Instagram Basics ⏤ Build a stellar profile that works

Newbie or Triple OG, you will learn something from this. Make sure your IG profile is top-notch. This will help you get there.

After you've discovered your Instagram’s brand/niche, it’s time to build out your profile; think of this as your landing page for followers. After choosing a username, the next thing to focus on is creating your profile BEFORE you begin to post.

Do not begin posting without having your profile set. When someone randomly finds your profile, you don't want them to click into an abyss once they land on your profile page.

There are four key areas to focus, develop and maintain:

  1. Profile Picture

  2. Name

  3. Bio

  4. Website

Let's took at each one separately.


Profile Picture

Choose a photo wisely; this is the 2nd way people will identify your account.

This image is one of the most important parts of your profile besides the name of the account. Usually, this is the first or second thing people will see when you appear in a search or comments. Pick an image that resonates with the theme of the page.

There are three kinds of profile pictures: Text, Photo, and Logos

Text only (typography)

A good text logo can be good for any insta page. I would not recommend it for an influencer-based account unless you have a logo or a product you physically sell, or a service you have.

When I started BlackWifeLife, I had a typography logo that I got from Fiverr. That $5 logo got me all the way to 50,000 followers. Remember these quick tips when thinking of a typography logo.

  • Make sure words are legible. If the name is too long, try and use an acronym or a call-out word from the phrase.

  • Don't use a transparent background logo.

  • Use a font that is bold and able to be read even when your profile picture shows up in the comments.

Here are some examples:

Photo

A picture of yourself is the most popular option. But a photo isn't limited to just your face. It can also be the following:

  • Image of a product (what you sell or offer)

  • Cartoon or illustration image of you or your product (similar to my IG photo)

After I moved from a typography icon, I had an artist digitally create an image inspired by my wedding picture; still on-brand.

Be careful with using group images with several people in the photo unless your brand/theme is about a group.

For example, if you have an Instagram account dedicated to group travel or dinner parties, this could be a great idea to use a picture from the experience.

Tips for solo images as profile picture:

  • We want to see your face. Hiding your face can give people the impression that you are an internet troll just here to talk shit in the comments. Once your account makes it big, feel free to do whatever, but as you grow your brand, you've got to show us who you are.

  • Full body pix are great, but make it a good one. What I mean is, have a bomb-ass background; it’s just as important as you.

  • Use a background remover tool (canva has an easy one to use) and lay your image on top. Pick a color that within the color palette you use within your feed post. Avoid using white or black backgrounds.

Here are some examples:

Logos

Logos can either be text or images. Some even will use a picture of themselves with a logo visible somewhere on the image.

Logos are great for accounts that have a specific product or something you are consistently promoting. If your logo isn't going to show up on most of the posts, you share on your feed, opt-out of using this option.

Here are some points to consider and questions to answer when deciding on a typography or photo logo:

Typography

  • Use colors and fonts that stand out. What are the color schemes of your brand/product/service?

  • Can you read the name with ease?

  • If the name is too long, again, think about using the acronyms

Photo:

  • Use an eye-catching photo, even in various sizes.

  • Can you clearly see you or your product?

  • Is your background crisp, clean, or in your color scheme?

  • If you saw that picture in another profile's comments, would you want to visit the profile?

Here are some examples

Name

Next up is your name. Your name is NOT your username/handle.

One common mistake people make is not putting search terms in this section. Outside of your Instagram handle, this is the only other searchable area of your profile.

What does that mean? Look at these examples! When typing the “wellness” into Instagram, profiles will populate that have the word wellness in the username AND name field. Same for the travel example.

What descriptive words could you use to but in the name field? Here are some ideas:

  • Creative? Use phrases like Blogger, Designer, Content, etc. in the name field

  • Foodie? Add Food, Cuisine, Eat, etc.

  • Business owner? What do you sell? Add it to your name field

  • Want to attract people from a certain city? Add it!

Take a moment and write down some words that describe your brand while this is fresh in your mind.

I have my name + BlackWifeLife in the name field on my IG to let people know this is my personal IG page (granted, this is also a brand). The Private Influencer Insta's name field says, "Learn to grow your audience.”

Tip: You can only change your profile name TWICE every 14 days. So make your changes responsibly. But you can remove your profile name whenever you want, even if you've made two changes, meaning leaving the name field blank.

Bio

Your bio should draw people into your profile and be able to learn a little more about your brand and/or you. But don't overcomplicate it. Keep it short and to the point. I recommend updating your bio at least once a quarter with new language (or emojis); that way, people get used to watching it for updates.

I list my name in my bio, what the profile is about, where you can find me, and my location.

I like to leave a few extra characters to add additional language without changing the current bio language.

I'm sure you've noticed some profiles have the word ‘more' listed in their bio, instructing you to click it to learn more about that person. Usually, this is because the person has created their bio in list form. I'm impartial to this; I think it’s unnecessary.

You want your bio to be consumed in one glance and not force people to click another button to learn more about you, see an update, or more information.

Stick to paragraph form or short sentences. The magic number seems to be four when it comes to how many visible lines are available without the ‘more’ button appearing.

Need some ideas for your bio? Here are some questions to get your brain stirring.

  • What are you promoting?

  • Who are you?

  • What is your business?

  • What do you stand for?

  • What descriptive words best describe your profile?

  • Who is your audience?

  • Are you proving something unique?

  • Want to announce something?

  • List your email or other social handles

You only get 150 characters, so make it good.

Website

Never leave your website area blank! Never never, never. Always have something for people to click.

When I first began, I used a socially optimized website link. It is a condensed version of the website that I am pointing my followers to. If you offer various things to your audience, having a link that allows them to get a birds-eye view of everything is ideal.

The goal is to make things easily accessible for your followers, and for most brands/businesses, a socially optimized website is the way to go.

Here's why. Instead of having people visit a direct website, you can strategically point people to specific places on your website. Here are some ideas for your socially optimized link:

  • Personal website links

  • Other social media links

  • Newsletter sign-up

  • Free downloads

  • Event signup

  • Playlist

  • Affiliate links

Many different sites provide socially optimized links; here is a rundown of a few of them. Choose the one that best suits your needs. I've added footnotes to the ones that I have used in the past.

If you have your own dot com, you can create your own links page. Here is a great example of that.

And if you have ConvertKit, you can also make a landing page to use. Here is an example.


Did you learn something today? I threw a lot at you. Whether you are experienced on IG or a newbie, it's always good to get a refresher on your Instagram's most important part, your profile.

Have specific questions for me? Comment below. I will answer.

1
I was gifted this due to the size of my Insta account. This tool is great if you have a shop or use WhatsApp to connect with customers/clients.
2
This comes free with a free (lite version) or paid (standard) subscription to Later.com (a scheduling tool).
3
This was the last bio link I used, and I did like it, but I no longer needed something that socially optimized because I want to point people to my entire latest blog list. I also paid for the pro version ($70/yr for 2 profiles)
4
Linktree has had some major updates to their platform since I first used it. I think they have completely stepped up their game and should not go unnoticed.
5
If I were going to return to a socially optimized link format, I would use this one.