampersands or exclamation points — and product offering.
How to Change Instagram Usernames and Protect Your Account
Once you’ve chosen an Instagram username, the best option is to stick with it. Changing your Instagram username too often can confuse your followers and lead to a rise in unfollows.
However, if a new username is the right move for your brand, there are some steps you can take to make the transition as smooth and safe as possible.
Changing Your Instagram Username Step #1: Give Your Followers a Heads up
Unless your new Instagram username is part of a big reveal, it’s a good idea to let your followers know that this change is coming. This could be through a series of Instagram Stories explaining why you’re making the switch, an IGTV video, or a traditional feed post.
Involving your audience in this decision is a great way to strengthen the sense of community on your account — and will lessen the shock factor when you do make the change.
Changing Your Instagram Username Step #2: Secure Your Old Username
Once you transition your account to a new username, your old username will instantly be up for grabs.
And if you have a high following, this is seriously hot property!
Make sure that no one else takes your old username and impersonates your account by securing your old username as quickly as possible, like Leonie Hanne did with @ohhcouture.
You can then use this account for your future business ventures, or to re-direct followers to your real account.
Changing Your Instagram Username Step #3: Secure Your Instagram Verification
If your Instagram account is verified (hooray, you made it!), changing your Instagram username can be risky.
This is because Instagram has certain rules in place to prevent people from transferring a verified account to someone else — and a new username can indicate a change of ownership.
Keep your blue tick safe by contacting the Instagram Help Center, and asking them to update your Instagram username on your behalf.
Changing Your Instagram Username Step #4: Update Your Social Links
When you update your Instagram username, your Instagram profile URL will automatically change too.
Steer clear of pesky 404s by updating your social links straight away — especially on traffic hotspots, such as your brand website and other social channels!
Getting your Instagram username right can be the first step towards building an effective social media marketing strategy.
With Later, you can plan and schedule your Instagram posts in advance — and reach your audience when they’re most active!
Ready to level-up your social media marketing strategy? Join Later today, for free!