Creating a username for Instagram is as important as naming your child. It is the lifeblood of your Instagram account because the username is used to discover your profile, your brand and a critical factor whether a person will follow you or not.
Whether you are creating your username for the first time or debating if you need to change your current username, we put together a list of best practices to help you understand the criteria for the perfect username on Instagram.
Identify the Purpose of your Instagram Account
There are three main categories of Instagram accounts: Business, Personal Profile, and Curation.
Business: If you’re opening a shop, most cases you want your Instagram username the same as your business name. The objective for your Instagram should be to promote your business and build brand awareness.
Personal Profile: Your username should represent you and what you want to be known as because you are the brand. You can either use a shortened version of your name like @GaryVee or just use your full name similar to @SimonSinek.
Curation: Accounts that curate + create original content that corresponds to a theme allows for lots of creativity when creating a username. Excellent examples include @thegoodquote, @zociety_, and @powerofpositivity. They are simple, memorable, and specific to their audience; key principles for the perfect Instagram username.
Make it Relatable to Your Content and Audience
Build your username around your content strategy and your target audience. For example, if your content is around cute animals, your username should reflect that.
@Cuteigpuppies, @Cutecatonline and @Cutedogshub are a few great examples that do this accurately. These accounts focus on key descriptive words that relate to their content strategy: “Cute” + “Puppies” or “Cat”.
By having these keywords in your username, it also increases your chances of your profile to show at the top of the list when searching for these keywords. Try to research popular keywords that are less competitive to rank if you’re planning to build your username around keywords.
Keyword Research Method:
1) Research popular keywords using Top-Hashtags.com
2) Check competitiveness of keyword by searching people on the Instagram app to see who shows up
3) Review follow count, see if keyword exists in the username and how engaged their followers are by checking the number of likes/comments for the recent posts
If the results are full of accounts with high follower counts + engaged users, its likely that the hashtag is too competitive. It’s a slow trial and error process, but it’ll pay off in the future.
Keep it Simple
There is a 30 symbol limit for Instagram usernames. Usernames can include letters, numbers, periods and underscores. But that doesn’t mean it’s an open invitation to pack it all with keywords and complicated words.
You want to make your username memorable. A string of words that can be easily said and shared. The best type of marketing is still word of mouth. If you make it difficult for others to verbalize your username, you make it harder on yourself to get your Instagram profile discovered.
Take @AwwwCuteDogs as an example. The username does an excellent job of communicating your content strategy. The written form is concise and straightforward. But when you verbalize the username, the first question anyone will ask is “with how many Ws?”
Another tip is never to use profanity or offensive language in your username. In an overly sensitive world, avoid anything that might tip someone off to report your account. It’s better to avoid the trouble of getting your account unbanned.
You might be tempted to follow the footsteps of an established account by riding their coattails. To become successful, you can’t just build a copy of a copy. It takes work and thousands of iterations of your strategies to make it work.
Even if you become successful copying off a brand, you could be liable to copyright and trademark issues. For example, you could create an account called @Nike.Jordans. There will be users that follow you based on their loyalty to Nike. But once your account gets big enough, Nike has the power to close your account due to trademark infringement.
Your goal on Instagram is not to gain as many followers as possible. It should align with your overall brand, message, and objective that connects with your audience. Without the unique connection, it’ll be difficult to retain your followers, and nearly impossible to convert them to your product or cause.
Starting from a blank slate is hard. We compiled a few username generators to help you get started. Input a few keywords you’re interested having your username and let the tools give you a variety of options.
What to Do When Your Screen Name Is Unavailable
1. Claim the Inactive Account if you have a Trademark
While you have the option to claim an inactive account, it’s an impossible process without a trademark. As dictionary.com defines, a trademark is “a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.”
The process will cost a few hundred dollars, and months to get approved. With your trademark, all you have to do is fill out Instagrams trademark infringement form, cite all the details on Instagram’s trademark policy and provide your trademark registration details.
With a trademark, it will not guarantee the username you asked for; it will just increase your chances. There are reports that through the process, Instagram was only able to provide a similar username.
2. Craft a new username
Don’t be lazy when choosing another username. It’s easy to add a period or a few numbers at the end of your username. But remember the fundamental’s of the perfect username outlined in this article. If you’re looking for perfection, it’ll take careful crafting, and a fair bit of ingenuity.
What are some tools and tips you used to create your username? Let us know down in the comments.