Facebook expert, Mari Smith, recently said that Instagram is Facebook’s new Facebook.
She’s probably right.
Instagram has been the social media darling of 2018 and its popularity continues to rise steadily. With over 800 million monthly users (and climbing), over half of those Instagrammers are logging in daily and most are checking in multiple times a day!
In this article, we’re covering some pro tips to help your profile shine and provide your audience with a clear and concise snapshot of your brand.
Here are a few pro tips to help you get primed for Instagram success!
1. Know the difference between your username and name and how to leverage them as keywords:
These are the only two areas that are searchable, so don’t waste them! Currently, you can’t search any other words in your profile, so these few characters are critical for discovery. Instagram is a discovery-focused platform, meaning, users are searching for keywords and hashtags on a regular basis to connect with their target community and topics.
Your “username” should be relevant to your brand and audience and typically will be your actual name or brand name. You only have 30 characters and cannot use spaces or symbols. If your own name or brand name is already taken, you may want to place a “.” Between your first and last name or add an underscore at the end like this “breakthroughbroker_” .
Don’t get cute or fancy with unusual spellings and do your best to keep this username consistent across all social channels.
The “name” section doesn’t have to be the same as your username and in fact, it’s a best practice to NOT make them the same! Your name section provides you with another opportunity to use keywords. If your username is your actual name, then you may want to consider using relevant keywords in the name section like this:
Username: john.smith Name: (house emoji) salt lake city homes
Instagram Profile Sections:
You can update your “name” as often as you like and change up your keywords
2. Only use Branded Hashtags in your Bio
Recently, Instagram allowed users to include clickable hashtags in their bio description. When this feature rolled out everyone started including hashtags in their bio BUT didn’t realize that by using generic or even niche hashtags, they were sending visitors away from their profile and content.
For example, if you were to include “#realestate” in your bio, while that may be relevant to what you do, when users click on it, they will be taken away from your profile and see a new page filled with all of the posts that have tagged that same keyword.
If you have a unique or personalized hashtag, referred to as a “branded hashtag” this is the time to use it! There’s nothing special to creating a branded hashtag, it simply is a word or short phrase that only you use so when people search for it they will find your content.
My branded hashtag is #chelschat and I use it on all of my posts. Other people also may use that hashtag in their posts as well. Now, when someone clicks that # in my bio, they will be taken to more of my content or content that others who are within my community have posted.
3. Create Instagram Story Highlights:
Instagram Stories are short, ephemeral photos or videos that only stick around for 24 hours. Now, you can save those individual Stories in “albums” that Instagram calls Highlights. Instagram is pushing their Stories product and users are flocking to it. With over 300 million DAILY users, Stories is on fire.
So, why use Highlights? For one thing, Instagram placed the Highlight section right between the profile/bio section and your actual feed, so people are naturally going to be drawn to seeing these little circles as they explore your account.
It’s also a great way to help people learn more about who you are and your brand in a much more personal manner. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but videos of you and your day to day can really give someone a good idea of what you’re all about.
Here’s an example of Tom Ferry’s Highlights which are in fact, eye-catching:
Here’s a quick walkthrough of how to create an Instagram Story Highlight:
Go to your profile and tap + below Stories Highlights.
Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap Next.
Choose a cover photo and enter a story name for your highlight, then tap Add. You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by tapping Edit Highlight.