It's Easy to Change Your Instagram Username. But Should You?

Want to change your Instagram username?

Of all the social media platforms, Instagram makes this the easiest.

Perhaps you’re changing your business direction, as I am. Or maybe you’re able to get a name that matches what you have on other platforms.

Is it all fun-and-games, done it two seconds?

Not hardly. Here’s what to consider before changing.

Please read to the end so you know what to expect before deciding!

You’ll Change Your Instagram Username in All These Places

First off, if you’ve had your Instagram account for any length of time, and you’re active in promoting it, you’ve got that link posted in a lot of places.

I ran a search of my blog posts and was surprised to find over a dozen links.

I actually found a LOT over a dozen, but I had the same “howtographics” username on my Facebook page, so that showed up too. That’s a whole ‘nother (and more complicated) story — read about changing your Facebook username if you want to do that.

You’ve probably linked your Instagram account in at least one sidebar, header, or footer widget (I had 3).

If you’ve guest posted, consider whether you left links there, and if you can access them to make the change. The last thing you want is to impress that blog’s audience, then send them to a dead page!

If you’ve linked to Instagram from other social accounts, you’ll need to update those too.

You may have saved a Pin on Pinterest with a link to your Instagram profile — you can change the URL on the Pin (but it won’t populate to repins).

If you have a separate Instagram account, you might have dropped a link there. Or on your Twitter profile. Find ’em all!

Check your email signature, as well as any printed materials — business cards, brochures, anything else? These will need to be addressed 😉 first.

Will my old Instagram URL redirect to my new URL?

Is your account currently appearing on search engines like Google?

Your username inside Instagram will change (including old @mentions), but any URLs outside of the app will not redirect.

If they’re on your own website and social, follow the steps below. If others have linked to you, see if you can get them to update.

I don’t believe there’s a way to ask Google to reindex a page on a domain you don’t own. It may take time for search engines to discover the new account URL.

According to a reader:

I’ve noticed that changing your username somehow doesn’t update on google? As in, your new username won’t show up in search engines. At least for me?
 But I’ve only recently (these past 1–2 weeks) changed it, so it may be too soon…

Give it time. Since Instagram is a top-ranked domain, Google will eventually find your new account name / URL.

The more active your account is, the more likely Google will index it.

What about previous mentions of my username on Instagram?

In my experience, these changed to the new name. But everything on social media is subject to change at any moment.

A reader commented:

I have not found it to be true that old mentions change to your new username. I tried reinstalling the app, and it goes to a new account I created temporarily with the old username in attempt to redirect people to me new one. Does it take a certain amount of time?

Here’s the thing: if you create another account with the old username, it may never change! Now that the username exists again, what would be the reason for Instagram to redirect it?

If you have not reused the old username and are still seeing it on IG, I believe it’s because you’re seeing a cached version of the posts. You might ask a friend who hasn’t looked at your posts to tell you which name they see.

Can I reuse the Instagram username I want to change from?

I understand that I can change my profile name on IG, but I’m worried about the old name NOT becoming available immediately in order to use that name for my business pics and profile name. I’d be upset if I lost the name. Do you have any info as how long IG turns over lost names?

The answer is a definite maybe. Do not move forward with the change if you can’t lose that name.

Some previously-used usernames are never made available again. Keep the name if you want it!

If you decide to move forward, work on the things you can control — read on for the timeline.

Timeline for Changing Your Instagram Username

Now that you’ve figured out where you’ve placed your old username, it’s time to prepare.

Before investing time or money in the following steps, ensure that you have the option to change your username! Then proceed.

Most steps are optional and some may not apply to you. Use your best judgement. These are suggestions only.

  1. Printed materials? Get ready to order new ones ASAP.
  2. Post a heads-up on your Instagram account that you’ll be changing your name. Explain why. (I received such a positive response!) You might do this a couple times over a few days, at different times of day. You can remove these posts later if you like.
  3. Reach out to blogs where you’ve guest posted and request the change, if you don’t have admin privileges to do it yourself.
  4. Prepare an image to post on Instagram when you do the name change (and new logo/avatar if needed).
  5. Set aside one to several hours (depending on how much you need to change) to do steps 6 to 9 in quick succession.
  6. Open all the blog posts, widgets, and social media accounts that you need to change in separate tabs. Enter the change, but don’t save/update yet.
  7. Go into your Instagram profile and make the change.
  8. If needed, upload a new Instagram profile picture.
  9. Post your prepared image and inform your followers.
  10. Save all changes waiting from previous step.
  11. Change your email signature.
  12. If desired, inform followers on your other social accounts, blog, and email list of your change.

Pin the checklist as a reminder! (Then read on…)

Want to change your Instagram username? It's not difficult - but there may be surprises. Cover all your bases with this checklist. Read the blog post for the full scoop!

Here’s the Bummer You Didn’t Expect

I’m pretty sure that after I changed my username, Instagram somehow suppressed my posts. All I know is, my post likes dropped by more than 50%.

For example, I don’t think I’ve ever posted a graphic with a cat on it that got less than 100 likes. The one I posted a few days after the name change? 36 likes. Boo!

Or maybe my new username of LouiseMcom isn’t as intriguing as my previous?

Hopefully things will change as my new name builds credibility. I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: No worries, my likes are back up and I’m regularly getting over 100 likes on many of my posts.

But There IS Some Good News…

All the @mentions of your old username will switch to the new one. If you’re still seeing the old username, Instagram says it’s a caching issue:

If you edit your username and continue to see your old username within the app, you’re likely experiencing a caching issue. We cache certain images and text to make the app run faster.
Keep in mind that you’re the only person seeing your old, cached username. Eventually, your old username will be completely cleared out of our system. If you’d like the old username to disappear immediately, however, you can uninstall and reinstall the app to clear your cache. source

Will YOU Change Your Instagram Username?

Sometimes, you gotta do it. I think I would have, even if I’d known about the drop in likes.

My old name just didn’t suit me any more. While I DO provide graphics advice, I really wanted to move on — and changing that username was part of the process.

If you decide to do it, sooner is better than later. Just be prepared.

I’d love to hear if you’ve done it and what your results were! Please share any tips you’ve learned for changing your Instagram username.