With over a billion users – 500,000 of them influencers – active on Instagram, creating a new account with an original username is becoming increasingly difficult. While it might be tempting to take the first available and more-or-less relevant phrase you hit upon, the effort of obtaining a rare username is a much more profitable option in the long run.
Originality is key
An original, rare Instagram username implies creativity, professionalism, and well-thought out branding. Every brand – be it a company, a freelance professional, or an influencer – strives for originality. A unique Instagram handle implies a unique service or personality behind the brand.
For this reason, your Instagram username can’t be a slightly-twisted duplicate of an existing handle. When a chosen username is already taken, it’s common for people to go ahead and use it anyway, adding a number (usually 1), a plural version (e.g. magicvideo altered to magicvideos), or a synonymous word or phrase (e.g. vintageclothes altered to vintageclothing).
Not only does this practice make your brand look unoriginal and commonplace, it also makes it harder for people to find you. Not everyone will remember whether that profile they heard of or liked was named ‘vintageclothes’ or ‘vintageclothing’. Ideally, you want to be the only Instagram account with the username.
Short and simple
Rare Instagram usernames are almost always going to be short. There are several benefits to owning a simple Instagram username – this is why the four- and five-letter handles are in highest demand. They’re easy to remember, easy to spell, original, and by necessity, creative: finding a one-word handle that’s both available and relevant to your brand is going to take an incredible amount of imagination.
Long usernames are more common and easier to secure, but that’s where their advantages end – they come with several drawbacks. Firstly, they’re more difficult to remember. For obvious reasons, a one-word username will naturally be more memorable and easier to recall than a three-word handle.
Usernames with multiple words are also harder to read. Furthermore, as the length increases, so does the risk of spelling mistakes when people try to search for your profile. Let’s take the handle ‘anethusiastictraveler’ as an example. It takes several moments to read and understand it. On top of that, the word ‘enthusiastic’ is not among the most commonly used and therefore not easy to remember. Lastly, the word ‘traveler’ has two correct spellings – in British English, it’s spelled with two Ls, ‘traveller’, and in American English with one L.
Make it easy to find you
If you have a professional Instagram, you want your profile to be found. As we’ve already seen, short, simple, memorable words with as little scope for spelling issues as possible are the way to go.
Searchability is also another reason why twisting an existing username is not a good idea. Say the username you’d ideally like to have is urbanphotography – but the handle’s already taken, so you opt for urbanphotography1, or urban.photography. Not only does this make your profile appear unoriginal, as we’ve already mentioned, but it also means that you’re making yourself much harder to find.
Chances are, if someone searches for urbanphotography, they’ll end up on the profile of urbanphotography – not your urbanphotography1. Consequently, rather than driving traffic to your own page, you’ll be generating interest for someone else.
Making yourself easier to find also involves consistency – both on Instagram and across your other platforms. Changing your username on Instagram multiple times will cost you significant amounts of traffic, which is why it’s incredibly important that your choice of handle is a thought out and measured decision. Similarly, you want your Instagram username to be the same as your Twitter, TikTok, and other social media accounts for consistent branding. Opting for a unique Instagram handle will mean that you have a rare username ready to use on other platforms.
Owning a rare Instagram username is also something of an investment. Not everyone is aware that there is a roaring trade in unique, short handles – though this shouldn’t really be surprising, given the increased amount of traffic they’ll drive to the profile and their other advantages.
Rare Instagram handles – known as OG usernames – are be sold for hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Complete Instagram profiles with an existing following and brand are in equal demand, selling for even higher prices. Therefore, a rare Instagram username is not only beneficial as you’re building your online presence, but can also be sold for a profit at a later date.