There are over 2 billion monthly Instagram users worldwide. This image-based sharing platform is the perfect place for promoting your automotive industry business. Vehicle owners love taking and sharing pictures of their rides. Engaging with these people gives you a voice in the community and helps you develop and expand your brand’s recognition. However, before you can start engaging, you need to have a profile, which means choosing an Instagram handle. This step-by-step guide will help you set up your Instagram profile to reach your target audience.
What Is an Instagram Account Handle?
By now, most of us know what an Instagram (IG) handle is, but just in case, let’s start with the basics. Your IG handle is the name your business will go by when posting on the social media platform. It’s your username, and no other account on the platform will have your exact combination of letters and numbers for their name. This is the name that other people on the platform will use when tagging your profile in content. It’s what you will use to direct people to your profile. Instagram uses your handle when creating your profile’s unique URL.
Choosing the Right Handle For Your Instagram Business
Choosing the right name can influence your level of success on Instagram. Choose a name unrelated to your car business, or that is too difficult, and no one will ever find your profile. A name that’s hard to follow will make it harder for people to remember you. On the other hand, the wrong type of name can make the wrong first impression. You don’t want your Instagram account to make your business look unprofessional or like an amateur.
Instagram Name Rules
When you create your Instagram page, you will reach a page that prompts you to choose your Instagram username. There are a few rules you have to follow when considering name ideas.
- Don’t exceed 30 characters
- Only use numbers, letters, underscore, and periods.
- You cannot use punctuation or symbols
- It needs to be unique
While these rules seem simple, you will find that the last one is the most challenging. When you enter your chosen handle name, the app will tell you if it’s available or not. Names that are not available mean someone else has already created an account with that handle. You will need to choose something else.
A word of caution, the Instagram app likes to be helpful by providing suggestions of handle alternatives based on what you entered. They are almost always your text with a series of numbers after. Avoid these suggestions. They are less than ideal and will make your auto business look unprofessional.
Tips For Choosing Your Automotive Business Handle
There are a few approaches you can take when creating your business handle. The goal is to create a handle that’s easy to read and remember. It should make it easy for your audience to identify your business and not confuse it with others.
Keep It Simple
Seriously, stop over-thinking it. Some of the more simple handles are the most effective. The simplest solution is to choose a handle that reflects your business name. For example, Summit Racing chose the IG handle @summitracing or Speed Hunters chose @thespeedhunters. You would have no trouble finding either business profile on Instagram if all you knew were the company names. They also used their company logo as the profile picture, helping to reinforce their brand across multiple platforms. These business owners and influencers understand that these insta pages are a branding opportunity. So their Insta account matches the TikTok account, which matches any other business accounts and websites.
Describe Your Product or Service
If your business or dealership name is already taken, try using a phrase related to the product or service you are promoting. For example, Kevin McCauley is a photographer who takes pictures of cars. He chose the Instagram handle @capturingthemachine. It doesn’t specifically say his name or photography, but it does describe what he does. This is a good approach is you specialize in classic cars, new cars, or motorsports.
Avoid Unnecessary Characters
Just because you have a 30 character limit doesn’t mean you need to use them all. Don’t add unnecessary or extra characters to your IG handle. These extra characters can make your handle harder to decipher and read. It can also make your business look unprofessional and sloppy. There can also be bigger negative impacts. When someone uses the search feature, Instagram provides them with a list of the most relevant results. Having extra characters in your handle can fool Instagram into thinking that your business is irrelevant.
BMW is a logo but also contains three instantly recognizable letters. Some hashtags makes sense, like BMWUS, or BMWUK. If your configuration isn’t as easily decipherable, then consider a different name that car buyers will understand.
What to Do When Your Chosen Instagram Handle Is Taken
The frustration is real when you put in your chosen handle only to find that it’s taken. Now you are stuck back at square one brainstorming alternative options. Before you go too deep down the rabbit hole or given up and decide not to use Instagram, try these tricks for an easy alternative handle fix.
Add a Location
Adding a location to your handle can work in your favor if you are a local business. It helps to establish your presence in a particular area. You could follow the examples here where international brands added a country identifier to one of their handles. However, you can add any location identifier. It could be a country, state, county, city, municipality, or any other locally recognized geographical identifier. There are several Audi accounts that each feature cool cars from the manufacturer.
Add a Descriptor
Adding a descriptor can help people know what your business does while also giving you a unique handle. For example, it could describe the product, service, company, or account purpose.
Add an “official”
Even famous brands find themselves in a bind when someone claims their brand name before they can. Dodge and Hot Wheels found a way around it by simply adding the word “official” to the end of their brand name. It’s simple, to the point, and ensures people know which handle is the right one. It also ensures that people know where to go when looking for your official Instagram feed.
Add a “The”
If it makes sense, you could add a “the” to the beginning of your chosen handle; this can be a simple way of claiming your chosen handle. It’s a simple addition that will retain your company’s professionalism. It can also have a similar effect as adding the word official. Adding a “the” can create the impression that your account is the correct and official one.
Create an Instagram Handle For Your Automotive Business
There’s no better time than the present to create an Instagram account for your automotive business. Don’t overthink it, and keep your handle simple and memorable. You want people to be able to find your account quickly. If you find that your chosen handle is already taken, don’t fret. You can easily adjust it to be unique without losing effectiveness.