20 min read
Human beings are wired to make snap judgments.
It only takes a blink of an eye to form a first impression of a work colleague, a potential client, a stranger at a party—or a new account on Instagram.
If you're building your personal brand or running an online business, it's essential you make a great first impression. And on Instagram, that first impression starts with crafting a remarkable Instagram bio.
Like in real life, most Instagram users will quickly scan your bio when sizing up whether they should check out more of your content or follow you. If your Instagram bio is boring, confusing, or poorly formatted, you'll lose their interest immediately—along with any chance of them becoming future clients or customers for your business.
To help you get the most out of your Instagram bio, I've put together everything you need to know to create a standout Instagram bio, with tons of Instagram bio ideas and inspiration to help you attract your ideal audience, turn those visitors into subscribers or customers, and make more sales.
But before we dive in, let's take a quick refresher on what an Instagram bio is, and why it's so important.
Your Instagram bio is part of your Instagram profile—specifically the area of text underneath your name and profile picture on your Instagram feed. It's a 150-character text field that can include custom text, emojis, links, hashtags, and contact information.
“Your bio is your elevator pitch,” explains design educator Kelsey Baldwin of Paper & Oats. “You've got just a few lines to tell people what you're about, how you can help them, why they should follow you, and sprinkle in a bit of your personality along the way. I've changed mine up a lot over the years, often inspired by someone else who had something interesting in their bio that caught my eye and made me want to learn more about them.”
Here's a great example of an Instagram bio and profile from Talia Koren of Workweek Lunch:
Talia's bio has all the essential elements of a great Instagram bio:
We'll dive into Talia's bio in more detail in a moment, but first, let's see why creating a standout Instagram bio is so important.
Your bio is often the first thing Instagram users see when they open your profile. That makes it your best opportunity to introduce yourself and your brand, help your audience understand what you do and who you serve, and prompt them on the next steps.
With only 150 characters of text to play with, your Instagram bio needs to:
Little bio—big responsibility. Let's find out how you can set your Instagram bio up for success.
As I mentioned above, your Instagram bio includes more than just the text blurb on your profile. Your profile picture, username and name, bio text, category, and call-to-action buttons all need to work in sync for your Instagram bio to do its best work.
Let's walk through Talia's profile we saw above, and see what you can learn and put into action on your Instagram bio.
Start by choosing your Instagram profile picture
Your Instagram profile pic sets you apart in a crowded feed. It's the first thing many Instagram users see when they open your profile, so you need to make a great first impression.
Picking the perfect profile pic (try saying that 10 times fast!) doesn't have to be complicated. If you're running a brand like Workweek Lunch, you can use your company logo or mark, or an image of your product. Just make sure the image you choose is easily recognizable, even when your profile picture is tiny.
If you're building your personal brand on Instagram (say, you're a coach or blogger), the choice is simple—pick a great headshot and use that as your profile picture, like this example from business coach Mariah Coz:
No matter which profile picture you choose, try to use the same photo across all your social media profiles. Keeping things consistent helps ensure your audience will easily recognize you, no matter where they happen to find you.
Your name and username are entirely different fields on your Instagram profile, and you can customize them in different ways.
Your username or handle appears at the top—it's how people will link to your profile and tag you on Instagram. Your name shows below your profile picture in bold text.
Instagram lets you customize the name field however you like, without needing to change your username or handle. And most importantly, both fields are searchable from within Instagram:
Since your name is searchable, it's the perfect place to share important details about your business. Most creators I came across when researching this article included their personal name or brand name in the username field, and sometimes additional descriptive keywords in their name field, like how Talia includes both her name and her business name in the example above.
Think about the keywords most clients or customers would be searching for on Instagram—either your brand name, like in Talia's example, or your business category, like “business coach.” Be sure to include those terms in your Instagram name field to help potential customers find you.
Your bio is the most critical part of your Instagram profile. It's your chance to let your brand shine, share details about your business, and prompt visitors to take action.
There's a lot that goes into writing a great bio, so I'll show you how to write an excellent Instagram bio in a moment—but first, let's look at the other fields.
If you've converted your Instagram account to an Instagram Business profile, you can add additional contact details and call-to-action (CTA) buttons right on your Instagram profile. You can add links to your website, and your phone number and email address so people can get in touch with you. Adding contact details to your profile makes it easier for customers to get in touch, and also lets you conserve the precious text in your bio for other uses.
You can also select a relevant category for your business, which shows up underneath your name.
Switching to an Instagram Business profile also unlocks other benefits for your business, like access to Instagram's built-in Insights tools and the ability to run ads and promote posts. If you haven't converted your account already, it's a great time to get started.
Have you seen those circles that show up below the profile on some Instagram feeds? Those are called Stories Highlights—top Stories chosen by creators to pin to their feed permanently.
Stories appear below the CTA buttons on your feed, and clicking on them opens them up like a regular Instagram Story.
To add Story Highlights to your feed, simply click the + button on your profile underneath Story Highlights, and choose one or more Stories you'd like to add. By default, Instagram will pick a cover photo (the image shown on your bio) from your Story. If you want to keep your bio neat and tidy, you can also upload a custom photo for each Story Highlight, like Abbey from The Butter Half does on her Instagram bio:
Your new Story Highlight will appear on your profile automatically—they're a great way to share a snapshot of your best content with new followers.
Now the rest of your Instagram profile is ready to go, let's take a closer look at writing the perfect Instagram bio.
There are a million different ways you could write your Instagram bio—but the best of the bunch (especially when you're using Instagram to grow your business) tend to include a few common elements. Let's look at a few top Instagram bio examples, and some top tips for crafting your bio.
You might only have 150 characters to play with, but that doesn't mean your Instagram bio can't help attract your ideal customers and subscribers. Instagram users are looking to follow people like them or people they want to be like.
Being clear in your bio about your business and your ideal customers helps attract the right followers—the ones more likely to follow you on Instagram, join your mailing list, and (fingers crossed) become clients or customers.
Always try to use first-person in your Instagram bio. Speaking directly to your target audience, like how weight management coach Jen from Coaching by Jennifer does in her bio, builds trust and shows your audience you understand their needs.
The best Instagram bios explain precisely who you are, what your business does, and for whom—often all in one sentence. To show you what I mean, check out how Hollie Arnett of Black & White Studios sums up what she does (brand coach) and who she serves (creative entrepreneurs) in one short sentence:
Here's another excellent example from sales and content strategist Amie Finlayson. Like Hollie, Amie is super-clear on who she serves (online coaches and experts) and how she helps them (predict launch profits and build buyer-centric communities).
Last but not least, don't be afraid to let your personality shine. Simply being yourself is a great way to help your business stand out on Instagram and reach the right audience. Adding a few personal touches to your Instagram bio, like how Kelsey Baldwin mentions that she's a mom, instantly lets visitors know if they want to follow you—even before they've seen your Instagram feed content.
Think about the most important things you can share in your Instagram bio to attract your ideal customers and clients, and make the most of those 150 characters.
You might only be able to add one external link to your Instagram bio—but you can add as many hashtags and profile usernames as you can fit.
Every hashtag and profile username you add to your bio becomes a clickable link that leads visitors directly to the hashtag or profile you link. Simply type “@” or “#” followed by the account username or hashtag that you'd like to link, and Instagram will automatically turn it into a clickable link. It's a handy way to link between your personal and business feeds on Instagram, list clients and customers, or share your brand hashtags.
The best way to use this feature is to link between multiple accounts you run. For example, check out how Eric Friedensohn of Efdot Studio promotes his new community account @muralists in his bio. Eric also links right back to his personal profile from the community profile bio, giving potential clients and customers twice as many opportunities to reach him.
Let's say you run a podcast with a separate Instagram profile. You can add a link to the podcast profile in your bio, like how blogger and online business coach Melyssa Griffin links to her Limitless Life podcast:
You can also add branded hashtags in your bio to make it easier for people to discover your content. Any hashtag you add to your bio will automatically become a link to all posts with that hashtag, like how artist Caroline Kelso Zook of Wandering Aimfully uses the hashtag #brightestlifejournal in her bio and many of her posts:
Adding links like this can help drive more visitors to your posts and related accounts and grow your community—it's well worth the space in your Instagram bio.
Instagram's a noisy place—most visitors will quickly scan your bio to see if it's interesting—you need to immediately grab visitors' attention with your bio. Avoid posting a wall of text—use emojis and line breaks to punch up your bio and help you stand out from the crowd.
Emojis and line breaks make your bio more interesting to read, boosting the chances that visitors will follow you or click on your links. You can include as many emojis in your bio as you want—check out how email marketing consultant Tarzan Kay breaks up her Instagram bio and shares some of her unique personality using emojis:
You can also use emojis to draw attention to the links in your bio. See that little hand in lifestyle and business coach Angel Marie's bio? It might be a small touch, but it makes visitors more likely to spot (and click on) the link to her landing page.
As a bonus, emojis also save valuable bio space for your persuasive copy. Neat!
“Social media is great,” explains Kelsey, “but it's rented space. It's super important to move people off that platform and onto your email list where you have a guaranteed way of communicating with them in your controlled environment, instead of hoping they see your post in their feed.”
That's all well and good, but Instagram restricts you to only having a single link in your bio. Since you can't add links to the post descriptions, it's even more crucial for you to make the most of your bio link.
There are two parts to this: The call-to-action text instructing visitors on why they should click, and the link itself.
First, make sure your bio includes a clear call-to-action that explains precisely what visitors will get out of clicking your link. “The biggest mistake I see online creators make in their Instagram bio is not having a clear call to action,” Kelsey explains. “The link should be intentional and go to an email signup of some kind, but it's also important to include a line at the end of the bio itself that gives the literal call to action, telling them what that link is, what they get if they sign up, telling the viewer what next step to take.”
Check out this example from business strategist Addi Ganley. Addi's bio explains exactly what's behind her Instagram bio link—she also shares the price (free) and the format (a workshop).
Next up, you need to send visitors to a high-value link where they're likely to convert. “For many years, I just had my main website home page as the link in my bio,” Kelsey explains, “but I realized I could do more targeted list building if I made my bio link go to a free download or some other opt-in that got them off Instagram and into my world via my email list.”
So how do you know which link to add?
What's the best way to drive traffic from your Instagram feed to your mailing list or landing pages?
Well, it turns out there's only one wrong answer—sending them to your home page. “Don't just send them to your home page,” Kelsey clarifies, “and hope they'll poke around. Be intentional with the link you put there, and don't be afraid to change it out and test different opt-ins.”
Experiment with different ideas for your CTA link. You could try linking to:
Since Instagram only lets you include a single link in your bio, you'll see a lot of Instagrammers using services like Linktree. Linktree makes it easy to build a landing page with multiple links to other pages. You can then link to your Linktree landing page from your Instagram bio, making it easier to share multiple links with your followers.
If you don't want to use Linktree, you can achieve the same effect with your landing page, like Kelsey of Paper & Oats does with her landing page.
Linktree might be an easy solution, but it adds friction for your audience—every time they need to make a decision around which link to click, you run the chance of losing their attention. Instead, I'd recommend choosing one best offer for your Instagram audience—usually a free lead magnet—and creating a free landing page to grab your lead magnet. Add the link to your landing page to your Instagram bio, and you're golden.
The one downside of this is that you need to update the link in your Instagram profile every time you want to share a different page. One trick to getting around this? Set up a landing page on ConvertKit with the custom domain and the URL yourdomain.com/instagram or similar.
Then, instead of updating your Instagram profile, you can simply switch out the URL to a different landing page within ConvertKit, and voila!
Your Instagram bio shouldn't be an afterthought. A thoughtful and creative Instagram bio can help you attract more followers, share critical business information, and drive more traffic to your mailing list, products, or services.
If you're not making the most of your Instagram bio, now's your chance to take your bio to the next level. Follow the above tips, grab some inspiration from the example bios we've listed from other online creators, and start making a fantastic first impression today!
Setting up your Instagram bio? Try linking to one of a landing page you can create in just a few minutes. Grab your free ConvertKit account, and set up your first landing page today!