How long do you spending looking at an Instagram profile before deciding to follow the account? For most Instagram users, that decision is made in less than one second.
Less. Than. One. Second.
If ever there were a social media outlet to be concerned about making a good first impression…Instagram is it.
Because of the way an Instagram account presents itself, everything users need lives right at the top of the profile and can be glanced without ever scrolling or clicking.
In that Less-Than-a-Second, users are making a “To Follow or Not To Follow” decision based on three things:
1. Your Instagram Profile
2. Your Followers and Following Numbers
3. The Initial Impression of Your Content
Easily the quickest to fix out of the three is your Instagram profile.
While some thing will vary slightly depending on your business or your brand, there are 5 key things that a business or blog Instagram account should always have:
5 Things an Instagram Profile Should Always Include for Bloggers and Businesses
1. What You Do
Are you a mama blogger? Photographer? Fitness and wellness coach? Make sure it’s in your Instagram profile so users know!
Pro Tip: Consider putting what you do in the “Name” section of your Instagram profile instead of in the bio. This allows it to show up right under your username on lists, making it a little more inticing for a user to check out your profile or follow you on the spot.
Let’s look at a few examples below.
My Instagram account is the top one listed in each image below (withkidsandcoffee).
You’ll notice that my username (withkidsandcoffee) stays the same in each picture, but I’ve altered the name line, which is directly underneath the username.
A lot of times the instinctive thing to enter when you see “Name” is…well…your name. I’ve done this in Example #1 below:
Or, since you’re a blog or business, your instinct could be to put the blog or business name, which I’ve done below in Example #2:
The problem with both of these is not that they’re “wrong”. If this were the Instagram account of Oprah Winfrey, you would probably want to put “Oprah Winfrey” in that name box. If this were an Instagram account for Netflix, you would want to put “Netflix”. But if you’re a smaller business or blog and you’re not quite a household name just yet…you’re missing a huge opportunity to make your name pop out a little on a list of Instagram users.
So let’s take a look at what I did in Example 3:
I put a very short description (characters are super limited in the name line) of what I do right in the “Name” line, followed by my first name, Kaity. I like to keep my first name in there so that 1. It reminds everyone that I’m a real human and not just another cold, silent “business” account, and 2. It makes it super easy for brands who want to collaborate to reach out to me without having to awkwardly start the correspondence with something general like, “Hello, there!”
Here’s what it looks like on my actual profile:
Bottom line: the name section doesn’t have to literally be your name. Use it to your advantage.
2. Where You Are
No, this does not mean put your home address in your Instagram profile. Don’t do that.
Stick to cities, states, regions, countries—whatever works best for your brand and makes sense to your reader.
For example, if you live in Semi Valley, California, you could list your location in one of the following formats:
-Semi Valley, CA
-Los Angeles (the nearest major city and close enough for a Semi Valley resident to claim as their own)
-Los Angeles, CA
The one way I wouldn’t list the city in this case is just plain “Semi Valley” because “Semi Valley” isn’t well-known to most of the general population unless you’re familiar with the LA area or are obsessed with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Use your best judgement and go with a place that folks are familiar with.
In my case, I used “Atlanta, GA” with a little peach emoji:
Whether or not you use emojis and how many you use depends on your brand, personal preference, and current Instagram trends.
Remember, Instagram is all about the authenticity, and users are far more likely to engage and follow someone whose profile includes a location. This is especially important if your business has a physical location (a coffeehouse, for example). It’s incredible how many businesses don’t include this. Make sure you’re not one of them.
3. A Touch of (Professional-ish) Personality
The “personality” in the bio section of your Instagram profile will vary greatly from brand to brand, and will almost certainly evolve and change over time.
That’s 100% okay.
The profile should be edited as your brand comes into it’s own, as well as to keep with current aesthetic trends on Instagram.
For me, the “personality” comes in with a little bit about myself, since, as a blogger, I’m really the face and personality of my brand. I picked a short list of things about myself that I feel would be most interesting to my audience (I’m a mom of two children, I’m obsessed with coffee, I love road trip traveling, and I’m a progressive-minded individual), and then I put them into easy-to-understand-at-a-glance format, as you can see here:
I chose to use emojis because they help each item “pop” a bit. It’s also currently acceptably on-trend to use emojis in your profile if it fits your brand.
In my case, it works because most parenting and travel bloggers currently use emojis, so by using them myself, I’m appealing to what potential followers are accustomed to glancing for on a profile.
If I were writing something else, a fashion blog, for example, my emoji use may look a little different, or not used at all, as that’s currently what a lot of fashion accounts are doing.
Always look over some top accounts in your genre and look for trends if you’re unsure. When in doubt, less is more.
4. A Way To Contact You
I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend include an email address in your Instagram bio.
Each and every brand that has reached out to me for a collaboration has contacted me via email (as opposed to Direct Messaging on Instagram).
If you’re using Instagram for Business, you can enter your email address and an “Email” button will show up just below your Instagram Profile.
If you’re not, just put it in the body of your profile with an appropriate call to action for using it (e.g. “Email or DM for Collabs”) like I did below:
5. A Link to Your Business
This can be a link to your website, blog, Etsy shop…wherever your business is happening, make sure your Instagram crowd can get to it.
It’s super easy because…there’s a box for that! Remember that whatever you put in this box is the only clickable link that you get on Instagram, so be smart about what you’re using it for and when.
So there you have it! 5 simple things that you can tweak to make sure your Instagram profile is helping you out the way it should. Happy Gramming!