Changing Your Instagram Username or Handle: It’s More Complicated Than You Think

August 29, 2018

Thinking of switching up your Instagram username? Think again. In 2018, the mark of a successful business is a booming social media presence, specifically IG. Your handle is the first thing consumers see when they connect with you, and can make a huge impact. Memorable handles can drive traffic to your brand, so it’s important to establish your handle early on.

Major business changes, such as altering the name of your brand or merging with another company, can mean considerable overhauls of your social media — including your handles. Whether you’re rebranding, handling a PR crisis, or simply just want to update your brand, there are a lot of reasons why brands change their handles.

However, it’s important to know the consequences of changing your Instagram handle.

Why You Want To Avoid Changing Your Instagram Username or Handle

Any posts you’re mentioned or tagged in will no longer lead to your account, leaving potential consumers at a dead end.

Another problem is simple recognition; if users see a handle they don’t recognize, they rethink why they followed you in the first place. This often comes with a “trial period” where they evaluate your feed again, unfollowing you if your next few posts aren’t expressly interesting to them. There’s no need to lose followers just because you’ve changed your handle!

Additionally, changing your username on Instagram means changing your handle everywhere. Any print materials such as brochures, business cards, stationery, etc. will need to be updated. You also have to change any linked accounts, social media, and emails that have your old handle, as well as informing anyone who interacts with your Instagram. That can cost a lot of time and money for something as simple as an IG username.

How To Pick A New Username, And Never Have To Change It Again.

However, let’s say after all of that, you decide to update your Instagram. Here’s how to make sure your new handle is one that lasts:

  1. Stay true to you. Your Instagram handle should accurately reflect your brand and values, or your followers will get confused. Rebranding is always an option, but requires a much larger change than just your IG handle! It’s essential to know exactly what your brand is before taking on social media.
  2. Keep it simple. People use Instagram for the pictures, and don’t remember handles that are too long. You’ll be easily forgotten, and people won’t search for you if they can’t remember your handle.
  3. Avoid using numbers. We’ve all seen the accounts with a random name followed by too many numbers, and we know they’re spam. You don’t want that to be you! Unless the numbers are directly related to your name, leave them out. You’ll be swept up in the wave of spam and bots that are routinely ignored. If the numbers are really important, save them for your bio.
  4. Try not to repeat letters next to each other. If your name is something like Anna Arnold, for example, you might use @annaarnold as your handle, because the alliteration sounds nice. However, since Instagram is a visual medium, what matters is that the repeated letters are confusing to read. It’s a simple fix, maybe using an underscore (@anna_arnold) or using an easily remembered nickname (@annabanana) instead.

There’s an endless variety of ways to make sure your Instagram succeeds, but a well-crafted handle is the best way to start. You should know your brand before you start up social media, and if you don’t, we’re here to help. If you’re rebranding, you’ll need a plan to let your audience know of a name change — and we have experience building that strategy, as well. Email to schedule your first consultation!

  • Lakshman Family

    I had not realized previously the ‘stickiness’ of a handle! This article gives me very useful insights into simple considerations that would make thee name/ handle more ‘sustainable’! Thank you. brief, and concise!