The Instagram bio is often treated as an afterthought—a line or two about your company that you hastily fill out when you first create your account.
In reality, your bio is valuable digital real estate that welcomes users to your profile, conveys key information about your business, and turns profile visitors into followers and followers into customers.
But aside from writing a catchy company description, what else can you do to optimize your profile to make the most of your Instagram marketing efforts?
What your Instagram bio needs to accomplish
Your Instagram bio gives you 150 characters and a single external link to work with. Your username, which you can customize separately from your handle (i.e. @user), gives you another 30 characters.
That may not seem like much when you consider everything your profile should accomplish:
- Highlight essential information about your business (your brand name, category, etc.), which you can change in your profile settings
- Provide users with a way to get in touch with you
- Showcase your brand and your personality, matching your voice and style to your site and other social platforms
- Establish your USP, helping your target audience understand what makes your brand valuable to them
- Drive valuable actions, such as sharing or viewing content, registering for an event, or heading to your site to make a purchase
Luckily, there’s an array of Instagram features you can use alongside your written bio to cover these considerations with a profile that helps users quickly understand your business, what you’re selling, and how they can take further action.
How to create the perfect Instagram bio
Since you only have a limited number of characters at your disposal, there are a handful of objectives you need to prioritize in your bio before you start optimizing the rest of your profile.
1. Tell profile visitors who you are and why they should care
However you choose to express it, the first goal your bio needs to accomplish is to explain what your business offers and who you serve.
When new users discover you on Instagram for the first time, you need to quickly give them the info they need to keep them interested. You won’t have their attention for long, so use concise copy that gets your point across quickly.
For many brands, such as Knixwear in the example below, that means explicitly spelling it out for profile visitors in clear and simple terms.
Your bio doesn’t need to rely solely on text either. You can make it stand out by using:
- LingoJam to customize your font (just copy and paste the text into your bio)
- ☕️fun emojis to add personality
- ↴👇directional characters or emojis to draw attention to specific parts of your bio, like a link to your website
If you don’t have a solid elevator pitch yet for your business, you can use one of these templates to help you get started.
2. Use clickable tags to promote branded hashtags and sister accounts
The link in your bio isn’t the only thing visitors can click on to learn more about you.
If you have a branded hashtag, include it in your bio to draw clicks and take interested users to a feed of branded or user-generated content. Just type it in your bio as you would any hashtag.
Pura Vida, for example, uses a linked hashtag in their bio to promote their branded hashtag: #PuraVidaBracelets.
This actively encourages customers to create and share photos of themselves wearing their bracelets. Branded hashtags are also searchable, which provides a variety of benefits:
- It makes it easier for Pura Vida to collect this content so they can reshare it.
- It allows them to ensure customers use the right hashtag with clear instructions in their bio.
- When users click on the hashtag, they’ll be taken to an entire feed of branded or user-generated content, which is a big win for their brand.
Similarly, you can tag other accounts to direct profile visitors to your other properties. If you have a sub-brand or a partnership you want to highlight, you can mention it in your bio (i.e. “@username”) and it’ll appear in your bio as a link.
Fashion Nova is a fantastic example of a brand that uses mention tagging well in their bio. They have separate Instagram profiles for their men’s and plus-size sub-brands.
By tagging these accounts in their main profile, they ensure that they send users to the accounts with the content and products best suited for them.
3. Include calls to action
Featuring a call to action (CTA) in your bio’s copy can be a valuable addition. CTAs significantly increase the likelihood that users take the action you’re describing because they explain exactly what to do and how to do it.
There are a number of different actions you can prioritize in your bio—you can even squeeze in a couple of different CTAs—so consider what would be most valuable to your business and make room for that.
Here are some approaches you can take with your CTAs:
- Be direct: “Click our bio link to shop our latest products.”
- Encourage users to share: “Tag #brandedhashtag to be featured”
- Promote a limited time offer: “Shop our Black Friday sale”
- Highlight a contest: “Share your favorite flavor for a chance to win!👇”
No matter what CTA you use, there are a few best practices to always keep in mind:
- Feature your highest priority CTA at the end of the bio. People will be more likely to take that action after you’ve established who you are. Plus, it puts your CTA in close proximity to your link.
- Give clear instructions where needed. If you want to get users to contribute to your branded hashtag, opt for something like “share your unboxing experience with #opensesame” with a clickable hashtag at the end.
- Start with the action. Begin your CTA with a verb (Start, Shop, Tag, etc.) to get straight to the point and eliminate unnecessary words.
Keep in mind that your bio can be adapted to promote special events like a seasonal sale, contest, or an upcoming trade show. You can always swap in new CTAs and links to prioritize limited time offers or events.
4. Make the most of your bio link
With swipe-up story links and shopping on Instagram, there are plenty of options now to drive traffic to your site from Instagram. But your Instagram bio link is still a valuable opportunity to send profile visitors to any page you’d like them to visit—whether it’s a Kickstarter campaign or a YouTube video.
Many brands link out to their website’s homepage by default until they have the chance to promote something specific.
However, you can also link to:
- Your latest product launch to ride the wave of any other Instagram marketing efforts that bring attention to it
- A link curation page, powered by a tool like Link Tree, to promote a variety of links
- A signup page for a course, email list, contest, etc.
- Your latest article or video if content is at the heart of your business
- An event registration page, such as a Meetup or tradeshow
Just be sure to adapt your bio copy to incorporate a call to action for your new link when you add one.
If you want to track just how effective your bio link is at driving traffic relative to other Instagram sources, you can use a URL shortener like Bit.ly, along with UTM tracking, to measure just how many click-throughs it’s generating.
Whatever option you choose, keep your goals in mind and where you cover them across your profile and content. You can change your bio link as often as you want, and increase its effectiveness by letting users know in individual posts and stories to “check out your bio link for more info.”
5. Adding “Action Buttons” to help users reach you
Speaking from experience, it’s extremely common for users to contact you after they come across your brand on Instagram.
Sometimes they’ll send you a direct message on Instagram, but if that’s their only option it can quickly become hard to manage. That’s why it’s important to direct customers to your preferred channels, whether it’s a phone number, email, or even directions to your store if you have a physical location.
Filling out your contact information on Instagram shifts most of this responsibility from your written bio to the appropriate “Action Buttons” that are easy to find when customers visit your profile.
You can do this by editing your profile and tapping on “Contact Options.”
From here, you can enter contact information or channels that makes it easy for customers to reach you:
- Phone number, which you can set for users to either call or text you
- Email address, which will open the user’s default email app, ready to compose a message to the provided address
- Address, which will be converted into “Directions,” allowing users to pull up your business on a map and see where it is in relation to their current location
- Third-party services to book an appointment, buy a ticket, and more through platforms like Booksy and Eventbrite
People will use the contact information you provide, so only enter information for customer service channels you actually support. If you don’t have a phone line dedicated for customer support, don’t add in your personal phone number just because you want to have something there.
This contact info will appear as clickable buttons on your profile when viewed through Instagram’s mobile app. If you have more than three action buttons, the rest will be accessible by tapping the three dots, like in the example below.
6. Enable Shopping on Instagram to showcase your products
You may have noticed the “Shop” action button in some of the examples above.
The Shop tab will appear by default after you set up Shopping on Instagram and start tagging images with product tags. You can learn more about how to set this up in your own Shopify store.
The Shop tab is also home to all the content you’ve tagged with your product tags, giving users the opportunity to shop your collection through the photos you’ve posted. They can tap on any of these photos to view it and to learn more about the products featured in them, and tap once more to visit the product page on your website to make a purchase.
Try to only use product tags on photos that clearly show off your products to create a carefully curated gallery of product photos under your Shop tab.
7. Curate Highlights for your profile
Stories are an essential part of Instagram marketing, and Story Highlights give them a longer lasting presence on your profile. They allow you to save individual stories into different “highlights,” which you get to name and organize as you see fit.
These highlights will live in your profile indefinitely right underneath your bio, above your feed, and when clicked will show the saved Stories one after another.
Not only will your expired stories of the day be given a longer lifespan, but you’ll also be able to feature content that strongly represents your brand at the top of your feed where users are most likely to see it.
This gives you a chance to control the narrative, and even produce stories with the express purpose of turning them into highlights.
Creating highlights is easy. Head to your profile page, and then click the “New+” circle under your bio, and you’ll be able to select all the stories you want to add to this specific highlight.
You’ll then be asked to name your highlight. Note that you only get a maximum of 15 characters, including spaces, so you want to be clear and creative enough to grab attention.
After you’re all set, edit the cover image and it will be published to your profile. You can add to your highlights at any time by simply clicking on it and pressing “Edit.”
There are countless ways you could organize your highlights, but some of the more common themes include:
- Event coverage or event details
- User-generated content
- Product tutorials
- “How It’s Made” content
- Behind the scenes content
- Product features or highlights of bestsellers
- News and announcements
Make the most of your Instagram bio
As you go about building relationships with others on Instagram and posting new content for your current followers, users are bound to visit your Instagram profile out of curiosity or for a quick update about your business.
Your bio is your shot at making a strong introduction on behalf of your brand and convincing these visitors to stick around for a while or even follow along.