At the end of 2017, Instagram had 25 million business accounts. Twenty-five MILLION. These accounts know there’s no shortage of opportunities to reach your audience, engage, and promote new items that users can shop directly from their profile. In fact, two-thirds of profile visits to businesses come from people who aren’t even following that particular business.
While many of those accounts are likely operated by someone who has a personal Instagram profile, how do you know where to start from a business perspective? How can you build your profile up from scratch and reach the people that you’re aiming for?
There’s a few tricks you can implement to optimize your Instagram profile to reap the benefits. It’s not a one-size-fits-all formula, so you should try each of these steps and tweak them accordingly as you go.
How to optimize your profile
First things first, you must have a business account. This will give you access to many of the tools mentioned later in this article, but also to Instagram Insights which will help you understand your audience as far as the content they engage with and when they’re most active.
It also enables you to add action buttons, access Instagram shopping, and Instagram ads. These offer different ways for your audience to discover and engage with your brand beyond only having a basic profile with photos to promote your products.
You also want a username, also known as a handle, that is simple, recognizable, and easy to find. This allows customers or clients to search for you through these platforms and ensures your business is at the top of the list.
Branded profile photo
You want your profile image to be representative of your brand. It should also be something people will recognize either from your website or other marketing materials they may have seen from you.
It also strengthens your business presence to make your profile photo the same across all the social channels you’re active on.
Write a bio
There are only 150 characters to use in the bio, so use them wisely! It should focus on your customers rather than your business - what can you do for them? A strong formula to use is providing a summary of what you do and the key benefit, the key benefit explained, and then finish with a call-to-action.
This is also a good opportunity to write something that expresses your brand’s personality or deeper mission.
How will users visiting your profile know what you do or who you are without a bio? This is a very big step in optimizing your profile.
Include a compelling call-to-action
At the conclusion of your bio, be sure to include a call-to-action to guide users to what they should do next. Whether it’s visiting your website, scheduling a call, or emailing you, make it clear how they can move further along the buyer journey.
You can optimize the link in your profile and change this call-to-action based on what you want users to do. If you have a new piece of content, you can urge them to “Read More” and direct them to the article on your site, or if you have a new clothing line out you can suggest they "Shop Now" and lead them to a landing page with the new looks.
You should also be using a trackable link for any and all new promotions you’re running. This will give you insight into how many times it’s clicked, how many are unique clicks, top referrers, and location. A good tool to use for this would be Bitly.
This step is less about optimizing your profile specifically, but will help your account maintain activity. These pages grow best when they are part of a community and that requires a lot of engagement and interactions.
I recommend having one person in charge of responding to comments and messages, so that you don’t have two people responding to the same notification at the same time saying two different things.
Share quality content
Instagram relies highly on visual content, as it’s a very visual platform. Once a visitor comes to your profile, you have one chance to make a lasting impression on them, so be sure your content is great and also armed with a strong brand aesthetic.
Brainstorm what style or imagery would resonate with your target audience most. How do you want to make them feel? Once you choose a look, be sure to stick to it.
Use Instagram Stories
This is a great outlet to showcase your content and offers. Stories are right along the top of the home news feed, so even if a user doesn’t scroll through to see your content, you can still promote, educate, and engage users.
You can even send your actual post to your stories, and with the right image you can encourage followers to click through to the post itself and engage there.
Add action buttons
Action buttons hang out at the top of your page below your bio and provide users a simple way to interact with your business. Optimizing your profile to use these buttons helps users to take the next step in building a relationship with your brand.
Director of product management, Vishal Shah, once said that they aim to “move from a place where business is discovered to a place where business is done.” These buttons help do that by driving users along to the next step in getting to know your brand, product, or service.
Upload multigrid images
Uploading images that are indecipherable can make customers curious which in turn makes them want to visit your profile to see the full image themselves. Be sure you have your bio, link, call-to-action, and action buttons set for when they do!
Keep in mind how frequently you use this tactic though. Posting small snippets of larger images too frequently may annoy some followers into unfollowing you as it starts to look spammy.
Link to a mobile-optimized site
Most users are accessing Instagram from their mobile devices. Providing a poor first impression with a website that isn’t optimized for these screens can hurt your chances of them returning and becoming a loyal customer. Check with your website developer or host to make sure those screens operate and look the way they should.
You should also check the page speed of your site. Research found that 50% of users exit a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load properly.
Build a thoughtful content calendar
Your content is the main piece to this attraction - it’s all front and center rather than being buried beneath other content down your profile page. Go into your strategy with a thoughtful sequence of cohesive content to build a comprehensible brand narrative.
Earn a blue checkmark
Having a blue checkmark on your page means it’s verified. This helps to increase your credibility among followers and users because it indicates to them that this account represents the official voice of your business.
You can do this by submitting a request through your account settings. It requires you to fill out your username, full name, what your company is known as, the category it falls into, and then either a tax filing, recent utility bill, or article of incorporation.
Submitting a request for verification, however, does not guarantee that your account will be verified.
Optimized to win
Follow these steps to ensure your profile is optimized to the best of your ability. From here, it’s up to you to remain engaged with your audience and followers to build a solid foundation for growth.
Taken all of these actions and still not seeing results? Pop over to my contact form and let’s connect to see how I can help!