Let’s get your Instagram Profile working harder for you!
Your Instagram Profile
is the first thing people see when they visit your account. It’s the area at the top of your page where you can have your username, profile picture, name, business category, bio, links to webpages and action buttons. This is where people will come and decide if they’re interested in what you have to offer. Maybe they saw one of your posts or reels, or perhaps they noticed an interesting comment you left on someone else’s post. It’s your chance to make a great first impression, so it’s really important to get this area right. Keep it updated and use the 150 characters in your bio to tell people what you do, how you can help them, and how they can find out more.
Your Profile’s like a snapshot of your business or creative brand. It’s a place to showcase your brand personality, highlight your strengths, and give people a reason to follow you. Your profile needs to be fully up-to-date and easy to understand – people should be able to tell at a glance what you do and how you’ll help them. Use your bio to tell us in a nutshell (well, 150 characters) about your business or creative work, and make sure it’s clear and concise.
If you follow my tips, you’ll have a great profile that’ll do a lot of heavy lifting for you! Just be aware that some of these options are only available to Professional accounts and you need 100+ followers to switch to a Professional Account (which I highly recommend if you’re a business).
To add anything to your Profile, or to edit just tap on Edit Profile on your account. Then you’ll see the different fields.
or handle is the name that appears at the top of your Instagram profile, preceded by the @ symbol. It’s like your online identity, so it’s important to choose a handle that’s as close as possible to your business name. However, usernames are unique, a bit like a car registration, so if someone else has already taken your ideal handle, you may need to compromise and find an alternative. Ideally, your handle should be the same across all your social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok. This helps people find you more easily and reinforces your brand identity. If you can’t use the same handle on all platforms, don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world, but it’s preferable to be consistent wherever possible. I couldn’t get the same handle for my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
Your profile picture
is like a calling card that follows you around Instagram. It’s shown next to your username wherever you appear i.e. when you comment, reply to a comment, send a DM, or post anything on the platform. That means it’s important to choose a picture that’s bold and clear, so people can easily recognize you. If your business is just you use a head and shoulders shot of yourself (like I do). If you’re part of a team or a larger organization, use your logo. Make sure your profile picture is the same across all your social media to help people recognize you as they switch between platforms. If you’re using a headshot, make sure it’s well-lit, centred, and has an unfussy background that ties in with your brand. Choose a photo that will be relevant long-term, as it can be confusing for your audience if you keep updating it. Using a logo? Make sure it works well in a circle and that any wording is readable.
Your name section
is important because it’s searchable so it should be treated more like a keyword section than a name section. Avoid using the same words as your username/handle, as both areas can come up in searches. So repeating won’t help you increase your discoverability. Instead, use alternative words that describe what you do and think about what people might search for to find someone like you. It’s also a good idea to include your first name, as it helps people engage with you more easily. For example, I use “Anna, Social Media Trainer” to make it clear what I do and including my name encourages people to comment or DM me. Similarly my friend @portrayyourstory has “London Photographer Filmmaker – Saskia Albers”. You also have the option to add your pronouns if you’d like to.
The category section
helps people understand what sector you’re in and Instagram provides various options to choose from. Some people choose “Entrepreneur” as it gives them better music options on the platform, but it’s important to choose a category that accurately reflects what you do. If you choose to display your category, it will appear under your name section on your profile.
is where you have 150 characters to convince people to follow you. Make it short, sweet, and crystal clear what you do and what problem you solve. Use keywords and a language and tone that reflects your brand. Avoid using hashtags in your bio, as it can encourage people to click on them and end up on your competitors’ accounts. Emojis can help break up the text, but remember they’ll use up characters. If you’re a shop or café, consider including your opening hours, it’s really helpful for your audience. End your bio with a call to action, such as asking people to click on the links below your bio to visit important webpages.
You can edit your bio, so make sure you keep it fully relevant and up to date. If you have a temporary offer or important message, you can edit your bio temporarily. Take a screenshot of your “default” bio so you don’t need to start from scratch again when you want to revert to it. Or go to the three horizontal lines top right of your account, choose Your activity and then Account History to see all your historical account history and remind yourself of previous wording you used. Remember to include a call to action in your bio and update it regularly to keep it fresh and relevant. @portrayyourstory has edited her bio to show she’s currently on maternity leave, and includes a call to action to show us how we can still engage with her work – perfect!
The Location section
is especially important if your business has a physical presence. People can click on it and see your location on a map. Plus, it doesn’t use up any of your precious 150 characters in the bio! I work from home so I’ve included “London,” to give people a broad idea of where I am.
are a valuable addition to your bio, in fact this is the only place apart from Stories where you can include a clickable link in Instagram. Instagram now allows us to have up to 5 links. You don’t have to use them all, but it’s a great way to send people directly to the correct landing pages on your website, rather than just the home page. This saves people time and makes it easier for them to find what they need. You can also use the links to send people to other interesting webpages, such as another business you want to support. You can reorder the links and replace them when they become outdated.
The Contact and Action buttons
are located at the bottom of your profile. You can customize these buttons to suit your business needs. For example, I have Message and Contact (which are Contact options in Edit Profile). But you could have “Order Food,” “Book Now,” or “Reserve” (you need to have a contract with one of the designated Partners listed by Instagram) or “Lead Form.” These options are available under Action buttons in Edit Profile.
By clicking on Edit Profile and following these steps, you can create an Instagram profile that wows your audience. They’ll be clear on who you are, what you do, how you can help them, and how they can engage further with you, and hopefully buy from you! If you need any help with auditing and improving your profile, don’t hesitate to get in touch.