Instagram needs no introduction by any means. As one of the main social media platforms in the world, it’s become a mainstay for everyone from stay-at-home moms, to fitness buffs, to large brands looking to keep their customer base engaged, and really just about anyone in between.
You’re probably well familiar with Instagram by now, but in order to really drive home it’s significance in regards to the size of its massive user base, here are a few quick stats:
That’s certainly a lot of followers you can reach.
With that said, the main priority for the vast majority of Instagram users is to amass more followers. This can be for any number of reasons, whether it’s wanting the attention and engagement of a broader audience to build your brand, gaining enough followers to be considered an Influencer, or reaching more users to benefit your business.
Quality content and frequent posting is a large part of an effective followers-building strategy, but the actual username is where it all starts.
It’s the gateway to your account, mainly because your username is what’s used to discover and/or locate your profile. It’s a surface level summary of your brand and content before someone even views it, and also provides a large amount of sway as to whether a person will end up following you or not.
There really is no simplified formula that will magically come up with the ideal username for your profile out of the blue, but there are a number of steps to follow that can help ensure you have the best one when all is said and done.
The first thing you need to do is determine what type of account you have.
Personal - Personal accounts can be a mix of whatever you’d like, but the most effective and straightforward route to take is to simply use your actual name. If someone is doing a search for your profile, they’re going to use your full name first.
There are more than a few ways to utilize your name in your username. The easiest choice is to just go with your first and last name, such as @RobertJohnson. If you want to mix things up a little, you could do something like @RobJo, @RobertJ, @RobertJay, @RobertJo, etc.
Business - With a business account, you don’t have as much leeway. It’s always best to use the full business name if possible, and keep it consistent with your names on other social media platforms, in order to build continuance and familiarity.
This may not always be an option however, and some may want to be a little more adventurous. For instance, let’s say you run a gourmet dog treats business named Mutt’s Dog Treats, but a form of the name is either already taken, or you want to appeal to a broader audience who isn’t familiar with you yet. Some variations could include examples like @YourDogsFavoriteTreats, @TastyDogTreats, @Treats4Mutts, etc.
Curator - Curator accounts are often highly targeted in their content, and either create original content to post, or borrow from elsewhere -- as long as it stays within their brand and direction. A curator account is best when it has a self-explanatory username. Some great real-life examples include accounts such as @DailyInspiration, @BestQuotes, and @PowerofPositivity. There’s no ambiguity as to what content you’ll find with these usernames, and if you see them on a suggested follow list, they are much more enticing, because you know exactly what they are.
Instagram allows for up to 30 characters in a username, but that doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. In fact, you should use the least amount as possible. The shorter the name, the easier it is to remember it, and also easier to tell someone else by word of mouth.
This is incredibly important. Your Instagram profile name needs to be an indication of what type of content will be found there. If someone clicks on the username @EasyDietSecrets1234, and half of the feed is pictures of cute animals and funny memes, you’re either not going to get many followers period, or you’re going to quickly lose the ones you have.
This isn’t to say you can’t have a stray post or two every now and then, but if your content isn’t reflective of the name, you’re not going to gain and retain followers.
Another good way to ensure a username that’s reflective of your planned content is to research the keywords associated with it. For instance, if you have an Instagram profile dedicated to things like off-roading in Jeeps and camping, a quick research of hashtags and keywords would reveal “4x4” and “outdoors.”
Based off this, a great username would be something like @4x4sandOutdoors. You get two hashtags in your username, and a name that instantly conveys what it’s about. If someone has been looking at pictures of Jeeps and popular camping destinations, and they see that username as a suggested follow, there’s a pretty high chance they’re going to click that follow button.
There’s always the temptation to make a similar name of an account that has thousands of followers and hope for someone to follow you instead, but don’t do it. It may work to an extent initially, but it won’t sustain long term. Always aim for a name that will set you apart, while still staying within the parameters mentioned above.
There’s certainly more than just creating the right username to gain followers on Instagram, but it all starts there. With just a little research and the proper approach, you’ll be well on your way to building that follower list with each post. Good luck!