The anatomy of a perfect Instagram profile
With 500 million daily users and more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts following a business account, it's critical that marketers include Instagram as part of their social media marketing strategy.
It all starts with your Instagram profile.
The best Instagram profiles have a few things in common, including easily identifiable usernames, a recognizable profile picture, a steady stream of Instagram stories and photos, an informative yet delightful bio, a link to a relevant landing page or campaign, and more.
Read on to learn how to customize your Instagram profile so that it looks good, tells your potential followers who you are, and gives them a reason to follow and engage with you.
The anatomy of a perfect Instagram profile
1. public (not private) profile
By default, your Instagram profile will be public - meaning anyone can view your profile and posts on Instagram.
When you create an Instagram profile for business, that's what you want: You want everyone to be able to see your posts and follow your brand if they want to. (Otherwise, if you keep your profile private, anyone who visits your profile won't be able to see your photos, which might stop them from following you).
To ensure that your profile is public: Open "Options" and make sure that "Private account" is switched off.
2. recognizable and searchable @username
First, make sure your username is recognizable and easily searchable, like your company name. If your company name is already used as a username, try to keep your company name as the first part of your username so people searching for your business are more likely to come across your account. For example, the Australian activewear line Lorna Jane uses the username @lornajaneactive.
To edit your @username:
- Go to your profile page and click the "Edit Profile" button to the right of your profile photo.
- Then click on the text or empty space to the right of the person icon and enter your desired username.
3. easily searchable company name
Next, make sure to add your full company name in the "Name" section of your profile. This will appear under your profile picture and under your username in the search.
To edit your company name: Go to your profile page and click on "Edit Profile". Then click on the text or blank space next to the clipboard icon above and enter your desired company name.
4. an on-fire Instagram profile picture
Your profile photo is one of the first things people see when they visit your Instagram profile, as it's prominently displayed in the top right corner. So it should be something easily recognizable - something that connects with your other social networks.
For most businesses, this will be your company logo.
Now notice that FocusInternet profile photo in the image above is a circle. That wasn't our choice; Instagram will automatically crop your profile photo into a circle (110 pixels in diameter) when you upload it to the app.
You don't have to create the circle image yourself. Since you will need to crop your photo into a circle in the app, ideally you should upload a square photo with your logo in the middle, placed so that the corners of the photo can be easily cropped.
For reference, keep in mind that the minimum profile picture size for Instagram is 110 x 110 pixels - a perfect square. Don't stray too far from this minimum; it's recommended to stay under 200 x 200 so users don't see a blurry or stretched photo when they visit your profile page.
In the example below, you can see that the corners are shaded, which means Instagram is cropping them in the actual profile picture:
You can move or shrink this circle until it is cropped just the way you want it.
To add or change a profile photo: Go to your profile page and click on "Edit profile". Then tap "Edit" in the top right corner. (This will appear under your current profile photo if you have one).
From there, you can import a photo from Facebook or Twitter, or choose one from your library. (We don't recommend taking a new one on the spot).
Also, keep in mind the seasonal trends that occur throughout the year, and don't be afraid to temporarily change your image to honor a monthly theme.
A few cool Instagram profile pictures
This Instagram highlighting various cats on Instagram includes a profile picture that looks like that of a hipster cat.
This Instagram, which features various cats on Instagram, includes a profile picture that looks like that of a hipster cat.
Unlike most brands on Instagram, JetBlue shares a unique but branded color pattern, not just their logo.
Kylie Cosmetics, whose logo lipstick drips from voluminous lips, represents the brand perfectly. Anyone who follows this site also knows that the profile picture is changed regularly and the site's community managers always master the balancing act between brand and current topics.
5. delightful, practical, informative bio
Like your profile photo, your "bio" (i.e. the description at the top of your profile) is one of the first things visitors to your profile will see.
You have a maximum of 150 characters: Use them to let people know what you're about and give them a reason to follow you. State who you are and what you do, and be sure to add a touch of personality.
Here are some examples for inspiration:
- WeWork: "Reimagine your workspace. #wework“
- Oreo: "Playful moments from your favorite cookie."
- Califia Farms: "Something different, something better.
Let us show you what plants can do.
Always plant based. 🌱✨”
- Staples: "We help teams find fulfillment in Worklife by connecting people, ideas and solutions."
6. trackable link in your bio (which you change regularly).
One of the biggest frustrations people - especially businesses - have with Instagram is that it's not exactly a great platform for driving traffic from the app to a website, Twitter page, or anywhere else. That's because clickable URLs aren't allowed anywhere except in the single "website" box in your bio.
For this reason, you should add a link to the "Website" box in your business' Instagram bio. This makes it easy for people to go directly from Instagram to your website, blog, or a specific campaign.
A sneaky way to get people to click on the link in your bio? By referencing that link in individual captions. Have you ever seen captions that say something like "link in bio"? They're trying to direct you to their profile page so you'll click on the link in their bio.
Engage users by frequently updating this URL to point to your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer. For example, are you running a contest or want to increase subscribers to your blog? Just change the link, then post a photo that mentions the new link in the headline.
To change the link in your bio: Go to your profile page and click on "Edit Profile". Then simply paste the URL of your choice into the URL field.
You can change the URL on your profile page as often as you like.
If you changed the URL, simply post a photo associated with the URL with a caption that references the link in your bio.
7. activate notifications
Check your "Options" settings to make sure notifications are enabled so you can see when people share or comment on your photos. This way, you can connect with them faster and easier, just like many businesses do on Twitter.
To enable notifications: Go to "Options" and then "Push notification settings".
Select "From All" for each category. (Except maybe "Friends on Instagram," which automatically sends a friend request to your Facebook friends who also have Instagram, and "Direct Instagram Requests," which accepts photos sent from individual accounts. You might get a bit of spam with this).
8. high quality photos
High quality photos are a big part of an optimized Instagram profile. When people visit your profile, it's very likely that the first thing they'll do is scroll through the first ten or so photos in your feed. The quality of those photos will be a big factor in whether or not that person follows you. Your Twitter followers may forgive you for a few bad tweets, but you don't want bad photos on your Instagram account.
So always think of your Instagram photos this way: If you don't have anything beautiful to post, don't post anything at all.
The ingredients for a beautiful Instagram photo are threefold: an interesting and relevant subject, a well-framed and well-taken photo, and a solid editing job.
Ingredient #1: An interesting and relevant topic
When deciding on a theme, think about your buyer persona. What would they find interesting in a photo? Coca-Cola's target market includes young people who value fun, friendship and sports, for example. That's why they publish photos of young people doing fun, adventurous things - like DJing at a concert or snowboarding on a beautiful day. (With Coke bottles in hand, of course).
Photo Credits: Coca-Cola Argentina
Another great way to gain likes, comments and followers? Make people laugh. Sometimes funny photos are the most memorable and shareable.
Ingredient #2: A well-framed, well-taken photograph
Don't worry... you don't have to have a photography background to take really great Instagram photos. All you really need to do is take some time to learn best practices like lining up your shots, finding interesting perspectives, and taking advantage of symmetry, patterns, "leading lines," and more.
What are these best practices? Start with this blog post about tips for taking photos with your smartphone.
Ingredient #3: A solid processing step.
Instagram has some basic editing features, but they're often not enough to make a picture really, really great. Most of your photos should go through at least one or two other photo editing programs on your phone before you open them on Instagram for the first time.
Test for yourself what suits you best and which tool you can handle best.
9. consistent, regular posts
An optimized Instagram profile is an active profile. Because photo quality is so important, you don't need to worry about posting to your Instagram account multiple times a day like you do on most other social media networks. Instead, focus on creating high-quality content - and then sharing it to the correct Time to post for your specific audience.
So what time of day is the best time to post to Instagram? Because Instagram is primarily an app for use on mobile devices, users tend to use the network all the time, all the time - although research shows that many users engage with content more during non-work hours than during the workday.
The very best times to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays at any time except between 3pm and 4pm for your target persona's time zone.
However, you'll want to experiment with these to see if they work with your audience.