Instagram is a popular social media platform that you need to capitalize with approximately one billion active users. Unfortunately, with a billion users, securing your business username isn’t always the easiest.
To find your business handle, you’ll want to brainstorm unique name combinations of your brand without exceeding the 30-character limit. You won’t include any symbols or punctuation (outside of an underscore and period).
Finally, you’ll want to ensure that whatever username you pick for Instagram is available across all social media platforms. The last thing your customers want is a guessing game when trying to find your company accounts online. Once you have a few ideas, check Instagram name availability by entering them into the registration field.
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Finding out your username has been taken sucks, especially if the username is inactive. The definition of an inactive profile can be one of two things.
Either an individual or bot created the account, sitting empty (nothing is shared or posted to the profile), or the account was deleted or suspended. The good news? You can claim some inactive accounts, but they’ll take a bit of work.
For an inactive account that shows a profile without activity, you’ll have three choices. These options aren’t guaranteed to work, especially if users browse the platform but don’t feel comfortable sharing.
Instagram doesn’t care about inactive users (although they care about bot or spam accounts) as long as they’re using the platform. If you’d like to claim an inactive username, consider the following three methods.
Most inactive profiles will still have ways of contact, primarily through the direct messaging functionality. If you’re committed to a specific name, reach out to the account holder and offer to buy their username.
Make sure you have a price for the username in mind, as some can sell for as high as $10,000. If the owner doesn’t respond, try looking on other social media platforms for a similar username or profile name.
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While this approach won’t win you any friends, it can be effective if done correctly. Instagram offers a reporting functionality, the Username Claim Form, allowing users to submit usernames that infringe on their personal or company brand.
File the report, fill in your name and the profile in question, and plead your case. Wanting a username isn’t enough reason for filing a claim; you’ll want proof that their account directly impacts your business.
You’ll also want to have a few friends file the report on your behalf; the higher the number of claims, the more legitimate you appear.
Arguably the most anti-climactic method of claiming a username, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but wait out the account. Instagram will periodically purge any inactive accounts from the system, getting rid of spam or bot accounts, and other placeholder names.
If you’re patient, the username could become available in a few months (or after the next round of purging). Keep in mind; if that profile is used, it won’t be removed from the database.
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Holding off on your social media accounts can damage your brand’s visibility, especially in an online era. If other variations of your company name are available, it may make more sense to adjust the name.
Consider adding your domain suffix to the end of the username (for example, instead of MikesHats, use MikesHatsCom). The variation will still attract viewers without the headache of securing an inactive account.
Remember, the idea is to create a complete brand identity with your social media accounts. Having the same username across multiple platforms will help your company’s visibility. Increased visibility means more customers, more leads, and more sales and revenue long-term.
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