There are a few important steps to take to make sure your Instagram profile is optimised.
Remember, if someone visits your profile, you have just a few seconds to convince them to follow you. Spending just a little bit of time to get your profile up-to-scratch will help you attract and retain followers.
Here’s an overview of your Instagram profile.
1. Your Username
Your username is the name that will appear at the top of your posts, and beside any comments you make. If you are sharing your username, you place an @ symbol before it eg @kogmarketing. (NB This is different to a hashtag).
When you are tagging yourself or anyone else in an Instagram post, placing the @ symbol before the username turns it into a clickable link that will take the person clicking it through to the profile in question. (eg @kogmarketing).
Your username should be consistent with your other social media profiles wherever possible.
So if you are @xyzrestaurant on Twitter, you should also be @xyzrestaurant on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but aim to get as close to consistent as you can – that way your audience will recognise you easily across all platforms.
(Tip: If you are starting a new business, get the same username across all social media – even those you don’t intend to use yet. That way you’ll have them secured for if/when you are ready to use them).
When choosing your username, aim for something that will be easily associated with your business, and communicates what you are all about. As part of your audience building strategy you will be liking and commenting on other pages. If your username clearly shows what you do or the type of business you are in, people will be more likely to check out your profile.
So while @suna might be a good name for Brisbane shoe business Suna Shoes, @sunashoes is better, as it immediately lets people know what they’re all about.
While I could have used @kog as my username, @kogmarketing better represents my business.
2. Your Account Name
This is the name that appears on your profile (separate to your @username). Along with your username, this account name is searchable. So when choosing your username, think about the keywords that people would use to search for your business, or a business in your industry.
For example, if a lot of your business is word-of-mouth, and people are likely to be searching you by your name, include that in your Account Name. If people are likely to be searching for you by job title or specialty (eg Graphic Designer or Hairdresser – or even more specific Brisbane Hairdresser) then include that in your account name.
You have about 30 characters.
3. Your Bio (Profile Description)
Your bio gives you 150 characters to grab the visitor’s attention and interest. Use it to highlight your point of difference, let people know a bit about you and your business and let them know what to expect from your Instagram account. Inject some personality into the description.
The layout of the profile is paragraph text by default, but you can design it to have a vertical layout and use emojis. On iPhones this doesn’t work directly within Instagram, but you can go to your Notes App, create your profile description using emojis and line breaks, then copy the full description and paste it into Instagram.
The website in your profile is the only active link on Instagram. (The links in your posts and comments are not clickable). Make the most of this valuable link by making sure it links to a relevant page on your website. Perhaps it’s your home page, or perhaps you can create an Instagram landing page that is very visually focused and talks directly to your Instagram audience.
If you are promoting specific blog posts, products or promotions on your Instagram feed, use your Profile link to direct people to the specific page – don’t rely on them searching your website once they land on your home page.
You can change your link out as often as needed.
5. Your Profile Picture
Make sure your profile picture is easily recognisable and represents your business and brand well. Always bear in mind that the picture appears as a very small icon in the Instagram feed, and so needs to be clear. Photos taken from far away do not work well.
6. Your Posts as a Gallery
One last check to do, especially if you have been using Instagram for a while, is to have a look at your posts in the Gallery format and assess what message you’re communicating.
Go to your Profile and click on the Gallery rather than single image view. Scroll through, looking at your feed through the eyes of your audience. What is it saying about you?
When you’re posting individual images, it’s possible to lose sight of the overall message or story you’re trying to communicate. By looking at your Instagram posts as a whole you get a ‘big picture’ view and can make sure you’re communicating consistently and effectively. If there are any images that just don’t fit, you can delete them.
Your Profile Optimisation Checklist
- Make sure your username is as recognisable and representative of your business as possible.
- Optimise Your Account Name.
- Improve your Bio – make sure it grabs attention and lets people know what you’re all about.
- Look at your Profile Picture in the news feed and make sure it is clear and easily recognisable.
- Make sure your profile link is directed to a relevant page on your website.
- Take a look at your “Gallery” of images to make sure it’s representing your brand well.