Wondering how to change your Instagram name?
Instagram is one of the few social media platforms that makes something like that simple.
If you want to change your name, your username, or both, Instagram has you covered. After all, the title you chose for yourself five years ago might not be quite as relevant today.
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to update your identity. For instance, brands frequently change the direction of their business with a last-minute rebrand, and individuals grow out of titles like @JustinBeiberRules.
Whatever the reason for your decision, here’s what you need to know.
Your Instagram Name vs. the Instagram Username
When you set up your Instagram account for the first time, you’ll be asked to select a username. That’s the thing that comes after the @ symbol when people search for you on Instagram, and it’s also known as your “Instagram handle.”
Your username defines your account, and it can also determine whether you’re destined for greatness, or whether your profile fades into obscurity.
The URL for your Instagram account will be based on your username: http://Instagram.com/username. On the other hand, your “name,” is just the title that you put at the top of your bio.
For instance, @KimKardashian has her official Instagram name as Kim Kardashian West:
Both your Instagram name and your username will be necessary to your social media presence.
While your username is what people search for on Instagram, your name will be an essential component of your image. After all, it appears in bold underneath your profile photos.
Unlike your username, which is a single word, such as @CutePuppies, your Instagram name can take up 30 characters, including spaces. You can use virtually anything you like for your name, including your actual name, or your business title.
What Happens When You Change your Instagram Name or Username?
If you decide that you want to change your Instagram name, the only thing that changes is the title that appears under your profile picture. Your photo stream and all of your content will stay the same.
If you choose to change your @Username, your content remains the same, but the URL connected to your Instagram profile will change. Additionally, any @Mentions that you have in other people’s content will no longer link back to your account if they feature your old username.
That’s why switching a username is often a bit more complicated than just changing the name on your Instagram profile.
Should You Change your Instagram Username?
Unless you’re rebranding, or you absolutely need to change your handle, we’d advise keeping it the same for as long as possible. Altering your handle means that previous links and mentions will no longer lead to your account, leaving customers and followers at a dead end.
Additionally, suddenly switching your username out can lead to problems with brand recognition. If your users visit your account and see a username that they don’t recognize, they could question the validity of your account. They may also wonder whether you’ve been hacked.
On top of that, changing your username on Instagram also means that you need to change your handle everywhere else. This includes in your email newsletters, on your blog, on websites, in directories, and on any printed materials such as business cards, brochures and stationery.
The world of hassle that goes into changing a handle means it’s best to avoid it if you can.
How to Change your Instagram Name
Alternatively, changing your name on Instagram is far simpler.
People will still use the same @ handle to find you, and your mentions will continue to work.
Plus, figuring out how to change your Instagram name isn’t as complicated as it might seem.
You’ll follow the same process that you’d use to change your username, which starts with visiting the “Options” or “Settings” page on Instagram. Click on “Edit Profile” next to your Instagram profile picture on the iOS or Android app or click on the Gear icon to bring up your options.
This will take you to a page that showcases all of your profile details, including your username, your profile name, and your profile picture.
Tap on “Name” and delete whatever you’ve been using so far, then replace it with the name you want people to see displayed under your profile pic. When you’re happy, click on the “Done” button on your iPhone, or the “tick” icon in the top right-hand corner for Android.
Making the Most of your Instagram Identity
Figuring out how to change an Instagram name might not be difficult, but it’s not something you should be doing too often either. After all, you don’t want to confuse your followers when it comes to your identity. Additionally, an ever-changing name can make it difficult for you to gain traction for brand recognition and awareness.
However, you want to make sure that you’re making the most out of your Instagram identity from day one. Often the best thing you can do is choose both a username and an Instagram name that speaks to your audience. That means that when you sign up for Instagram, you pick something that is:
- Easy to remember: This will build familiarity with your audience and make it easier for people to search for you online.
- Relevant to your audience: Make sure that you’re choosing words that are going to resonate with your target market. Some quick hashtag research with a tool like Kenji.AI might be helpful here.
- Clean and simple: Avoid any random underscores, numbers, or other characters that are going to confuse your customers.
- Iconic: Keep it short street and straight to the point. Your username should ideally be the name of your business, or your own name. Alternatively, your Instagram name can be something that your customer associates with you. For instance, Ben Haggerty uses his real name as his Instagram title, but his stage name, Macklemore, for his handle:
Best Practices for Choosing your Instagram Username
You can always follow the instructions above on how to change your Instagram name without much hassle. Often, it’s more important to ensure that you’re picking the right handle from day one.
To improve your chances of selecting a username that you can hold onto for years to come, follow these steps:
Step 1: Know the Purpose of Your Instagram Account
When you decide to launch your Instagram identity, you’ll discover that there are 3 main types of account available, including:
- Business account: The kind of Instagram profile you’ll need if you’re running a store or trying to build a presence online for your brand. The objective of your name here will be to raise awareness for the company that you want to promote.
- Personal account: This is a profile that’s all about you. Since your account focuses on a person, your own name or something unique to you are both fine choices for a username. Consider something like @GaryVee – a version of your name, or @SimonSinek – your full name.
- Curation accounts: If you’re creating an Instagram profile so you can share content related to a specific topic, then it makes sense to choose a username related to your theme. For instance, a motivational profile might choose the username @InstagoodQuotes or @PositivePower
Step 2: Choose a Username that’s Related to your Audience and Content
Remember, your username should be something that your audience members are naturally drawn to. For instance, if the whole purpose of your Instagram profile is to attract people to your lipstick line use the word lipstick in your username. This can even apply if that word doesn’t appear in your business name.
For instance, if your company’s title is “Luscious,” you could try the username @LusciousLipsticks. That way, people searching for a makeup profile will know that they’re on the right track when they find you. Think about the kind of words you want people to associate with your brand.
For example, the curation account @Cute.Dog.World tells its audience exactly what to expect from the moment they read the profile handle.
Step 3: Do Your Research
You wouldn’t choose a business name without doing some research first.
The same applies to the handle you’re going to use on Instagram.
Above, we mentioned that you could use tools like Kenji.AI to see what kind of hashtags are trending in your industry. From there, make a list of the words that resonate with you, and the terms that you think might engage your audience.
Other ways you can do research include:
- Looking at the kind of usernames your competitors have chosen. There’s bound to be different brands and influencers like you out there. What kind of names and handles are they using?
- Evaluating your customer: Look at the profiles of people who fit your user personas on Instagram and see what kind of names they’ve chosen.
- Using Instagram name generators: There are dozens of automated tools online that can offer suggestions for the sort of Instagram handles that might be right for you. All you need to do is enter a few keywords and hit a button to generate ideas.
Remember, once you have a list of options to choose from, avoid picking anything that sounds too similar to what you can already find online. You want your username to stand out, so your audience doesn’t confuse you with someone else. Look at @Darling for instance, the username for Darling Media is clear, memorable, and unique:
Step 4: Keep All Names Simple
Finally, when it comes to both your username and your Instagram name, it’s essential to keep things simple. Remember that you’re limited with the number of characters you can use. What’s more, you don’t want to confuse the customers and followers that are trying to find you online.
For instance, if you choose the username @AwwCuteKittiez, your customers won’t necessarily know how many “w’s” they should include when searching for you. Additionally, they certainly won’t assume that “Kittiez” will end with a z instead of an s. To keep things simple:
- Avoid unnecessary misspelling
- Keep it short and sweet
- Avoid offensive language
- Stay away from punctuation and underscores
- Keep numbers out of your username
Testing your Instagram Identity
Creating a powerful identity on Instagram isn’t always as simple as it seems. Most people assume that all they need to do is pick a username and title at random, and they’re good to go. However, the truth is that the handle and names you choose could determine how people see you. If your Instagram name doesn’t look professional, then people won’t take you seriously. If your username isn’t easy to find, then you could miss out on crucial followers.
One piece of good news for people worried about their Instagram handles is that IG could be testing the opportunity to check on a new name in future updates. According to Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is looking at locking usernames for 14 days after someone switches their title to something new. This means that if you change your mind; you can switch back before anyone has a chance to steal your old handle.
It’s not sure whether this feature will officially roll out to everyone yet, however. With that in mind, when it comes to figuring out how to change your Instagram name, we recommend sticking to experimenting with just your title and not your handle.
Only ever change your username on Instagram once you know for sure that you’re ready to upgrade to something new. Additionally, once you do decide to make that change, ensure that you follow the tips we’ve outlined above to pick the kind of title that’s most likely to resonate with your audience.