Written by John Allen
If you’re familiar with Instagram already, then you’ll be aware that the bio section is usually pretty short and snappy. Often, folks will put in a hilarious one-liner, their contact information, and/or maybe some info about who they are and what they do. It’s unusual to find two bios that are exactly the same (unless someone’s trying to steal another person’s identity), and what you should put on yours will depend entirely on your brand.
Having a short space means you have to get creative and selective, which is good for your business because it appeals to short attention spans. In one study, 29% of respondents stated that they allocate most of their advertising money to Instagram, which makes having a good bio all the more important. As well as following links directly to sellers’ websites, people might also check out the company’s Instagram page to learn more about them.
What are you doing this for?
Before you start, you need to figure out the purpose of your Instagram account. What do you want to achieve from it? Are you trying to make a living off of Instagram as an affiliate marketer? Do you want to make sales? Get people to hire you? Do you want people to watch your videos and engage with your content? Do you want people to learn more about you?
81% of respondents in one survey said that Instagram helps them to research products and services, so getting your raison d'être on point is crucial. If you know how you want to present yourself to the world via Instagram, then you already have the first step nailed.
We’ll run through some top tips for you in this section. Not all of them will be as relevant as others for your particular business, but hopefully, you’ll find some gems that help you out.
Having little icons in your bio might seem a bit juvenile, but they are a great way to break up the text, add a pop of color, and offer information quickly. Take this bio as an example:
Fran is a skater based in Southern California. As well as making money from ads and collaborations, she also sells art online. She’s originally from Puerto Rico, and she cares about including her pronouns. You can tell all of this from her bio. The pops of color that her icons bring offer a nice path for your eyes to follow. You can instantly see the Puerto Rican flag, the skate icon, and the art icon.
This is not only useful for people with dyslexia who might benefit from less text, but also for anyone with a short amount of time to spend reading a single bio. You can see what this person is about just from the three images she chose.
You may not want to include your nationality in your bio. This is only really important if it’s central to your brand identity. Many people will go for quite a simple selection based on what it is they do - a camera for photography, a location pin to highlight where they’re based, a pen if they’re a writer. You get the idea. Applying visual communication to social media is a great shout.
This one is important if your business is confined to a specific area, like a restaurant or music venue. If you have a physical shop or office, then you should include the location in your bio. If you’re based in a particular area but can travel for work, you should include the distance you’re willing to travel, or just put “available worldwide” if that’s the case. Or, if you operate an outbound call center or an online PBX, the location may not be relevant at all.
Instagram offers the option to include your pronouns in your bio without taking up any extra space. By this, we mean whether you prefer to be referred to as “she/her,” “he/him,” or “they/them” (or a combination of these). Pronouns appear in gray rather than black next to your handle. It’s up to you whether you include this - if you’re part of a company with multiple people, it might not make sense to use them.
However, if you’re an individual, it might be a good idea to use them because, for one thing, it’s an extra piece of information that you can include at no cost to yourself.
Business or personal website link
If you have a single website that you want to direct your followers towards, then you should include that in your bio. You don’t want to inundate your bio with links, so this is only really suitable if you only have one website that you feel is relevant. If you have multiple links, you’ll want to use a…
Bio link tool
Linktree and Shorby are two examples of bio link tools that you can include in your bio. What do they do? Well, they offer a tidy way for people to get access to a bunch more of your links without cluttering up your bio. With a single click, followers can access a list of your other links, like business websites, fundraisers, even promoting the best VoIP service for business that you’re using, you name it.
Here’s how it works:
How to contact you
If the best way to contact you is directly via Instagram, you don’t need to specify that. Just make sure you know that you can’t recover deleted Instagram messages. If, however, you have an email address that you prefer people to use, then you should include that in your bio. A simple “Contact me: email@example.com” or some variation of this would suffice. This is particularly important if you don’t check your Instagram very often.
Call to action
You may or may not want to include a call to action on your bio, in other words, an action you wish people reading your bio to take. You might include an arrow icon pointing at your website, a “call me today at XXX-XXXX-XXX for a quote” message. You might have a limited-time offer that you want to advertise in your bio with a link to access it.
You can change your bio at any time, so you can use this space for short-term projects and time-limited information.
If you have a particular event you want to advertise, this is a good place to talk about it because it’s an attention-grabbing spot. If you choose this, make sure to include a link to make it easy for people to find further details.
If you’re in the business of comedy, a funny one-liner is a popular choice. You don’t have to be a comedian to opt for this, however. Just keep it relevant to your business - a pun about a b testing is perfectly acceptable if your business is in marketing. Adding a little warmth to your bio makes you seem more human, which is always a plus.
What you actually do
This is crucial. Whatever your business is, spell it out (concisely). If you’re a translator, mention this along with your language pairs. If you created a queue calling system for some of the small office phone systems, say it. You want to find the sweet spot of specificity. Including too many details will clutter your bio up, but you want to put in the basics at least.
A great profile picture
Right next to your bio is your profile pic, so make it one that fits with your overall brand. It could be your logo, a picture of something you manufacture, or yourself.
Your other Instagram handles
You can, if you wish, use your Instagram Bio to promote your other Instagram pages, especially if you want to direct followers from your fun, more personal account(s) towards your money-maker(s).
Now that we’ve covered our top tips, here is our list of top no-nos. Maybe you want to be a rebel and do all of these, and who can stop you? No one! But we’ll put them out here for reference.
Long bios are easy to ignore. The more you write, the less people are likely to absorb from a quick glance. Stick to a few key elements to make your bio POP.
You don’t want to clutter your bio with any information that’s not relevant to your customers, such as your project timeline organization strategy. General information is great, but folks can contact you or go to your website for the nitty-gritty (like exact prices, exact times of availability, etc.) You don’t need to explain at length about the equipment you use, or who your favorite philosopher is.
Broken links happen and can occasionally be forgiven, but you don’t want the link in your precious bio to be broken. It doesn’t look profesh, it increases exit rate, and can cost you clients. This is the Instagram version of shopping cart abandonment online.
Overly generic bios
You want to inject your own/your brand’s personality into your bio, so whatever you do, don’t copy/paste anyone else’s and just add some minor tweaks.
Italics and “funky” fonts just look a little basic and are often used by bots, scammers, and fake accounts. At best, they’re reminiscent of 2005’s MySpace. You can use hip and classy tattoo fonts or stay on the minimalist side that are clean and simple. Focus on the words rather than stylized calligraphy.
💡Suggested read: Find a great font for your Instagram profile
To sum up, you want a bio that’s clear, snappy, poppy, and relevant. Make sure your links and contact details are correct, include some icons, keep it tidy with the fonts and word count, and warm it up with something fun or personal. Developing a culture of quality over quantity for your brand starts with your Instagram Bio.
About the Author
John Allen is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue.