Did you know that Instagram has more than 1 billion active users? With so many users on Instagram, it can be a little bit hard to find one particular person or business. So, just enter the Instagram handle.
Just think that a handle is an address to your Instagram page. People can also search it to find you. A great handle quickly identifies you while being memorable.
Here, we’ll show you how to search and change a handle, ideas for getting your great handle, and whether it deserves a place on your business card.
What’s an Instagram handle?
An Instagram handle is your Instagram username. It’s unique to you — meaning there is no one that can have the same handle as you.
You may feel confused about an Instagram handle and your Instagram name. However, they both serve different purposes. The biggest difference is that an Instagram handle is unique — once you choose it, no one else can take it. An Instagram name, however, can be the same amongst a lot of users.
An Instagram handle serves different purposes — first, it’s what people use to tag you in photos, videos, and stories. For example, HubSpot’s handle on Instagram is @HubSpot, and others can type to mention it in posts.
Second, it creates a link to your profile. If you change your handle, you also change the URL to your profile. So, remember that when you pick a new handle, you can’t switch back to your old one after 14 days.
How to Find an Instagram Handle
When you sign up for an Instagram account, you will be prompted to make a handle. While you can be creative while creating your handle, there are some rules you should follow:
- Your handle can be up to 30 characters
- It can only include letters, numbers, and periods
- It can’t include symbols or punctuation marks
- It needs to be unique
The most difficult task is the last one — and may take some trial-and-error. To help, here are some tips for you to start:
Instagram Handle Ideas
1. Keep it simple.
For businesses, a great rule is to keep it simple — usually by picking a handle with the name of your business. However, if your business name is unavailable, you should do some finessing.
For example, suppose you run a print shop, Mint Prints. The handle @MintPrints is the ideal choice. However, if it’s already claimed, you can alter it without changing its meaning. For instance, you could include your location (@MintPrintsBrooklyn) or a word that shows your business (@MintPrintsDesign).
Later, we’ll discuss more variations to try if your first-option handle is unavailable.
2. Relate the handle to your niche.
Whether you’re into fitness, photography, travel, dance, or art, a great tip for making a handle is to include words that relate to your niche. This also adds personality and interest to an otherwise static profile.
Take a look at the example below from food author Lizi Heaps:
3. Avoid using extra characters and symbols.
When a user performs an Instagram search, it pulls up a list of profiles with the most related handles. Therefore, including extra characters or symbols to your username could make it more difficult for others to find your profile.
Although handles have a 30-character limit, it’s better to keep it short. It’s hard to remember and search for long handles. For example, look at these handles, which one is easier to remember?
Option 1: @SophiasFoodBlog
Option 2: @SophiasFoodBlogNYC5746
4. Include “The” or “I’m” in front of your handle.
As we said above, sometimes your ideal Instagram handle has already been taken. Fortunately, there are different options you can try to create another one.
One variation is to include “The” in front of your handle. For example, Faire Plaisir, a vintage homeware company, uses the handle @TheFairePlaisir on Instagram. This minor modification helps the brand to still use its company name, which helps with discoverability.
Another variation is to include “I’m” in the front of your handle. For example, actor Angela Bassett has the handle @im.angelabassett. This modification is better for individual or personal accounts than businesses ones.
How to Change an Instagram Handle
Before picking a new Instagram handle, it is essential to understand what does and doesn’t change once you make the switch.
For one, your handle is the most important part of your profile’s URL. If someone bookmarks or saves a link to your profile with your old username, they will be redirected to a page that shows, “Sorry, this page isn’t available.” The same goes for every tagged post, comment, and “like” from your old username.
Also, if you link your Instagram handle in an email signature, blog post, website, or business card, it’s necessary to update this information — which can be a hassle.
If you’re starting to get cold feet about changing your handle, fear not — Instagram allows you to change it back within 14 days. That said, there are valid reasons for changing your handle, such as rebranding.
Follow these four steps to change your handle:
- Visit your profile and choose “Edit Profile.”
- Click on your username.
- Delete your old handle and type your new one.
- Choose “Done.”
After completing these steps, Instagram will automatically update your profile with your new handle.
Should I add my Instagram handle to my business card?
While social media was once a way to connect with friends and family, it now doubles as a networking tool. So much so, some professionals reserve a place on their business cards for their social media accounts.
But is this the greatest option for you or your brand? Here are some benefits:
- It builds and expands your network. Building your brand often goes with building your network. Putting your Instagram handle on your business card encourages prospects to search for and engage with you.
- It puts a face to the name. Providing your Instagram handle gives prospects an opportunity to know you beyond the surface-level details. Having an online presence is also essential to building trust and credibility.
- It provides an additional communication channel. Having social media info on your business card lets people know that you’re open to communicating in different ways and contexts.
Of course, you also run the risk of filling your card with too much information — which is why I recommend linking Instagram only if it’s a platform that you actively engage with.
Although picking an Instagram handle may feel like a minor detail, it’s a key component of your digital brand. And with millions of users on Instagram, it’s essential to pick one that’s searchable, memorable, and relevant to you.