Although Instagram marketing is far from an exact science, there are a series of steps you can take to maximize your chances of developing a large following and going viral. Before you get to creating top-quality content and engaging with your audience, the very first thing to get right is the username - a crucial element that many would-be influencers tend to underappreciate.
A unique username will make you stand out
Instagram popularity is all about being unique – offering your followers something no one else can and letting your individuality and personality shine. Your username is the first thing most users will notice, so you naturally want it to indicate you’re unusual, creative, and worth checking out.
On a practical level, a unique username will also ensure that audiences won’t confuse your profile with those of others. If you make your username too similar to another existing account, you may be giving free traffic away to the owner of the other username. For example, if your chosen username is ‘fashionpics’, but a profile named ‘fashionpic’ already exists, you’ll need to come up with something more creative.
Short usernames are easy to remember
In addition to being unique, the perfect Instagram username should also be as short as possible. The simple reason behind this is that short usernames are much easier to remember, so returning visitors to your profile won’t have any trouble finding you again.
Short – and therefore memorable – usernames also spread more easily through recommendations and the so-called word of mouth. If one of your followers tells their friends about your account, a short username will be easier for them to recall.
If coming up with a unique and short internet handle that’s relevant to your brand sounds easy, think again. With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is a heavily populated platform, so coming up with an available username that ticks all the boxes requires immense creativity and resourcefulness. Keep in mind that an expert PR agency will be able to help you define your brand and register or purchase the ideal Instagram username.
Easy to spell means easy to find
Once you’ve come up with a few possible usernames that may fit the bill, consider them from the perspective of spelling. The first factor to look at is the potential for followers misspelling your username. Keep in mind that even commonly used words such as ‘definitely’ or ‘separate’ are commonly misspelled.
Secondly, check whether any of the words in your username have different spellings in UK and U.S. English. For instance, the word ‘traveler’ is spelled with one L in the U.S. and two Ls (traveller) in the UK.
The smaller the potential for spelling mistakes, the larger the chances that users will find you without a problem and distinguish your profile from others with similar usernames.
Available on multiple platforms + domain
Last but not least, the ideal Instagram username needs to be unique enough not only to be available on Instagram, but also on other platforms that you’re going to be using for branding purposes. Forward-thinking influencers and entrepreneurs will pick an Instagram username that’s also available on Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media, as well as a suitable domain (website address). It’s advisable to go a step further and simultaneously register accounts under the same username on all available platforms even if you’re not going to use them immediately. This will help you take charge of your branding and prevent someone else from using your Instagram username on other platforms.
Getting it right from the start
Where possible, it’s much better to choose an ideal username from the beginning and then just stick with it. Temporary usernames or ones that you’re not altogether happy with and plan on changing in the future are not a good idea.
The main reason behind this is that by changing your username mid-campaign or after achieving some level of recognition on Instagram, you’ll inadvertently lose a fraction of your popularity, as you’ll make yourself more difficult to find for returning visitors.
You’ll also need to re-brand all of your other official social media, like Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, to suit your new Instagram username and ensure your branding is uniform and coherent across all platforms.
That being said, the old adage ‘better late than never’ fully applies here – if you find your current Instagram username could do with improving, the sooner you change it, the better. Enlisting the help of an expert PR agency is highly advisable, as PR professionals will be able to help you come up with the ideal username and ensure the re-branding transition is as smooth as possible.