What to do when your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest or Instagram name’s taken

Find the best domain or username for your brand

So you are ready to begin your journey into social media and internet stardom. All you need now is the right username, your name perhaps, on Facebook, Twitter or one of the other social networks to be associated with you as you grow, however…

learn more about instamate and instagram followers

After filling out your account information, you find that your social handle has already been taken by an unknown unknown whose page looks as dry as the dessert and you know you can do much, much more with that username if only it were yours.


The original name I wanted was taken :(
The original name I wanted was taken 🙁


*** Of course I’m talking about names that have not been trademarked. Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks do have policies in place for trademark infringements, but you might not be reading this if you were in that situation. You would have searched for something like, “How to protect my trademarked name on social media” or “Reporting someone who’s violating, infringing on my trademark.” or something like along those line. ***


Facebook trademark policy

Twitter trademark policy


Even celebrities have to work around this problem like @TaylorSwift13, Demi Lovato @ddlovato, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s @TheReal_Jlh or Kevin Hart’s @KevinHart4real.


Okay, you try and get creative by typing in different variations of the same name only to find that those have also been taken (╯︵╰,)

What do you do?

Well look no further because I have some solutions for that. Let’s GO!


Ways to Get That Desired Username

Before I give you all the different solutions, below in a few easy to follow steps, to avoid this from happening again or simply remedy this solution, it is important to know WHY this happens in the first place.

Any Tom, Dick and Harry can make a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or WhatsApp page in a matter of seconds. Facebook has, as of this blog article, 1,71billion active users, WhatsApp 500 million, Instagram 200 million (stats from here) now can you imagine the number of INACTIVE users? Just thinking about it is quite astonishing.


Let’s continue…


One Brand, One Name

 John Chow (top blogger) said jokingly with some hint of truth, before his daughter was born, he Googled her name to check if that domain was available before giving her that name.


This means it would be wise for you to search for your desired username on multiple social media networks before finally deciding on a name.


Ok, I can hear you saying to yourself grumpily “all social media networks!?” Don’t worry though, there are many websites you can use to find out whether a username has been taken or not. Here’s just one of them: https://namechk.com/


Unfortunately, this kind of website only shows you if your username is available or not. You are not able to reserve or get usernames that have already been taken.


You also need to factor in that some networks only allow short profile usernames which means if you have a long username or domain name it won’t work elsewhere.


One name per brand is essential because your audience will search for you with that name for example if you have the domain name www. jasonking.com/, people will search for that name on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr etc. This means you should think carefully about using a username that has been taken by someone else on one of the major social media platforms.


A good way to make sure you have a name that hasn’t been taken is to be unique and to think out of the box (but not too crazy that no one can remember it) here are some names of brands that are memorable and unique:


American Apparel


Ashley Madison


Best Buy



DC (Detective Comics)





House of Cards






Louis Vuitton





Ocean’s Eleven

Oracle Corporation




Queens of the Stone Age

Rolling Stones


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Toys R Us



Victoria Secret


Warner Brothers








Be Proactive

We all know the saying, “First come, first served” and this applies to getting that username you want.  Be quick and don’t over think it otherwise someone else is going to purchase it and try to resell it to you at a higher price. There is no problem with this but it’s best to get it while it is cheap. Those who are proactive get to first choice.


*Remember you can always change the username, get a new one or even resell it if it is sought after. Many people make a living of buying and selling domain names to people who were slow in getting them, so as you can imagine a lot of the good names especially the single word names are gone. (BUT!!! there is still hope – keep reading)*


How to Get Your Name from Inactive Users

Here is a scenario you might be able to relate to. You’ve come up with the perfect username but you find that the user has been inactive for quite some time maybe only using it once years ago.

Here is what Chris Hodgeman, General Manager of MavSocial shared:

“We had a situation for @MavSocial where it was already taken but the current owner had only used it once along time ago. We therefore registered @mav_social and started using that and also applied to twitter to release the @mavsocial name since it wasn’t being used. About 6 months later twitter granted our request and gave us @mavsocial – all our followers were automatically transferred over.”

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram etc. have millions of inactive users, duplicate and fake accounts so be sure to check their inactive account policy before giving up.

While their official policy does state that they can only help out those with registered trademarks, it may not hurt to ask.


Creative Username Variations

 Add tag words

A simple, creative way to have the name you want is by adding a tag word to your name. These work best at the beginning of the name you want but sometimes they could also work at the end. Here are a list of tag words you add to your username I, I am, my, the, official, 4real, real, actually, being. 

Below are a few examples of these tag words being used by some of the top Twitter accounts:

Hrithik Roshan @iHrithik

Sean Diddy Combs  @iamdiddy

Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow

Niall Horan @NiallOfficial

Kevin Hart @KevinHart4real

Donald J. Trump  @realDonaldTrump

Neil Patrick Harris @ActuallyNPH

Salman Khan  @BeingSalmanKhan


Use Initials

By using your initials you separate yourself from the other people who have the same name as you. For example adding the initial, first letter, of your middle name you increase the chance of that username being free e.g. J.K.Rowling.


Christina Aguilera @xtina

Demi Lovato @ddlovato

Jennifer Lopez @JLo

J.K. Rowling  @jk_rowling

CNN Breaking News  @cnnbrk



How about just using the first letters of the name you’d like? Many companies do this already with their brands and the abbreviated name has become more known than the companies name. Here are some examples NHK, BBC, NBA, ESPN, Uniqlo, H&M etc. Below are a few companies with HUGE followers on Twitter and Facebook.


ESPN @espn


BBC News (World) @BBCWorld


Use underscore

The underscore or the dash is an effective way to get the name you want without having to be creative for example you could even take popular names like Harry Potter, John Smith etc. and turn them into usernames like: @Harry_Potter or @Harry-Potter, @John_Smith or @John-Smith simply by adding one of two lines.

You will have to check with the network you are using to make sure you are not infringing on anyone’s trademark.

Here are some examples of Twitter accounts with massive followers:

Aamir Khan @aamir_khan

Harry Styles. @Harry_Styles

Louis Tomlinson @Louis_Tomlinson

Ricky Martin @ricky_martin


Explain what you do

If you are in a specific industry e.g. SEO, Marketing, Writing, Mechanic you can always add your name and your profession to make the ultimate username ever wuwahahaha. It’s quite simple really and works well because you can use this with companies you work with or for. You can even combine the other tips with this to make a super, ultimate username.

The benefits of this are quite plentiful but in a nutshell you are telling the customer or reader what you do before they have even clicked on your page.


Here are a couple of examples of big companies that have adopted this technique:

Global Times @globaltimesnews

Apple Music  @AppleMusic



Add your location

This one is by far my favourite because you are telling the person of interest in you where you are from without the hassle of having to ask. This is also a good way to build relationships locally and expand your brand awareness in that area.



PMO India  @PMOIndia

Stephen Colbert  @StephenAtHome

قناة الجزيرة  @AJArabic


Add a number

Just like adding an underline or dash to a name and getting that name you wanted, another way to make sure you get your desired username is by adding a number. Choose any number you want but don’t make it too long, remember you are also going to have to memorise that username too. Go with something simple like 2.0 or 1 or whatever you can also spell the number using the alphabet letter instead of just hitting the number in the keyboard.


Here are some of the top Twitter accounts that have numbers in them.


Taylor Swift @taylorswift13

Craig Bowman @craigab1

John Bishop @JohnBishop100


Shorten your name

Some social network sites have a limited number of characters you can use e.g. Twitter with only 15 characters, so you are going to have to find creative ways to shorten your username.


You might have to sacrifice some letters in your name in order to get that username to be available. Instead of Robert use Rob, instead of Daniel or Danny use Dan, instead of Rachel use Rach, you’ve got the idea.


Below are a few twitter account users that have applied this technique:


BBC Breaking News @BBCBreaking

Leonardo DiCaprio @LeoDiCaprio

Emma Watson @EmWatson

Username character limit

  • Facebook: 50
  • Twitter: 15
  • Instagram: 30
  • Tumblr: 32

Referenced from here: Click here


Use your full name

“When everyone zigs, you to zag” This was one of the tag lines used in a Levis 1982 advert created by an ad agency in the UK called BBH London.


So far we have looked at many ways to get a username but at a cost. We have had to cut the name, add numbers, use underline or dash but…what if we did the complete opposite. What if we went with a long username, our full name?

Yes that’s right what if we spelt out our full name including the middle part too. You can see from the stats above that most of the big social networking sites give you A LOT of character space to play with when choosing a username; it is only twitter that limits you to 15 characters.

Let’s be honest, it is unlikely you are going to be able to master ALL of these sites at once so why not go for the sites that allow long usernames first and then worry about the ones that restrict your username.

By the time you get to these sites and have spent most of your time building a huge following through your blog, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn you will have enough followers that you can name yourself anything on Twitter and still have lots of engaged followers who can find you.

I know I mentioned earlier to shorten your name but if your name is not very common then go for it. Here are some examples:

Kendall @KendallJenner

Barack Obama @BarackObama


Use a nickname

If sure by now you have got some great ideas written down or burning in the back of your mind. But wait because I’ve still got a few more techniques to help you.

Let’s go for it and share our nickname with the world. A network/online marketer by the name Jeremy Schoemaker got the nickname “Shoemoney” through his need to want to make money and sell.

Check this out Ashton Kutcher doesn’t even use his name on Twitter, he uses this Ashton kutcher @aplusk.

Write flip the order of your name

This one is simple, all the sites don’t care about the name order you chose since it is done automatically and through zeros and ones in the computer. The program isn’t going to say to you a username is not available because you are changing the order of the name and trying to claim it as your own.

So start flipping. Write your surname first and then your first name. This should increase your chances of finding a username that you want and like.

Emma Roberts  @RobertsEmma


Domain Name Branding

If so you are going to L.O.V.E this one! I actually saw one of my mentors using this, John Chow. John’s facebook page is: Facebook.com/johnchowdotcom. He actually uses his domain, website name as his username. The reason here is to make sure his website is the brand and not Facebook, which is just a medium to spread the word. He said your website is where people should be spending their time not Facebook or other social media. When you write long articles and post them on Facebook people are going to read the article on Facebook and Facebook is going to get ALL the benefits from your hard work so why not use Facebook as it was originally meant for; pictures and bitesize alerts while keeping your website with the meaty and juicy so readers want to come back.

(username) + dotcom

(username) + dotorg

(username) + dotnet


Even FIFA does it with their Twitter account (FIFA.com  @FIFAcom).





About Adé Falohun 60 Articles
I'm an advertising and brand communications graduate, a head teacher of an international school in Asia, an events organizer for foreign nationals and locals, SEO and internet marketing guy.


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