Setting Up Your IG Account
Some of you might find it easy enough to set up your own Instagram accounts. However, the real question is, are you doing it right though? There are a bazillion things that might go wrong when setting up your account, such as having an easy-to-forget username, or a wacky profile picture that many people find unflattering. These simple mistakes may shun other people from following you, thus, it is important that you set up your account properly.
1. Your Username
You should elect a username that is short and easy to remember. It should also be related to what you are posting/your content. You cannot have @cutecats as your username if you’re posting photos of muscle cars. That is just not right as there is no correlation to it.
Avoid dots, underscores and other characters/symbols in your username. It might look cute, and Instagram might allow it, but it doesn’t mean it should be there. The faster a person types your username, the better, and having an underscore in your username means that they need to take an additional step in order to type the underscore symbol. Here is a sample of a bad Instagram username:
It is best if you use keywords in your username. Remember, you have to think like a normal consumer. If you are going to be posting images of horse saddles, make sure that the word ‘saddle’ is included in your username.
2. What’s in a Name?
The name section of your Instagram doesn’t have to include your real name per se. Experts say that you should treat the name section as part of your SEO, and instead of typing in your name, you can include keywords in there that are relevant to your Instagram account. To do this, you have to go to your profile page and click on “Edit Profile”.
Here is a good example. This is Farfasha Flowers, a flower shop in Bahrain.
As you can see, in the name section, they wrote “Flower Shop”. This section is searchable on Instagram, therefore, if you search for “flower shop” their Instagram page pops up. Believe me, there are those who search for products or services on Instagram and if your page has the keyword or keywords that they are searching for, your page will surely appear in the search results.
On Instagram, nothing is permanent. If you don’t like the username and name that you selected, you can change it at any time. Be wary though: if you change your username later on, all the tags, shoutouts, and mentions will be gone, so try to stick to what you have initially picked for your username and name.
All About You
The bio is just as important as the name and username. If you haven’t filled out the bio or about me section in your other social media accounts, treat Instagram differently. It is what users see the first time they land on your page. This your ticket to whether they will stay longer on your page or not. Is your page relevant to what they are looking for? If they get intrigued by your bio, the will most likely stay and continue browsing.
There are various ways on how you can attack your bio section. You can list all the things that the users will see on your page such as the one below:
Based on his bio, you can see that James is a 20-year-old photographer, originally from the UK, but is currently located in Istanbul, Turkey. You can tell that he also has plans of traveling to Dubai. He also has his business email where you can send your proposals, and another email address where you can send your comments, suggestions, or a simple “hi”. Just with a few emojis and words, he was able to tell a lot about himself.
Another way to do a bio is by doing it narrative style, but make sure you make it short and sweet, like Time Ferriss’ bio below. He knows what’s important, and that is for you to know that he is a bestselling author, and he has a podcast with over 400,000 downloads. That’s not a simple feat.
Also, see how Tim has a link in his bio? This is called a Call to Action. This is important as this allows you to put any URL in this section, and there is a bigger chance that people will click on it, instead of just putting it in one of your posts. Musicians, for one, change their links often. If they have a newly released album, they sometimes put the album’s playable link in this section, like the artist below:
So, to summarize the bio section:
1. Make sure that it is short and easy to understand.
2. Compare other Instagram bios and look at how they optimize and streamline their bios.
3. Make use of the URL section and put your Call to Action link.
Take a jab at creating your own logo. It doesn’t need to be overly done or look something that Pixar or Disney designed. You can use photoshop and take inspiration from other logo designs (but don’t copy!), or if you don’t know how to use photoshop, you can also use GIMP, Canva, or other popular photo editing tools.
If you don’t like to do it on your own, you can always have a professional do it for you. Again, it’s the 21st century, and hiring a professional to do your logo for you isn’t that expensive anymore. Because of the advances in technology, graphic design courses are widespread, and so they are not a rare breed anymore. Today, you can hire a graphic designer for a few bucks, either on fiverr.com, upwork.com, freelancer.com, and all other freelancing sites available.
What’s Your Type?
There are two types of Instagram accounts: personal or business. If you don’t have plans to monetize your Instagram account, you can retain your ‘personal’ account type. However, if you want to know how your Instagram account is doing in terms of engagement, etc., then better switch to ‘business’ account. Switching to a business account doesn’t cost you money. It’s free!
There are two reasons why you should be switching to a business account even if you don’t have plans to monetize it hardcore.
1. You are able to see your Instagram insights. Anyone can follow you on Instagram, and so, being able to tell the demographics of your followers, and which of your posts are performing well, is gold! It will then be easy for you to replicate this in the following days so that you can exponentially grow your followers.
2. In your Instagram stories, you can then ask your followers to swipe up if they want to learn more about something. The swipe up feature is a powerful tool in Instagram. If you are selling something on Instagram, or just want people to go to a specific URL when they swipe up, you can instruct them to. Here is a good example of the swipe up feature:
In this Instagram story, the picture that they used in their story is enough to catch everyone’s attention. Who wouldn’t like these amazing looking chocolate pumpkin muffins? They look so delicious! And so, for those who would like to know how these cupcakes were made, you can swipe up for the complete recipe. It’s that simple! It’s all about bringing convenience to your followers.
Instagram highlights are these circular little icons that you see under the bio. These greatly improve the overall aesthetic of your Instagram. Highlights come from your Instagram stories, and during posting, you can opt to add your story to your highlights. You can either create a new highlight folder or add it to an existing one.
Since stories last only for 24 hours, saving them under highlights will make them stick forever. If, say, you have an Instagram account on money matters, you can name highlight one as ‘Saving’, then highlight two as ‘Investing’, so all your stories about saving money will go to your ‘Saving’ highlight, and all investing stories will be added to the ‘Investing’ highlight. This also makes it easier for other users to see your content “topics” as they are all categorized. If they are only interested on how to invest their money, they don’t need to scroll through your page; they only need to click on your ‘Investing’ highlight and watch all your bunch stories in there.
If your highlights are categorized in an orderly manner and are interesting enough, there is a higher chance that your visitors will become your followers.
Here is a great sample of how highlights should look like in your pages:
Sir Richard Branson, the CEO and Founder of Virgin Group, has grouped his stories into different highlights in such a way that it shows both his business accomplishments in Virgin Group, and his personal activities as well.
When doing highlights, make sure that you choose a pretty icon to represent the stories in this collection. If you will be doing a highlight called ‘Money Tips’, make sure that the icon has a money picture on it. This will appear as little circular icons on your page, and having an irrelevant icon of, say, a car, on your ‘Money Tips’ icon will confuse people. You can even have this made by a professional so that there’s uniformity such as the example below:
Who to Follow?
When you are in your Instagram-building infancy, make sure that you follow some pages in the same niche as yours. So, for example, you have an Instagram page about Switzerland tourist spots. You can follow other pages that promote Switzerland so that your account will appear under the suggested pages section when they click on the drop-down button.