Day 2: Instagram Profile Optimization


Instagram has over 800 million users. Instagram users are a highly engaged group...10 times more engaged than on Twitter or Facebook. This is the reason brands are spending tons of money trying to crack the code on Instagram (which is increasingly hard to do since Instagram has become notorious for switching up their algorithm frequently.)

So, how can you harness all this goodness? It starts with a solid, optimized Instagram profile...which you are going to be the proud owner of very soon.

Before we start, make sure your profile is public and that you are set up as a business account

Unlike Facebook, Instagram does not have a section for a cover photo. Your account profile consists of one small circular image and text. When a user finds your profile by searching within the platform, they will see the circular photo and two lines of text.  Making that one photo & two lines of text really count is essential since it's all you have to work with. Most users will decide whether or not to click into your profile page based on these three elements since that's what shows in search results in the platform.

We'll go through each element together...

1. Your IG Profile Photo

Our goal across all of your social media accounts is consistency. People will begin to have brand recognition when you visually weave all of your accounts together. Because of this we're going to use the same image you used yesterday.

Action: Upload the photo you took on day #1 and use it as your profile image.

Quick Tip: Since Instagram will crop your image to a circle, make sure the photo crops appropriately. You don't want your hair or body to be cut off at an off angle. 

2. Your Handle

The best practice for creating (or updating) your Instagram handle is to use the name of your business, or if the name of your business is your name...go ahead and use your first AND last name. You should use both because it builds trust, name recognition and help people find you in Instagram's search function.

The goal here is that you want to make it as easy as possible for Instagram users to find you on instagram If you have a vague are making it hard for potential followers to find you and engage with you. The easier and more straightforward it is for them, the better.

Action: Create a new Instagram handle or update your existing one to reflect your brand name or your name.

Quick Tip: You name is already taken on Instagram? Try adding "the" to the beginning of your name or "official" to the end.

3. Your Name

There is one big missed opportunity that many businesses overlook and that's your name. Most accounts on Instagram just reiterate their handle.

For example, my handle is "@thestoriedco", If I were to input my handle in the name section, I would type in "The Storied Co"

As you can see in this example, its the same exact info...the name of my business in both locations. It's redundant...and with such little space to sell ourselves as worthy-of-a-follow to begin with, it's a waste of valuable real estate!

What you should do instead is use this line to describe what you do and add your name. You don't have many characters so you'll need to get creative. 

Action if your handle is your business name: 
Describe what you do, or what industry you are in + Your Name (or vice versa)

Action if your handle is your name: 
Your business name  + Describe what you do, or what industry you are in (or vice versa)

For example, instead of using "Kelly Canales" I use "Brand Designer Kelly Canales" in my account name. This is the difference between m search results showing "@thestoriedco, The Storied Co." and "@thestoriedco, Brand Designer Kelly Canales".

Here's a few example of the correct way to pair your handle and your name. You'll see there is a little room for creativity here!

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3. Your Bio

Your Instagram bio is where you should explain what it is that you do and can offer your followers. 


our Twitter bio is the area for you to explain what it is that you do. You only have 140 characters to sum it all up in a nice little package. 

1. Part one of your Twitter Bio
State what you do in a concise sentence. Don't worry about having a perfect sentence here, like with social media have a little leeway here to shorten words or create a fragmented sentence. 

2. Call to action
Provide a juicy offer to your Twitter profile visitor. This is where you most want to funnel traffic on your site but that ALSO gives value to the reader. You should not link to a sales page or product page...that only serves you and not the visitor. This will most likely alienate the visitor and you will have lost a future customer. It's much better to start the relationship on the right foot but offering the customer something of value that you have created.

3. Include a URL to your value proposition
Use a link shortening service like Bitly (which is what I like to use) to shorten this link. You can erase everything before the "b" in bitly in the link. the https and www are not needed for the link to work. 

3. The Link

Instagram allows each account to have one URL that links out of Instagram, so it's important to decide where that one link will go. 

A Single Link: If you use a single link, use the shortened link that directs to your free resource.

A Custom Landing Page: If you have the resources, a great option is to create a custom landing page for instagram. This page should be optimized for mobile users and contain value for the viewer via your free resource + a subscribe form.

Link Tree Option: Link tree is a free service that provides a URL for you to use in your instagram bio, but within that Link, you are allowed to add multiple links. I like to go back and forth between one link to my free resource and using Linktree.

  • If you do go with Linktree (because you can't possibly narrow it down to one link,) make the first link go to your free resource since that button will get clicked the most. Then continue adding your links below in order of importance. I recommend not exceeding five links.

Note: As of March, 2018 Instagram began hyperlinking hashtags & accounts mentioned within the bio. These links are only links within Instagram itself, they do not link off of Instagram. I recommend only using these types of links in your profile if you have your own brand hashtag or you are pointing to another account you manage. 

Well done! See you tomorrow :)