By Liz Coffman
Picking the right Instagram name is the number one most important thing a user can do.
Your Instagram username sets the stage for what your page is about. It’s what makes your page memorable, discoverable and attractive. What’s more, the perception of what type of IG account you have — ie. Personal, business, fan page, etc.— is defined by which type of Instagram username you choose.
If you aren’t sure how to come up with an Instagram name, this article has everything you need to know.
I’m going to dive into the different type of Instagram usernames you can choose, how to create the right name depending on your IG goals, and how to ensure your new IG name will bring in followers, be discoverable and help your account grow.
Let’s get started!
What is an Instagram Handle?
At this point you may be asking yourself, “Ok so, what’s the difference between an Instagram name and an Instagram username? And what is an Instagram handle?”
All three words are generally used to describe the exact same thing. An Instagram handle is always written as your username with an “@” before it. Your Instagram handle is essentially the name you choose to represent the URL address of your Instagram page.
To find your Instagram handle, go to your main profile page on any browser. The name displayed at the end of the URL is your Instagram handle. For more clarification, see the photo below. Riotly Social Media’s handle has an arrow pointing to it:
As you can see, Riotly’s Instagram handle is the same as its username/name, shown circled in the photo above (@riotlysocialmedia).
In summary, Instagram usernames, Instagram names, and Instagram handles are all the exact same thing.
The Four Main Types of Instagram Usernames
Before you begin brainstorming your new Instagram username, you must identify your main goals. Are you promoting a product? Growing a business? Trying to make it as an Influencer? Or are you trying to create a huge following by sharing viral photos of cute puppies?
Instagram usernames are what users look at to identify what type of page you have, as well as what you’re posting about. Let’s look at a few options:
Instagram Usernames for Personal Profiles
Instagram usernames that depict a personal profile are similar to what Instagram may generate for you based on your name. Some examples are @Stacy123, @John_Doe, etc. I recommend using this type of username only if you plan to use Instagram solely to connect with friends and family.
A personal profile Instagram username helps your family and friends easily identify who you are. This way, when you follow someone or like a photo, there is a better chance they will recognize who is engaging with their content. Moreover, using a variation of your real name as an Instagram username makes it easier for friends and family to discover you.
Instagram Usernames for Influencers
An Instagram Influencer is an IG user with a larger than average following, usually in the 1,000-10,000 range. Many users aspire to be influencers in order to leverage their follower-base to make money on Instagram.
That being said, not all Influencers are looking to make money. Either way, to be an influencer means to have a dedicated following of people who look up to you as a trusted social media persona.
Crafting the perfect Instagram username as an influencer is all about defining who you are and what makes you unique. For example, if you are a travel blogger, consider using one of the following templates:
Template #1: Who you are + a clever, but clear description of what you do.
Here are a few examples of Instagram usernames using this template:
@johnnyjet: Johnny Jet is a “money-saving travel expert” who has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top Ten Travel Influencers. This username is clever, memorable and clearly describes what his page is all about.
@adventurouskate: Kate McCulley is also on Forbe’s list of the Top 10 Travel Influencers. Her username is also easy to remember and succinctly descriptive.
Template #2: Use a popular phrase associated with your travels. This template is perfect for growing your Instagram because it allows your profile to be easily discovered.
Here’s a great example:
@bucketlistjourney: Annette White is an Influencer in the travel blogger sphere of Instagram. What makes this particular username so great is the discoverability. A lot of people interested in travel will likely use the #bucketlist hashtag or search this phrase online. And when they do, Annette’s profile will most likely show up.
Instagram Usernames for Business
If you are creating an Instagram account for your business, it’s important to make sure that your Instagram username includes the company name or a description of your product or service.
Let’s take a look at an example of a great business Instagram username:
@izzywheels: Izzy Wheels is a company created by sisters Izzy and Ailbhe. They sell designer wheel covers for wheelchairs, “transforming wheelchairs into works of art.” Their username is the name of their company, plain and simple.
It’s also the name of their website. Here are some reasons why using company names for Instagram usernames is beneficial:
1. Users can easily find your website by inputting your IG handle into Google.
2. This works the other way as well. Users can easily find your Instagram page by inputting your website name + “Instagram” into Google.
3. You can create branded hashtags such as #izzywheels to promote user-generated content and call attention to your company.
Important Note: If you have a business model in place or a product ready to sell, but haven’t picked a name for your company, WAIT. The worst thing you can do is create a page for your business with a temporary IG name. Here’s why:
Let’s say you start gaining followers with the temporary Instagram username. When you’ve finally decided on a company name, you will inevitably have to replace the temporary username with the permanent one. This could result in a loss of followers and loss of business momentum.
Don’t create your account until you are absolutely sure about your Instagram username.
Instagram Usernames for Community/Themed Profiles
What do I mean by a Community/Themed profile? Essentially, it’s an Instagram account dedicated to one specific type of content. It could be a collection of other users’ photos you’ve gotten permission to share, all original photos or a mixture.
For example, @pitbullsuniverse is a community-based Instagram account for pit bull lovers. Every photo on their Instagram page is dedicated to showcasing adorable, loving pit bulls. (And who wouldn’t want to see those?)
@mydogiscutest is another community/themed profile featuring photos of adorable dogs, and nothing else. And yes, anyone can submit a photo of their own dog to be featured.
If you’re looking to create one of these community or themed Instagram accounts, the most effective method for choosing an Instagram username is to very literally describe what you wish to showcase.
No need to get clever here, just think about the exact phrase someone might search if they’re looking for photos of pit bulls. The challenge for these types of Instagram usernames is finding something that isn’t already taken. If you run into this issue, try different variations of the same name.
For example, if “@cutepuppies” is taken, try using “@cutelittlepuppies” or “@cutestpuppies.”
And remember, don’t give up! If may seem daunting to find an Instagram username that isn’t already taken, but you can do it!
The Guide for Creating Instagram Usernames that will Drive Traffic
Let’s take a moment to recap. We have gone over the importance of choosing the right Instagram username and the various types of Instagram usernames —including templates and examples. For crafting the perfect Instagram usernames, follow this guide:
Step 1: What are your goals? Once you identify what it is you want to achieve, choosing the right type of Instagram username will be easy.
Step 2: Choose a template to craft your Instagram username around. Trust me, templates are key to brainstorming ideas, and a lot easier than trying to think of a complete username at random.
Step 3: Create a list. Instead of choosing the first idea that pops into your head and regretting it later, brainstorm and list out multiple options. You might end up combining two different ideas into one name, or come up with something you may not have put together off the cuff.
Here’s a key step that a lot of people forget: Write your ideas for Instagram usernames down on paper. Better yet, type it out. Make sure the name you chose is easily legible in all lowercase, all uppercase, or a variation. Instagram handles will automatically displace in lowercase, so keep that in mind.
A long Instagram username or phrase may not make sense at first glance. Let’s take a look at an example what I mean:
Let’s say a couple of Influencers want to create an Instagram account where they review products. In this scenario, they already have a website called “What We’re Excited About,” so they decide to make it their Instagram username. However, watch what happens when you type that name out as it would appear on Instagram:
Remember, you can’t include apostrophes in Instagram usernames, so choose your contractions wisely. Not only is this username confusing without the proper punctuation, but it also looks like an incoherent jumble of letters.
A lot of vowels or similarly shaped letters back to back can make Instagram usernames harder to read or easy to misspell. When in doubt, write it out!
What to do next:
Now that you have the formula for creating the perfect Instagram username, it’s time to put your page out there for everyone to see (and follow).
Once you’ve chosen a username, the best way to grow your account is to find and engage with your target audience. By identifying the right Instagram users to engage with, you double your chances of gaining a new follower and more likes.
This can be a very time consuming and often tedious task, but that’s what we’re here for! Riotly Social Media can help you grow your Instagram account organically by working with you one on one to identify your target audience, and then interacting with them on your behalf.
Try our Free Trial today to unlock your account’s potential.
By Liz Coffman
Liz Coffman is the Head of Content Marketing for Riotly Social Media. Riotly Social Media is a service that helps quality brands grow their Instagram organically. Their services are safe, authentic and 100% Instagram compliant. For detailed information on exactly how Riotly Social Media works, this Youtube video has everything you need to know.