If you have been researching digital marketing strategies for your business, you have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO is the practice of using keywords and phrases to boost a company website in a search engine such as Google. But what about optimization for your social media profiles? There is a lot you can do to make sure your business’s Instagram profile comes up first and encourages visitors to become followers. Hop onto the app! These quick and easy edits will take only a matter of minutes.
The Anatomy of an Instagram Profile
In order to best discuss opportunities for optimizing your business’s Instagram profile, it is important that we get our terms straight. Throughout this article, we will use the following terms to refer to their respective profile components. We use NASA as an example:
Your “username” or “handle” as it is referred to on Instagram is your business’s call sign, it is what your followers use to tag you in their posts, if you are so lucky to have followers who talk about your business!
Your “name” is simply that, your business name, but as we will discuss later in this article, it can be so much more than that!
Your “bio” is the place where you can give visitors a quick description of who you are and what kind of content they can expect by following your page.
Your “website” is your company website, or it can be the latest offer you are promoting, as we will discuss shortly.
Finally, your “content” is the images and graphics you publish to your Instagram page, organized and displayed in a grid layout.
Opportunities for Optimization
#1 Switch to Instagram for Business
If your Instagram profile is not a business profile, the very first thing you can do to optimize is switch! Instagram for Business allows you to do many things that a standard Instagram profile does not, such as:
- Display your business category, such as “Health and Wellness”
- List your contact info, such as your phone number, email, and address
- Display a “Contact” button that allows followers to send direct messages to your business via Instagram
- Add an “action button” such as “Book Now!” to direct followers for conversions
- Boost your posts in your followers’ feeds so that they come up first
- View data analytics on the performance of your page and posts to inform your decisions
#2 Update Your Profile Picture
If your business Instagram profile picture is not, A) High-quality, or, B) Branded, you should probably consider updating. Your profile picture should either be your logo for easy identification, or if you are a personal brand, a photo of you doing what you do best in your topic space! If you are using a photo, make sure the colors in the photo match the colors of your brand. This is something that we do all the time at Beacon–matching photos with brand colors–and it looks very professional, pulling everything together nicely and taking our clients’ content to a whole new level.
#3 Change Your Profile Picture Regularly
Your business profile picture does not have to be static. Play with it by updating whenever you are running a new campaign or there is a particular day, week, month, season, or year that you would like to celebrate! Changing your profile picture regularly keeps your page dynamic and creates curiosity that drives followers back to your profile to learn about what is causing the changes. Alternative logos are perfect for this, such as logos for company anniversaries, where just a few elements have been altered to fit the occasion but the brand stays consistent. You can also update your profile picture whenever something is trending. Once again, just make sure it still communicates your brand.
#4 Make Your Username Your Company Name
If your username is not your company name already, it should be for search purposes. This can be difficult for some businesses. Instagram has been around since 2010, so many of the most popular names have already been taken. If the name of your business has been taken, be sure to include your company name somewhere in the mix. Create more options for yourself by adding something to the end of your business name such as the location of your business (i.e. “Alaska”).
#5 Make Your Name Your Company Name
Just as with your username, your “name” should be your company name. When potential followers search for you specifically, they will search using your company name, so they should be able to find you this way. This should be intuitive for most business owners, but it is worth mentioning.
#6 Add Keywords to Your Name
Although your “name” should be your company name, it doesn’t have to stop there. Some of the most influential brands on Instagram have “gotten away with” incorporating relevant keywords into their name after their company name to boost search results! This is most often done by separating the two with a dividing line (“|”) or an emoji. If you choose to do this, just make sure to use keywords that your potential followers are actually searching in your topic space. For example, a marketing agency might do well to put “marketing strategy” after their name.
#7 Use a Smattering of Keywords
Even more than with your name, your business bio should incorporate keywords and phrases. Once again, be sure to use keywords that your potential followers are actually searching, such as “inspirational quotes” or a popular hashtag like “#metoo” or a location like “Anchorage.” Hashtags have become a great way to drive search traffic since Instagram made them searchable. Create a branded hashtag to include in your bio or use one that is already popular and trending! Search for hashtags to follow yourself to find what works. An Instagram account that provides a great example of excellent keyword use is Benjamin Jaworskyj, a “German Travel Photographer:”
#8 Have Fun with the Formatting
Although many stick with the standard paragraph format for their business bio, you don’t have to. Use the return key between points to add variety and make your bio simultaneously more interesting and easier to read!
#9 Create Emphasis with Emojis
Use emojis to make your business bio stand out! Emojis can be used to break up a bio like bullet points or as visual aids to the keywords you are using. At Beacon, we have found Emojipedia to be a great tool for discovering the latest and greatest emojis on the internet. Simply visit Emojipedia, use your keyword to search for an emoji, and copy-paste that emoji into your bio using their copy tool. As important as emojis are for engaging readers, do not go too crazy and overuse them. Just use the emojis that are relevant to what you are saying.
#10 Bring the Personality
Your Instagram bio is a place where you can let your business’s personality shine! Get creative with your turns of phrase and consider including a relevant quote or joke that fits with your brand. Just make sure to be clear and concise. The Instagram bio is limited by a 150 character count. Aim to inform and delight in as few words as possible. If you are stuck trying to achieve perfection, take a peek at your competitors’ accounts and see what they do to stand out then find your own niche.
#11 Link It Up!
In addition to the link businesses are allowed in the website section of their Instagram profile, links can now be placed in the bio! Link your social media profiles such as Facebook or another Instagram account by putting these links in your Instagram bio. In order to keep your character count low, you may want to use a URL shortener such as Google’s URL shortener.
#12 Include Your Latest Offer
The website portion of your Instagram business profile does not have to be a link to your website! It can be a page on your website that you would like to drive traffic to or the landing page for your latest offer. Update this URL on your profile regularly if you are regularly putting out new promotions or campaigns. A tip for getting users to click on your website is to put a call-to-action or CTA in the last line of your bio above the link, such as “Get our latest offer now using the link below!”
#13 Publish Quality Photos
Use high-quality photos that are well-composed and have an interesting subject matter that resonates with your target audience! Edit your photos to improve the contrast of their subject matter. Contrast catches attention, especially on Instagram, and it is one of the easiest ways to get engagement with your content. If you need inspiration, one of the best examples of top-performance photo content on Instagram is Instagram’s company account! Follow successful accounts in your industry for ideas that fit within your topic space.
#14 Always Be Consistent (ABC)
As it has always been with marketing of all kinds, consistency is KEY. Employ an editorial calendar of 3-5 content categories for your business and post regularly 3-5 times per week. Be consistent with your brand colors, fonts, and filters if you choose to use them. Some brands are so consistent with their content that their profile grid is just three columns of the same three content categories all the way down. We tried this earlier this year with Beacon’s account and it looked very professional. Check it out below!
Another great example is Rolls-Royce, who got creative with the Instagram grid layout, communicating one message using 15 separate posts on August 8th! Something you will notice if you visit their account is the size of the graphics and the text. To optimize your Instagram content for mobile, it is very important that you use large lettering.
Get started optimizing your Instagram profile today! These 14 tips are easy entry for any business looking to increase engagement with their brand. If you would like to dive deeper into best practices for your Instagram business account, we would be happy to talk to you! Our team has experience boosting social media engagement in a variety of industries.