Most folks treat the Instagram bio as an afterthought or a place to put a lot of really cute emojis. But, the reality is your bio is a valuable piece of social media real estate whose purpose is to welcome users to your profile. It is the online front of your business or brand. It creates a first impression of your brand, conveys key information about your business, including your physical location (so many people forget to even add their city!!! – so how can people buy your service if they don’t know if your are convenient to them?!) The Instagram bio also turns profile visitors into followers and followers into customers.
So besides those catchy little phrases and emojis, what else can you write to optimize your profile and get the most value out of your Instagram account and marketing efforts?
Let’s look at the technical basics of that piece of internet property
Your Instagram bio gives you 150 characters and a single external link to work with. Your username, which you can customize separately from your handle (i.e. @user), gives you another 30 characters.
What your instagram bio needs to accomplish
At first it may appear as if you don’t have much room to accomplish anything great, but thinking outside the box and being a tad creative will get a lot accomplished. Think of it as packing a small travel bag for a week’s vacation. Cause we all know we can absolutely figure out a way to get that extra pair of shoes in that bag!
- Highlight essential information about your business or brand (your brand name, category, etc.), which you can change in the profile settings
- Provide Instagram users with a way to contact you
- Showcase your brand and your personality, matching your voice and style to your site and other social platforms
- Establish your USP (Unique Selling Point), helping your target audience understand what makes your brand valuable to them or how you can help them solve a problem
- Drive valuable actions, such as sharing or viewing content, registering for an event, or heading to your site to make a purchase
- A bonus is to have a FREE giveaway PDF or video link to encourage people to sign up for your email list.
The good news is there are Instagram features you can use in conjunction with your written bio that helps users quickly understand your business/brand, what you’re selling/offering, and how they can take further action.
How to create the perfect instagram bio
Since you only have a limited number of characters at your disposal, there are a handful of objectives you need to prioritize in your bio before you start optimizing the rest of your profile.
1. Tell profile visitors who you are and why they should care
The first and main objective your bio needs to accomplish is to explain what your business offers and who you serve.
When new users discover you on Instagram for the first time, you need to quickly give them the information they need to keep them interested. As on most social media platforms, you won’t have their attention for long, so use concise copy that gets your point across quickly.
Your bio doesn’t need to rely solely on text either. You can make it stand out by using:
- Use LingoJam to customize your font (just copy and paste the text into your bio)
- Use fun emojis (i.e. ☕️) to add personality
- Use directional characters or emojis (i.e ↴👇) to draw attention to specific parts of your bio, like a clickable link to your website
2. Use clickable tags to promote branded hashtags and sister accounts
The link in your bio isn’t the only thing visitors can click on to learn more about you.
If you have a branded hashtag, include it in your bio to draw clicks and take interested users to an Instagram feed of branded or user-generated content. Just type it in your bio as you would any hashtag.
Adams Design Boston, for example, uses a linked hashtag in their bio to promote their branded hashtag: #designthatwows.
Branded hashtags are also searchable, which provides a variety of benefits, but the biggest is:
- When users click on the hashtag, they’ll be taken to an entire feed of branded or user-generated content, which is a big win for their brand.
Similarly, you can tag other accounts to direct profile visitors to your other properties. If you have a sub-brand with a separate Instagram account or a partnership you want to highlight, you can mention it in your bio (i.e. “@username”) and it’ll appear in your bio as a link.
3. Include a call to action
Featuring a call to action (CTA) in your bio’s copy can be a valuable addition. CTAs significantly increase the likelihood that users take the action you’re describing because they explain exactly what to do and how to do it.
There are a number of different actions you can prioritize in your bio—you can even squeeze in a couple of different CTAs—so consider what would be most valuable to your business and make room for that.
Here are some approaches you can take with your CTAs:
- Be direct: “Click our bio link to shop our latest products.”
- Encourage users to share: “Tag #brandedhashtag to be featured”
- Promote a limited time offer: “Shop our Black Friday sale”
- Highlight a contest: “Share your favorite flavor for a chance to win!👇”
No matter the CTA you use, there are a few best practices to always keep in mind:
- Feature your highest priority CTA at the end of the bio. People will be more likely to take that action after you’ve established who you are. Plus, it puts your CTA in close proximity to your link.
- Give clear instructions where needed. If you want to get users to contribute to your branded hashtag, opt for something like “share your unboxing experience with #opensesame” with a clickable hashtag at the end.
- Start with the action. Begin your CTA with a verb (Start, Shop, Tag, etc.) to get straight to the point and eliminate unnecessary words.
Keep in mind that you can adapt your bio to promote special events like a seasonal sale, contest, or upcoming trade show. You can always swap in new CTAs and links to prioritize limited time offers or events.
4. Make the most of your bio link
With swipe-up story links and even shopping on Instagram, there are plenty of options to drive traffic to your site. But your Instagram bio link is still a valuable opportunity to send profile visitors to any page you’d like them to visit—whether it’s a public event, free giveaway or a YouTube video.
Many brands link out to their website’s homepage by default until they have the chance to promote something specific.
You can also link to:
- Your latest product launch to ride the wave of any other Instagram marketing efforts that bring attention to it
- A link curation page, powered by a tool like Linktree, to promote a variety of links
- A signup page for a course, email list, contest, etc.
- Your latest article or video if content is at the heart of your business
- An event registration page, such as a Meetup or tradeshow
Just be sure to adapt your bio copy to incorporate a CTA for your new link when you add one.
If you want to track how effective your bio link is at driving traffic relative to other Instagram sources, you can use a URL shortener like Bit.ly, along with UTM tracking, to measure click-throughs.
Whatever you choose, keep your goals in mind and where you cover them across your business profile and content. You can change your bio link as often as you want, and increase its effectiveness by letting users know in individual posts and stories to “check out your bio link for more info.”
5. Adding “Action Buttons” to help users reach you
Speaking from experience, it’s extremely common for users to contact you after they come across your brand on Instagram.
Sometimes they’ll send you a direct message on Instagram, but if that’s their only option it can quickly become hard to manage. That’s why it’s important to direct customers to your preferred channels, whether it’s a phone number, email, or even directions to your store if you have a physical location.
Filling out your contact information on Instagram shifts most of this responsibility from your written bio to the appropriate “Action Buttons” that are easy to find when customers visit your profile.
You can do this by editing your profile and tapping on “Contact Options.”
From here, you can enter contact information or channels (Instagram Business Accts) that makes it easy for customers to reach you:
- Phone number, which you can set for users to either call or text you
- Email address, which will open the user’s default email app, ready to compose a message to the provided address
- Address, which will be converted into “Directions,” allowing users to pull up your business on a map and see where it is in relation to their current location
- Third-party services to book an appointment, buy a ticket, and more through platforms like Booksy and Eventbrite
People will use the contact information you provide, so only enter information for customer service channels you actually support. If you don’t have a phone line dedicated for customer support, don’t add in your personal phone number just because you want to have something there.
This contact info will appear as clickable buttons on your profile when viewed through Instagram’s mobile app.
6. Enable Shopping on Instagram to showcase your products
The Shop tab will appear by default after you set up Shopping on Instagram and start tagging images with product tags.
The Shop tab is also home to all the content you’ve tagged with your product tags, giving users the opportunity to shop your collection through the photos you’ve posted. They can tap on any of these photos to view it and to learn more about the products featured in them, and tap once more to visit the product page on your website to make a purchase.
Try to only use product tags on photos that clearly show off your products to create a carefully curated gallery of product photos under your Shop tab.
7. Curate Highlights for your profile
Instagram Stories are an essential part of Instagram marketing, and Story Highlights give them a longer lasting presence on your profile. They allow you to save individual stories into different “highlights,” which you get to name and organize as you see fit.
These highlights will live in your profile indefinitely right underneath your bio, above your feed, and when clicked will show the saved stories one after another. A great way to utilize the highlights features is commonly asked questions for your business. Or big projects you have working on or even product launches.
Not only will your expired stories of the day be given a longer lifespan, but you’ll also be able to feature content that strongly represents your brand at the top of your feed where users are most likely to see it.
This gives you a chance to control the narrative, and even produce stories with the express purpose of turning them into highlights.
Creating highlights is easy:
- Head to your profile page and tap “New+” under your bio.
- You’ll be able to select all the stories in your archive that you want to add to this specific highlight. Choose them based on a specific theme or a narrative you want to convey.
- You’ll then be asked to name your highlight. Note that you only get a maximum of 15 characters, including spaces, so you want to be clear and creative enough to grab attention on your profile.
- The last step is to edit the cover image (you can even create a story to specifically use as your cover), and it will be published to your profile. You can add to your highlights at any time by simply clicking on it and pressing “Edit.”
There are countless ways you could organize your highlights, but some of the more common themes include:
- Event coverage or event details
- User-generated content
- Product tutorials
- “How It’s Made” content
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Product features or highlights of bestsellers
- News and announcements
8. Share a promo code
To give followers extra incentive to jump over to your site to make a purchase, consider putting a coupon code in your bio.
Discounts and promo codes are proven conversion drivers. Not only will this drive users to your site to make a purchase, but it also gives you a more accurate way to track these conversions. Use a code unique to your Instagram bio so you can see exactly how many sales you’re driving.
Dig deeper into the data and see what those people are buying. Then use those insights to inform your Instagram strategy. If there’s lots of interest in a particular product, do a Q&A on your Stories about it. If they’re all located in a similar location, partner with a local Instagram influencer to promote your brand. The possibilities for insights truly are endless.
9. Leverage IGTV
IGTV is an extension of Instagram which allows brands to create videos up to an hour long (versus 60 seconds with a standard video post). These IGTV streams happen live, and are then published to your main page so users can tune in later.
Kylie Cosmetics has built a strong loyal base of customers largely thanks to the influence of social media. The makeup brand frequently uses IGTV to publish makeup tutorials, by founder Kylie Jenner herself as well as outside influencers.
Though product tutorials may seem a straightforward strategy, brands are also pushing creative boundaries with IGTV. There are tons of other ways to use IGTV to enhance your Instagram bio:
- Show behind-the-scenes footage of the materials being sourced or product being made
- Partner with influencers to do an IGTV takeover
- Broadcast in-person events you’re involved in
- Record unboxing videos and showcase your premium product packaging
- Host a live Q&A