Ah, the all-important Instagram bio. If you’re saying, “Wait, what?”, then you’re not alone. In the predominantly visual medium of Instagram, the text-based bio is easy to ignore.
But first, a quick intro: Your Instagram bio is that oft-overlooked stretch of text beneath or beside your profile, where you share some key information about your brand. If you’re like many brands, you may think of your bio as a minor concern, or even a throwaway, when it comes to your Instagram account.
But, you’d be wrong.
Your Instagram bio has power. Done well, it not only helps new users find you, but also tells a lot about your brand and inspires further interactions (ex. purchases). In other words, while your visuals are the most important part of your Instagram account, your bio is the cornerstone: without a good one, your Instagram simply isn’t working as well as it should.
Done well, your Instagram bio will tell what you do and why that matters. It’ll show off your brand personality. What’s more, a good bio will make it easy for Instagram users to find you, prompt people to take action, and convert visitors to followers.
Your bio packs serious power. Here’s how to make it work for you:
Switch to an instagram for business account
If you’re looking to build your business or brand on Instagram, then you’re going to need an Instagram for Business account. Making the switch grants you access to analytics, insights, and other data that can help drive and direct your decisions. In other words, Instagram for Business is an absolute must, if you’re on Instagram for business. Makes sense, right?
Choose the right business category
Once you switch over to an Instagram for Business account, you’ll be prompted to choose a Business category. What you should know is, if your Instagram account is linked to your Facebook Page, your Facebook business category will carry over to Instagram. You can change it, though, if you’d like; options range from Events and Local Business, to Public Person or a Blog. You’ll find a category that suits you.
Include your logo (if applicable)
You probably worked very hard to create a logo that felt just right for your brand. Well, now’s your chance to showcase it! Ensure consistency throughout your online presence by keeping your logo (especially your thumbnail logo) the same across your social accounts.
Make yourself easy to contact
You know how important it is to make your brand easy to contact; it’s no different on Instagram. One of the first tweaks to make to your Instagram for Business profile is to add your contact information: phone, email address, hours, and location. These will be displayed below your bio as a CTA button – a huge boon to your business account.
When it comes to your Instagram account, you’ll almost certainly want to tell the world a little about yourself. Of course, how you describe yourself depends a lot on you, your industry, and your brand personality but, one unifying truth holds true: describe yourself, and do it well. Take Queen Latifah, for instance: Actor/Rapper/Singer/Producer – now you know; she’s more than an actor!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying too hard to make your brand “Instagram-worthy.” Of course – and as this guide demonstrates – there are some must-dos and should-dos in your Instagram personality but at the end of the day, the most important component of your bio is to be yourself. Have personality. Whether that means showcasing your sense of humor or empowering your customers, if you do it elsewhere, do it on Instagram, too.
Get straight to the point
Sometimes, we marketers get caught up in creating a catchy, trendy bio. And sometimes, that works. But other times, there’s no crime in getting straight to the point, in plain language. Take The Wing, which states simply, “[we are] a network of work & community spaces designed for women.” You know, immediately, who they are and what they do. And there’s beauty in that.
Don’t make ‘em guess
As a marketer, you know – one of the most important components in any marketing piece, is making sure your value proposition is clear. Likewise, when it comes to your Instagram bio, always answer the basics. Be obvious. Don’t ever make users guess on what you do (= wedding flowers), what makes you different (= worldwide), and why that matters to your audience (= I’ll teach you, no matter where you are).
Answer the question, “why should I care?”
Another marketing practice, alive and at work: Always, ALWAYS answer the question, “Why should anyone care?” If your bio does but one thing, then may it explain who you are, what you do, and who you serve. Remember, unless you’re a massive brand or public figure, then your Instagram profile will be the first interaction many people have with your brand.
Embrace the space
That’s about as clear as we can be: Let your bio breathe a bit! Give each element its own line. Space it out. Because, even though you’re limited in bio formatting, you can use whitespace to your advantage. It’s more than about being on trend; this is about making your bio more readable, especially on this predominantly mobile platform.
Keep it succinct
While we’re on the topic of your bio, your bio should default to concise. You won’t have users’ attention for long ; while you have it, make your bio work for you. Concise, punchy, even punny copy – whatever you need to do to answer, “why should I care?” in the fewest words possible. KISS, friends.
Make every word count
Your Instagram bio is a funny medium: Though Instagram is a predominantly visual medium, your bio is almost entirely text based. It’s a fun dichotomy, if you play it well – and play it well, you must, with only 150 characters at your disposal. So, choose wisely. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it (= embrace your brand voice), and then rewrite it until you’re happy with it. Make every one of your ~25 words matter.
Do your best with formatting
Admittedly, Instagram doesn’t give you much flexibility in formatting your bio. That said, there are a few things you can do to improve readability, including keeping one idea per line, inserting a few key emojis/symbols for visual differentiation, and carefully placing hashtags for optimal viewing.
Keep it scannable
You know what makes a good first impression? A bio that’s easy to read – one that instantly says, “This is what I’m all about.” And, while we’re talking about formatting, it’s a great time to say that one of the best ways to keep your messaging clear is to make your bio scannable: Instead of big blocks of content, keep your descriptions to short, easy-to-read focus points, as in the example above.
Incorporate your tagline
Optimize your bio for search
There are only two ways you can influence your appearance in search – your username and your name. Often, you’ll see a format that goes something like BizName (username) and Biz Name (name). If your business name is popular enough to be searched, or naturally keyword rich, then stick with convention.
Add action buttons
If we’re talking about must-haves for your Instagram bio, there’s no better start than with action buttons. Action buttons are exactly what they sound like – call-to-action buttons below your bio – and they work to direct people to your intended action/outcome. On Instagram, these CTAs are particularly useful because they are front and center, and because they are so visually distinct from all other sections of your bio.
Choose a link that counts
You get ONE link, and one link only in your Instagram bio: Use it well! The most common way to do this is to link to your homepage but, you should know – and we’ll discuss throughout this guide – that there’s more than one kind of link that can work well in your bio. (There’s also more than one way to sneak in additional links. Hang in there!)
Do more with that “one link”
In this example from Tattly, the brand, which cuts in its artists on profits, switches up its one link to promote various artists. What we mean by this is, instead of linking to their homepage or other self-promotional content, they in turn link to one of their artists – self-promotional, at the end of the day (because they’d like you purchase that artist’s tats through their site), but much more interesting than the standard homepage link.
Tip: You could also link to a link curation page, company blog, landing/sign-up page, event registration, product launch, or other content of interest.
Have you ever seen the “Shop” action button on Instagram? This is a great way to integrate more business into your Instagram – and to help people locate the products they fall in lust with, in photos – and is pretty simple: Just enable Shopping on Instagram and then, begin tagging your product images with product tags. As a bonus, once you’ve tagged multiple products, they’ll appear in a collection that users can conveniently shop. Use this power wisely, and only tag images that are well staged and aesthetically pleasing !
Make it clear you’re official
If you’re in the position of having an official-of-some-sort Instagram account, then place that front and center. Note, this is not a consideration only for big brands of the Louis Vuitton variety: If your brand could be confused with similarly named accounts, or if your leaders and/or employees incorporate your business name into theirs, then labeling your official account is a good practice to follow. (This can also help you get verified, too.)
Master the call-to-action (CTA)
It’s not enough to simply enable action buttons; you must absolutely master the Instagram call-to-action, if you want to cut through the clutter and incentivize people to click. (Because, getting them to click away from Instagram is no easy task.) A good, no-nonsense way to do this is to be direct : Invite them to do what you’d like them to do, for example, to “Shop our newest designs on our website,” and then link to your new arrivals.
Share Instagram stories as bio highlights
One of our favorite updates to Instagram bios are Instagram Stories Highlights– permanent and prominent collections that showcase the very best of your Instagram Stories. (So, plan wisely!) Implementation is simple – essentially, you’re just pinning chosen stories to your Instagram profile – but in practice, your highlights are limited so you’ll want to take the time to craft a few standout Stories that pack a serious punch.
Think like the search engines
First, may we calm your panic: You do not need to SEO-optimize your Instagram profile! That said, thinking like a search engine can better help you identify the keywords that people will use, as they search for companies just like yours. (After all, what is a search engine algorithm, but a way of delivering search-for information to the searchers?) So, put on your keyword cap brainstorm word associations, then include the best in your profile, so people who search for your product (ex. book-inspired apparel) can find your brand (ex. Out of Print).
Expert tips & tricks
Use keywords in the name field
Okay, we just told you that the most standard username/name format is BizName/Business Name, but here’s a super meaty tip for your Instagram bio: If you think users are more likely to search for a keyword than your name, then you can use keywords as your name. Case in point, Breedlove Beauty Co., whose name displays as “Natural & Organic Skin Care.”
Or, use your real name (if applicable)
Yes, we’re still talking about your Instagram business name, but there’s [at least] one thing left to say: If people often search for you – your actual name, as opposed to a business name – then use your real name. After all, if users can’t find you – and again, the only two searchable fields are username and name – then you’re Instagram isn’t working for you.
Be a visual storytelller
We all know that Instagram is a visual medium, but that fact can get lost when you’re writing your bio. Key word, writing – right? Well yes, but also no. Don’t overlook the visual storytelling element of your bio: your bio photo. In the example above, Alex is holding a camera, taking or reviewing photos; it’s immediately clear that you’re looking at a photographer’s bio. You know what you’re getting into.
Don’t be afraid of simple
There is beauty in simplicity. You’ll see what we mean, when you look at the Instagram for Five Senses Coffee: Simple, direct, and very succinct. Just like this comment.
Don’t be afraid of minimalism, either
While we’re on the topic, if your brand is minimalist, your Instagram bio can be, too. Take Gucci: Upscale, design-focused, and already a household name, for Gucci it’s enough to let their brand, their style, and their designs stand alone. They don’t need to flesh out a full bio: Gucci is Gucci. No further explanation required.
And don’t be afraid of nothing at all
And finally, don’t be afraid of the blank bio. In fact, an empty bio can speak volumes: You may be well known enough as not need a bio. Your brand may be mysterious enough as to not want a bio. But, be aware: For the vast majority of brands out there, we highly recommend fleshing out your bio.
Embrace powerful language
We know we’re using PUMA Women as an example, but we want to clarify: Powerful language isn’t necessarily empowering language (although it can be). Powerful language is all about using strong words with which your audience will identify. You can use adjectives, taglines, or any other language that hits right at the heartstrings. The bottom line: Be bold.
State the obvious
We know you’ve make your pitch a hundred times, you’ve explained what you do a thousand times, and you’ve described your brand a million times. For you, it’s the obvious. But for Instagram users who don’t know you, your bio is their first touchpoint with your brand. So, go ahead – be obvious for that millionth-and-first time. Your Instagram follower count will love you for it.
Link to sister accounts with branded hashtags
This is one of those under-the-radar but incredibly useful tips we can’t get enough of. You know how we mentioned earlier that you get just one link in your Instagram bio? Well, that’s only technically true: You can work extra “links” into your bio in a few different ways. Here’s the first – with branded hashtags, which you can type into your bio and, thus effectively link your bio visitors to all posts with your branded hashtag. And, just imagine what you can do with that…
Make your links clickable
Another link loophole? Remember that any # or @ in your bio becomes a clickable link. If that doesn’t immediately spark some creative linking, then consider this: Beyond adding your branded hashtags, you can also stretch your links by @’ing members of your team (and they can @ you) and even better, if you maintain other branded accounts, you can link to those. (Example: @YourCompany can link to @YourPopularApp)
Style to the best of your ability
Did you know? While Instagram limits your formatting and font styles, you can change both – with the help of an outside source. One such app is Sprezz, although there are plenty of others available, which allows you to choose the font and, to some extent, formatting of your choice. Done right, adding flair to your bio will catch attention and make you stand out from other bios.
Great bio examples
There’s so much to love about Lego’s Instagram bio, starting with the brand voice evident in their copy: Everything is awesome here! Beyond that, they do a great job with their branded hashtag (#LEGO), inviting link (who doesn’t want to click a rainbow?), and Story Highlights, giving you plenty of nudges to here, there, everywhere – all the various ways you can create links, without ever exceeding your one official link.
WeWork wants you to know they’re a lot more than a coworking or office space; WeWork is a lifestyle. A lifestyle you want to lead. Their Instagram does a great job relaying this, setting the tone with the tagline, “Make a life, not just a living.” Because, who wouldn’t want to do that? Beyond a good tagline, they use Story Highlights to showcase their coworking spaces around the world, incorporate a branded hashtag, and utilize their one link to send you to a visual display, populated with many calls-to-action.
Much like their brand, Vans’ Instagram bio is simple and direct: This is the official Vans account (✓), their tagline is incorporated into their thumbnail (✓), they link to their site (✓), and they have effectively created six additional links (✓), via @ to their various branded accounts, for example to Vans Surf.
No Your City
We just love this bio from No Your City, in large part because it’s so good at answering the question, “What’s in it for you?” This is not about them; it’s about every Instagram user who loves their city. It’s about photographers and travelers who want to be featured. This profile feels like it exists to serve – to make it easy for your to featured. Just employ the handy brand hashtag or send an email. Bonus points for good emoji use.
Instagram is a natural medium for photo-loving National Geographic, so it’s no surprise the brand does their bio very, very well. There’s an economy of words here, for sure, and they use their few words well: Experience the world (what’s in it for me?) through the eyes of National Geographic photographers (this is what we do). They also do great work with their story highlights and link, which they’ve carefully chosen for its URL (a CTA, in and of itself).
Hello there, tagline! We just love Adidas’ bio tagline, which appeals directly to their core audience: Active people, who wear the brand everywhere from an concrete jungle to the actual jungle. Of course, they also have a great branded hashtag (#EscapeTheNoise – emotional, rather than promotional), an interesting link, and powerful Story Highlights.
There’s so much to love about Tentile’s Instagram, we don’t know where to start. But start, we will, at the “what’s in it for me?” bit, because the brand goes straight for the feel-good jugular: Not only will you buy great tent, but your purchase will plant 10 trees. And for tree tent campers, that’s a Big Deal. Beyond that, the brand does a great job with their action buttons and Story Highlights, with a bonus nod to building interest with a “world’s first” claim.
Apartment Therapy does a great job of showing off their very visual brand – curated Story Highlights, thank you! – but what we’re focusing on here is their non-visuals: They jump straight into their value proposition, making a promise to help you live a happy, healthy life at home. What’s more, they master the call-to-action by prompting visitors to share their own home photos through AT’s branded hashtag.
We absolutely love how Divinity LA has used bio styling + emojis + spacing + powerful words to deliver copy that works very, very well. One glance, and you immediately know what Divinity LA offers (bracelets), what makes them different (handmade), how easy it is (fast shipping), and why it all matters (donate to charity). Simply brilliant.
Califia Farms is another brand rocking their Instagram with a great combo: a good tagline, clear copy, a call-to-action, and carefully curated Instagram Stories. Plus, they use their “one link” to send you not to their homepage, but to an online catalog of sorts: See everything they offer, in a very mobile-friendly list.
Lorna Jane’s bio is almost picture-perfect, incorporating almost every element of a great brand. To start, this is the OFFICIAL account; what’s more, there are four “bullet points” that break the brand down into its important details: Located in Australia, inspiring you with a branded hashtag, inviting you to show off your gear with a second branded hashtag, and finally leaving a very clear call-to-action to shop the collection, complete with a link. It’s simple and uncomplicated, but it works perfectly.
Remember what we said about not fearing simple? Enter Tesla, a brand that embraces clean lines and minimalism. Their Instagram bio is a great reflection of this, with a super-direct, one-line bio: “Electric cars, giant batteries and solar.” Need they say more?
Vodka for Dog People
We know – this is a brilliant idea, rolled into a powerful Instagram bio. That said, Vodka for Dog People is Instagram gold – a vodka company that plays on its love of dogs – but what we’re focusing on here, is how well the bio works. One look, and you know immediately that this account belongs to @titosvodka – instant brand goodwill, among other dog people – and that their goal is to better the lives of pups and their families. Well done.
“Meaningful” is such a meaningful word, don’t you think? It works really well for Letterfolk, which clearly states that it sells simple, yet purposeful products inspired by a simpler time. We also love their emoji + name pairing, which makes it clear that the brand is founded by Joanna and Johnny – a nice, personal touch. Bonus points for a great CTA, encouraging direct emails to the brand.
Talk about street cred! Shiseido makes it immediately clear that they’ve been doing what they do since 1872. What’s more, they tell you what they do: they share art, science and beauty with the world. And then, they actually do it, through their pinned Story Highlights. It all works seamlessly, and seamlessly well.
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