What Does Your Instagram Handle Really Mean?

As an avid Instagram user, you’ve likely spent time considering what to use as your handle, that short username that identifies your account. While y… As an avid Instagram user, you’ve likely spent time considering what to use as your handle, that short username that identifies your account. While yo…

As an avid Instagram user, you’ve likely spent time considering what to use as your handle, that short username that identifies your account.

While you may have chosen it simply based on availability or personal preference, your Instagram handle can actually reveal more about you than you realize.

The choices we make in crafting our online identities, even small ones, provide a glimpse into how we want to portray ourselves to the world.

Your Instagram handle is no exception.

In this article, we will explore some of the psychological motivations behind the handles people choose and what those choices reflect about users’ aspirations, values, and interests.

You may gain a new perspective on your own handle and those of people you follow.

The next time you come across an Instagram account, consider looking beyond the photos and captions—the meaning is often in the name.

The Importance of Your Instagram Handle

Your Instagram handle serves as your username and profile web address, allowing others to find and connect with you.

Choosing a memorable yet meaningful handle is an important first step to building your Instagram presence.

Your Instagram handle is one of the first things people notice about your profile, so make it count.

A good handle should:

  1. Reflect your brand or interests.

    If you're promoting a business, use its name or a variation.

    For personal use, choose a handle related to your name, hobbies or lifestyle.

  2. Be unique and easy to remember.

    A short, catchy handle with no numbers or special characters works best.

    Check to make sure your desired handle isn't already taken.

  3. Leave room for change.

    While you want a handle that will last, interests and brands can evolve.

    Choose something relatively timeless in case you need to rebrand in the future.

Your Instagram handle sets the tone for your profile and acts as your social media calling card.

Put some thought into choosing a handle you genuinely like and that fits with how you want to portray yourself on Instagram.

A memorable, meaningful handle can help you gain more followers and engagement over the long run.

With some creativity and patience finding an available handle, you can choose a username for your Instagram profile that is unique to you and aligns with your personal brand or business goals.

Your ideal Instagram handle is out there, you just have to discover it.

How to Choose an Instagram Handle That Suits Your Brand

When choosing an Instagram handle, select one that aligns with your brand and is easy for followers to remember.

An Instagram handle, or username, is an important part of your social media branding and can influence how people perceive your account.

Keep it Simple

A simple, straightforward handle is easiest for people to remember and search for.

Avoid obscure references or inside jokes in favor of something simple and intuitive.

For example, a bakery could use “thecookiekitchen” rather than “sweettreatsecrets”.

Be Consistent Across Platforms

Use the same handle across multiple social networks when possible.

This makes you more searchable and helps avoid confusion for followers and potential customers.

For example, a fashion brand could use “fabulousfashions” on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Include Keywords

Incorporate important keywords, especially your brand or business name.

For example, a wedding photographer could use “smithweddingphotography”.

This helps people searching for your brand, products, or services easily find your account.

Check Availability

Review whether your desired handle is available before getting too attached to it.

The more simple and brand-aligned it is, the more likely it is already taken.

Be willing to get creative by adding an underscore, dash or extra word.

For example, “thecookiekitchen” could become “the_cookie_kitchen” or “theoriginalcookiekitchen”.

Consider Future Goals

Think about how you want to expand in the future.

A very niche handle like “seattlecoffeeroasters” could limit your ability to promote an eventual expansion into other cities or products.

Something more general like “northwestcoffeeco” provides room for growth.

With a carefully chosen Instagram handle, you'll make a great first impression on new followers and set your brand up for social media success.

Put in the thought required to select one that is both memorable and meaningful.

Tips for Creating a Memorable Instagram Handle

Creating an memorable Instagram handle is an important first step to establishing your presence on the platform.

Your handle acts as your unique username and profile URL, so choose wisely.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Keep it short and simple

Aim for a handle that is 3 to 15 characters in length, with a mix of letters and numbers.

Shorter handles are easier to remember and take up less space when displayed on your profile.

Simple handles without strange spellings or excessive punctuation also tend to appear more professional.

Make it relevant

Choose a handle that relates to your brand, business, or interests in some way.

If you are promoting a company, use the name or an abbreviation of the name.

For a personal account, use your own name or initials.

Relevant handles allow followers to instantly understand what your account is about.

Check for availability

Once you come up with a few options, check to see if the handles are available on Instagram.

The handle you want may already be taken, so you'll need to try different variations or combinations until you find one that's available.

Using a handle that's already in use could result in issues down the line.

Consider your future goals

Think about how you envision your Instagram account growing and evolving over time.

Choose a handle that will remain relevant even if your content or business changes.

A handle that's too specific may seem outdated if your account takes a new direction.

Generic but memorable handles provide more flexibility.

Be consistent across platforms

For the best brand experience, use the same handle on Instagram as you do on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

This makes it easy for people to connect with you on multiple platforms, and presents a unified social media presence.

Consistency is key.

With some thought and planning, you can develop an Instagram handle that is memorable, meaningful, and helps further your goals on the platform.

Keep these tips in mind and you'll be well on your way to crafting the perfect handle for your brand.

Common Instagram Handle Trends and What They Mean

The social media platform Instagram has become hugely popular, with over 1 billion monthly active users sharing photos and short videos.

Your Instagram handle, or username, is how people find you and can reveal details about your interests or personal brand.

Here are some of the common Instagram handle trends and what they might signify:


Handles that include a city, state or country name, e.g.

@chicagofoodie or @parisianstyle.

These signify that the account owner and content are based in or focused on that specific location.

Location-based handles are popular for travel, food and style influencers.

Niche Interest

Handles that reflect a particular passion or hobby, e.g.

@coffee_connoisseur or @sneaker_head.

These types of handles suggest that the account owner has a keen interest in that topic and likely posts content related to it.

Followers with the same interests will connect with these niche handles.

Business or Brand

Handles that match an existing company, product or service name, e.g.

@nike or @cocacola.

Large brands, small businesses and influencers will often use their business or brand name in their Instagram handle to build recognition and connect with their audience.

Full Name

Handles that simply use the account owner’s real name, e.g.

@john_smith or @jane_doe.

While not very creative, full name handles are easy to remember and help to establish an authentic personal brand on Instagram.

However, more unique handles tend to gain more traction.

Made-Up Word or Phrase

Handles with an invented word, catchphrase or pun, e.g.

@wanderlust or @thehappyhustle.

These types of creative handles help accounts stand out, are highly memorable and can become iconic.

They work well for building a curated brand on Instagram.

The meaning behind common Instagram handle trends provides insight into the account owner, their content and what they aim to convey to their followers.

Choosing a handle that aligns with your goals on the platform is an important first step to finding your voice and building your brand.

Mistakes to Avoid When Picking Your Instagram Handle

When choosing an Instagram handle, it's important to avoid common mistakes that could reflect poorly on your personal brand or business.

Your handle is the first thing people see when they find your profile, so make it meaningful.

Avoid numbers or random letters

Using a jumble of numbers, letters and symbols will make your handle hard to remember and share.

Opt for an actual word or phrase instead.

For example, @john_smith_photography is better than @j5m1thph0t0.

Steer clear of offensive or inappropriate language

Your handle should be family-friendly and inoffensive.

Avoid profanity, slurs or suggestive language.

For a business, this is especially important to maintain a professional image.

Don’t be too vague or broad

A handle like @photos or @traveler is too broad and won’t uniquely represent you or your brand.

Choose a name that is more specific to your account theme or personal interests.

@john_landscape_photography or @jane_travels_europe are good examples.

Avoid impersonation

Do not choose a handle that could confuse people or imply you represent a celebrity, public figure or brand that you have no official connection to.

This is considered impersonation and could get your account banned.

Keep it consistent

The handle you choose should match the username you have on other platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

This makes it easier for people to find and follow you across social media.

If possible, use the same profile photo on multiple platforms as well for a cohesive personal brand.

In summary, put thought into your Instagram handle and avoid mistakes that could reflect poorly on your image or cause issues down the road.

A meaningful, appropriate and consistent handle is the foundation for building your social media presence and engaging with your target audience.


What's in a name? When it comes to Instagram, your handle is your identity.

It's what others see when they come across your profile, so choose wisely.

Your Instagram handle should reflect your brand, interests, and personality.

It's a chance to make a memorable first digital impression.

Think of your handle as an extension of yourself rather than just a random sequence of numbers and letters.

Put in the effort to pick something clever and meaningful.You'll be happier with it in the long run, and your followers will appreciate the extra thought you put into crafting your online persona.

Your Instagram handle says a lot about who you are, so make sure it says something you want the world to know.

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