How to build a brilliant Instagram profile (and 3 mistakes to avoid)

Your Instagram profile is your opportunity show people who you are, what you do and how you can bring value to their life. Yet when I look around at start-ups, solopreneurs and even some of the established brands, I'm surprised by the number of Instagram profiles making rookie errors. Make the best first impression with your Instagram profile by avoiding these three mistakes. Good news is, they're easy to fix. 

Mistake #1: The same username and profile name

If you are a new business or want to grow your following on Instagram this tip is for you. There are only two searchable areas on your Instagram profile: your 'username' (aka your user handle) and your 'name'.

Unless you're a well-known brand name that people are specifically searching for, you want to increase your chances of being found by making these different. Why? People use Instagram as a tool for discovery, they may type 'leather watch' or 'freelance stylist melbourne'. By having what you do written as your 'name' you have a better chance of being found in search.

If you are a service provider and you are your business be sure to include your name! Using your name and what you do makes it easier for someone to confidently click on you in search results. 

Take action: Use your business name or real name as your 'username' up to 30 characters, and a different more descriptive one-liner as your 'name' up to 30 characters. This could be swapped too if you are your business but operate under a brand name. See a great example below from gorgeous Australian based gift box company Afternoon Pick Me Up. They use their company name as their username and explain what they offer in their name. 

Afternoon Pick Me Up Instagram

Mistake #2: No bio (or a really vague and boring one)

This blows my mind but some business accounts still don't have a 'bio'. The bio is your chance to quickly connect with your audience and tell them what they can expect from you. You have up to 150 characters to get the message across. This element isn't searchable but is a crucial element to build a connection with you audience.  

And if you have got a bio but aren't seeing many followers flock to you, it could be a little to vague or boring. Think of it like a date, if it's talking only about you it's probably a turn off.  A great Instagram bio explains your why or your mission and philosophy behind what you do. It should demonstrate value to your target audience and be more about them than you. Use keywords that resonate with your audience to boost your chance of being found. 

Take action: Does your Instagram bio share your purpose? Take Patagonia as an example. They could say they supply outdoor clothing and gear for climbing, surfing etc, but instead they share their deeper purpose around environmental solutions (while still sneaking in a mention that they have the best products).

Bonus tip: If you are having trouble sticking to Instagram's 150 character limit, use emojis. Not only will save precious characters, one study shows that Instagram profiles with emojis receive a higher interaction rate and are perceived more positively than those that don't. So have a play with emojis to add some colour and personality to your bio. 

Patagonia Instagram

Mistake #3: No link in bio (or an irrelevant one

The link in bio is one of the most important pieces of information in your bio. Traffic is the lifeblood of your website and if you're not showing people how to find it, you are leaving money on the table. It allows people to move from Instagram to you in the click of a button.

There are surprisingly still accounts out there not using this high value Instagram real estate. And some are using it but their links are out of date or irrelevant. So check yours and make sure it's clear and relevant at all time. 

Take action: Check your link, is it clear to the audience where it goes? Rad nail polish brand Kester Black do a great job (see below). They haven't used a shortener so you can see where you're heading - off to their official website shop. A+!

Bonus tip: If you've ever wished you could use more than one link, I have good news for you. Take advantage of a cool (and free) tool called Linktree. It allows you to turn one link into multiple destinations. It's genius if you have multiple offers, downloads or destinations to share with your audience! We use it @coolwowcollective so head over there to see it in action. 

Kester Black Instagram

These are just a few Instagram essentials to get your profile looking tip-top and attracting more business your way. If you need a hand sorting out your Instagram or social media strategy please get in touch and we will hook you up with one of our onto it social media marketing freelancers


Haley Berryman

Written by Haley Berryman.

Haley is a freelance marketer and copywriter and the founder of Cool Wow Collective. You can follow her daily life and get more marketing tips on Instagram @marketingwithhaley