Five Tips for a Better Instagram Bio
The best Instagram profiles have a few things in common, including easily identifiable usernames, a recognizable profile picture, a steady stream of Instagram stories and photos, an informative yet delightful bio, a link to a relevant landing page or campaign and more. - Hubspot
TIP ONE: Your profile picture is more important than you think.
Your profile picture is one of the deciding factors for whether or not people view your profile or click that "follow" button.
It is important that you have a clear picture that looks professional and suits your aesthetic. If you have a clear logo that can be recognized when it is a teeny tiny little circle, by all means use your logo. However, for creatives that are known as themselves and not their "brand identity" I do recommend using a picture of yourself. People want to see the individual behind the account, and using a good profile picture is a great way to invite them in. My profile picture has a picture of myself in front of a mural I painted. The photo is clear, and it flows with my overall aesthetic. Keep in mind, as well, that your profile picture should stay consistent across platforms (e.g. Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok). This way, if people are looking for your elsewhere online they'll easily find you!
Bonus tip: Keep in mind that the minimum profile picture size for Instagram is 110 x 110 pixels. Try to stay close to this if you're creating a profile picture in Canva or another creative platform. Using a photo or image that is too low or too high (eg. trying to use a high resolution photo) could result in your profile picture being blurry or warped. For the best results, open up a new 200x200 pixel canvas in Canva and drop the image you plan on using in it, then save as a PNG image. Keep in mind, as well, that Instagram my default will crop your image to a circle to ensure that whatever you want to be seen will still be within the bounds of the circle.
TIP TWO: Your bio is important. Use clear language + let people know exactly how you can serve them.
Love dogs and coffee? Cool. But what does that have to do with the fact that you sell the most amazing XYZ our there? Be clear with what you offer so people know exactly why they should follow you at a glance.
Your bio, like your profile picture, is one of the first things visitors will see if they visit your Instagram profile. It provides you with 150 characters in which you can sell yourself and let your audience know exactly who you are. When you're writing your Instagram (or Facebook, or Pinterest) bio here are a few things to keep in mind. First, keep in mind the formatting. You only have 150 characters to let people know who you are and what you offer so make it count. This means leave out information that ins't relevant to your account (for me, this is where I'm from, where I went to school, that I have another part-time job, that I'm married and love to drink coffee and cuddle up with a good book, etc.). Perhaps having two instagram accounts is ideal for you - an account for your creative business and an account for your personal life. When I started sharing my art online, I started sharing a few things here and there on my personal account but quickly realized the best way to move forward was with a separate account devoted just to my art. People shopping for floral illustrations or looking to DIY a wall mural aren't necessarily the same people that want to see cute pictures of my babies, and I'm cool with that.
Here are a few basic details you might consider using: Name / Company name.
Tagline or business details.
Share what you offer or the value you bring to the platform.
Share a call to action.
Share your unique hashtag.
A fun fact that makes you stand apart.
A smart bio link (More below. I use a Milkshake smart bio because it is very customizable and can be designed to match your website / Instagram profile, etc. It is almost like a mini website that visitors can scroll through. A free version is available and has a lot of great features. 10/10 recommend trying this smart bio out! *not sponsored).
TIP THREE: Use a smart bio link.
At the very least, you should be utilizing the link option to provide your followers with more content created by you. For example, you can link to your online shop, facebook group, blog, etc. However, using a smart bio allows you to provide your followers with several different link options all from one place so they don't have to search for what they're looking for.
A smart bio is a dynamic link generated for you by a hosting site (such as LinkTree, Campsite, or Milkshake). What makes these links unique is that instead of just directing your followers to ONE site, they allow you to customize your content so there can be several clickable links. For example, I use Milkshake to host my smart bio link. When you click on the link in my profile, instead of it just directing to my website, where people can then search around to find my blog or links to other webpages, a page comes up with all my links laid out clearly for people to easily navigate to where they want to go. They can see my blog, Skillshare, Pinterest, online store - and I even have direct links to my products that are sold in outside stores such as Minted and InkBox.
TIP FOUR: Consider your "top nine".
This tip could also be called "use only your best photos". Sure, it seems obvious. But have you ever went to post, looked at a photo and thought, "Hmm, not the greatest but it'll do!" Or maybe you forgot to post and rushed to put something up in your feed even though it didn't quite work with your most recent grid. We've all done it. But here's the thing:
You should think about the most recent (or top) six to nine photos in your feed as an extension of your profile and a really easy way to optimize your bio. It is what people will see immediately if they click on your bio, and what determines whether they stay to scroll or move on. Instead of rushing to post or posting pictures because you don't have anything else ready, take the time each week to consider what you want to post and the aesthetics of your photos as a whole grid of nine. Take a peek at an example from my Instagram Feed below:
TIP FIVE: Edit each post within the same aesthetic + make sure they're high-quality photos.
High quality and aesthetically pleasing photos are a huge part of an optimized Instagram profile. When people visit your profile they'll see the top several most recent photos in your feed on their screen. These photos play a big factor in whether or not that person follows you or not. If you don't have anything beautiful (motivational, inspiring, informative, etc.) to post, don't post anything at all.
There are several things that you'll want to consider when choosing what photos to post on Instagram. As you get more familiar with the platform and what your followers want to see, this will start to come more naturally to you. But when you're starting out or consciously trying to improve your feed, always consider the following:
Is this photo relevant and interesting?
Is this high-quality?
Is it edited within my aesthetic?
Relevant and interesting photos: Your viewers follow you for a reason. Maybe you share amazing healthy food tips, maybe you're a mom-blogger sharing photos of your lifestyle + family. Consider what your audience expects to see as well as what you think will interest them.
Not sure? Take a look at your analytics page in instagram and check out which posts perform the best. For me, I've noticed several trends in the photos that perform well for me (e.g. 2000-10,000k "likes" and lots of engagement) versus photos that don't perform as well (less than 500 "likes" and not as much engagement).
For me specifically, the posts that do best are photos that are close-up of my drawings, include my hands, are of a mural or project in progress, and unique art creations.
High-quality photos: By this, I don't mean you have to fork out thousands on a top-of-the-line camera. Modern cell phones have such amazing cameras that this certainly isn't necessary. Most of my content is shot on my iPhone and edited in Lightroom. High-quality photos are photos that are clear, shot in good lighting, edited in an outside app to fit your aesthetic, cropped well, and take advantage of some basic principles and elements of art like balance, emphasis, symmetry, perspective line etc. For a really great beginner article on how to take good photos with your smartphone check out this link.
Your unique aesthetic: Try to keep each photo you post within the same aesthetic you've created within your feed. Do you use bold, vibrant colours? Lots of text-heavy posts? Neutral, "beige" edits? Make sure your photos fit within the parameters you've set. In my feed, I post a lot of neutral or blush-toned photos. I don't share anything with colours that are too bright or vibrant as it doesn't fit with my overall earthy, natural with a hint of boho-vibe. I edit all my photos in the Adobe app Lightroom BEFORE I ever put them into Instagram. I have some specific tweaks that I like to make to my photos before posting, usually lowering the cool tones, adding a slight tone "s-curve" to elevate the black lines in my drawings and increase the brightness slightly. I also have a preset filter that I add to most of my photos that gives them a slightly warm, soft blush look. Take a look at a few before-and-after photos below:
So there you have it - five easy ways to build a better and more noticable Instagram profile. Have any other ideas or questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below :)