Your profile is the first thing that people see when they click on your Instagram handle so it’s important that it represents your brand. Read on for tips that will help you optimize your Instagram for greater engagement.Followers will be more inclined to engage with the content that you share if the look and feel align with what they enjoy on Instagram. Here are 5 ways to help increase the chances that the right followers will see, engage and follow your Instagram channel.
1. Optimize Your Instagram Username
Hopefully, your username can be as easy as Starbucks or Target but if it’s not, aim to have it match your other social channels so followers can find you quickly when searching. Consider using location if the username that you want has already been taken. Adding the city or country after your brand name can help.
Coca-Cola Argentina uses “ar” after the brand name to associate with their territory as the @Coca-Cola handle is already being used by the parent company.
2. Pick an Accurate Profile Image
To keep with the consistency of how the public sees your brand, use your logo as your profile picture. The profile image is one of the first things that people see when discovering a new profile, as they are scrolling through the newsfeed and when they have landed on your page. Use a clear, high-resolution image and leverage Instagram’s tool to resize within the app for the best look. Instagram recommends a 110×110 image for the best clarity.
There are many brands that do this well, Nike is one of them as they have consistent branding across different social platforms and different sub-brands within their catalog. The Nike Football (Soccer) Instagram channel differentiates itself from other Nike branded channels but still uses the swoosh that everyone recognizes, plus an image true to the football (Soccer) brand that fans can identify.
3. Include a Bio That Gives a Snapshot of Your Brand
Your bio is a chance to share what matters most to your brand in 150 characters. Use this part of your profile to explain what you do and who you are. Keep it simple but be consistent with your brand voice and similar messaging shared on other social platforms. Speak to your target audience directly and use words within your bio that will get your audience’s attention. The company, WeWork clearly explains who they are and what they offer, letting you instantly decide if this is a profile you want to follow to see more content.
To attract attention to their profile, some brands play around with the formatting and look and feel of how their bio is displayed. Usually, the copy is vertical or horizontal but note that the vertical format shows up on mobile devices and not desktop views of the page. Make sure you test the look of the bio on both so that it makes sense to followers.
Fashion brand ASOS seems to have more of a relaxed brand message using the vertical format and including emoticons in their bio on mobile.
That same bio changes form on desktop and the emoticons and spacing don’t have the same effect as they did on mobile so double checking the look and feel on both is important.
Consider adding a dedicated hashtag to your brand. While you will not have sole ownership of it, adding it to your bio shows your followers which hashtags you monitor for similar content. If you plan to truly engage with your followers, add a call to action within your bio asking them to post a specific type of video or photo and to add your hashtag. Women’s active apparel company, Lorna Jane does this well with over 431K people using the hashtag, #lornajane at their request.
If you are a larger company, others may create a “fake” account and share content (good or bad) about your brand. In 2014, Instagram introduced verified accounts that include the small blue badge with the checkmark right next to the username.
Verified badges were created for public figures, celebrities and brands to help followers identify real profiles. To get a verified badge for your brand profile, reach out to Instagram directly and they should be able to help. While you are waiting for your verified badge approval to go through, consider adding copy to your bio that shows fans that you are the real deal.
Adding, “The Official Page For (enter your brand name)” can help in addition to connecting your Facebook and Twitter handles showing your other official channels. In their bio, Disneyland makes it clear that they are the official page so that followers will not get confused by other fan pages created for Disneyland.
4. Use and Measure Your Profile Link
Instagram only allows you to add a clickable link in one place on your channel and that’s within your profile. Use this area to add your URL. To measure and track who is clicking on your link, when, from where, etc, you can add a dedicated link from your brand’s analytics tool (ex. Omniture) or a free tool.
One of my favorite free tools is bit.ly which has a free and a paid option. The free option works fine if you are just getting started or don’t have a large team monitoring and making decisions about your social pages. Bit.ly allows you to create a short link that is trackable and will connect to your website, a third party site, another social channel, etc. Things that you can track with a free bit.ly account include:
- Number of clicks on your bit.ly link
- Dates and times when the bit.ly link was clicked – This provides a great way to see which content performs best and when
- Who shared your bit.ly link and how many times – This is helpful to identify who your brand influencers are
- Other places online where your bit.ly link was shared (ex. Facebook) – This can be a great way to see if your Instagram content does better on another social platform for future planning
- Geographic locations where the bit.ly link was shared – This can help you see if fans, where your product or focus is being sold or shared, is in the same location as the people who are engaging online
Depending on what you want the end result to be for your followers when they click the link, consider switching the link to introduce your followers to different parts of your website, to a sale, event photos on your facebook page, etc.
5. Ensure that your profile is set to Public and not Private
If your channel setting is set to private, you make it harder for people to discover your channel and once they do, they won’t be able to see your content. You will need to approve each person that requests to follow you which can be a hassle if you don’t have a dedicated team to manage requests in a timely manner. Make it easier on yourself and increase awareness by having a public page.
To ensure that your channel is public, click on the settings logo in the top right corner of the app (looks like a hardware nut), then under the “Account” section of the page, swipe the circle next to “Private Account” setting to the right and your account will be seen as public, keyword, seen!
As you can see, small tweaks to your Instagram profile can make a big difference in who sees your content and how they engage with it.