Instagram Profile: How to Make it Awesome in 11 Easy Steps

instagram profile

If you’ve been researching how to become more successful on Instagram then you may have noted one easy way to boost your traffic, likes and follows: create an awesome Instagram profile! What makes it an awesome profile is that it’s more competitive and better suited to your audience.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But I like the cuteness of my current profile!” No problem…there are ways you can keep your profile funny and cool but add some really important information to it that will help you find your like-minded people. 

Let’s first discuss 11 rules for making an Instagram profile (which some people still do forget) and then progress into some more advanced tips for the social media-savvy. Making a great profile is easy once you know these steps:

instagram profile

1. Impress your audience and do it quickly

instagram profile picture

According to Entrepreneur magazine, the Missouri University of Science and Technology did a study on online impressions. It took two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to have a “first impression” after visiting a website. 

Then, 2.6 seconds later viewers concentrate their attention in a way that reinforces the first impression.

That means that if you want more traffic to your Instagram profile you must create a profile that is impressive, brand-friendly (with your name mentioned prominently) and with a message that quickly makes a point. 

It may not be the most popular Instagram account, but all that matters is your audience and how you connect with them.

The user name and your website (if you have one) should be prominent, but besides that, listing your job, skills, profession or hobbies are just as important. 

While there are some successful profile pages that share memes, pictures or quotes, original photos are what get the most traffic and really set you apart from the competition. 

This isn’t a site for reblogging memes. This is an Instagram profile to remind people who you are and to do it in a visual way. First impressions, they count!

Instagram story

2. Rewrite your bio to be informative, colorful and actionable

You don’t have much space to type in your biography since it’s limited to 150 words. You need to convey your message quickly and make sure it’s informative and actionable. 

This is space to continue letting people know all about the theme of your Instagram profile.

Informative means that you give them information about subject, brand and any related information, such as location. Your Instagram profile should be colorful, humorous, creative or any other quality that stops a person from “glancing” and actually gets them to read the text.

Good comedy is self-explanatory, so if you have a wacky sense of humor, share it. If, however, you want something more creative then think about your theme and what other Instagram profile pages look like. Don’t worry about mimicking celebrities…they pretty much coast on their fame. Instead, pay special attention to what businesses are doing and how they work a statement into their brand.

instagram hashtags

You’ll notice that over at Hubspot, a few company profiles were compared. Each Instagram profile had a similar formula. They briefly explained the product and then they described the “message” of the page itself, what made it unique. For example, Oreo’s “See the world through our Oreo wonderfilled lens” or Hubspot’s own statement, which reminded visitors of the brand and reasons to follow the Instagram profile: “All-in-one marketing & sales platform…Follow for content, contests & more.”

Notice how the Hubspot Instagram profile gave the viewer reasons to follow the page. Not too subtle, right? But for Instagram, your audience is more concerned about incentive and actionable words than subtle promotion. They’re fine with some promotion—just make your Instagram profile interesting!

instagram profile

3. Create your Instagram profile for a specific “profile”

What might help you to brainstorm creative writing for your Instagram profile is to create a profile for your ideal follower (also known as an avatar). 

You might ask:

instagram profile

What does he or she want to see?

instagram filters

What are their other interests?

What keywords do they usually search for when using Instagram?

This is a point many people don’t quite understand about using hashtags. The user will not find a post just because a hashtag is popular or trending…that user will find it if he or she follows that phrase or follows other profile pages just like it.

First impressions! That means keywords that are targeted to them, keywords that mean something to them. Relevant profiles get a longer reaction time and that’s what you want.

instagram filters

4. Take an excellent Instagram profile picture

According to social media expert Louise Myers, Instagram profile pictures get more followers if a “personal face” photograph is used instead of a logo. People don’t connect emotionally with a logo. They’re using Instagram for faces. Maybe goofy emojis work better on Snapchat or Tumblr, but faces are what make profile pages stand out. She also states that creating a “professional” headshot Instagram profile picture requires a combination of factors:

  • Professional and inviting appearance by the subject (no frowns or blank stares!)
  • An in-focus, well-lit photo of the subject
  • A complementary background

instagram profile

While a professional photo is preferable, if you can get a friend to stand still and frame a shot, paying attention to the elements, you can accomplish the same thing. 

It’s probably not a good idea to use a selfie as an Instagram profile picture because of the strange and casual positioning these photos seem to have.

Professional photographers also know how to use a soft light source to enhance the quality of the photo and avoid hard lighting, which lead to a distracting glow. 

The best environment for a professional shot outside of a studio would be near a window during the daytime or in open shade. Open shade can be found anywhere a shadow is cast. The low contrast of this scene and lack of shadow in the shade make for an easy and well-lit photo.

Be careful about backgrounds when creating an Instagram profile photo. Neutral backgrounds work because they help focus attention on the subject. The face shot is the main point, any background color should be flattering with the rest of the photo.

Do not try to stick too much body in the shot. Sure you’re hot we get it…but that only makes the photo smaller and less impressive because of a smaller face. You’ll have plenty of room to post other angles of yourself in the regular Instagram profile posts. Speaking of which…

instagram hashtags

5. Experiment with different camera angles

One of the first rules you learn from professional photographers and even filmmakers is not to use the “first shot”. Instead, experiment with multiple camera angles and then decide on the one you like best. 

Naturally you want to avoid a low angle and go for slightly above. But try everything when creating your Instagram profile.

Tilt your head, try a few poses, and do a few friendly expressions. Take some time to review all of these possibilities and choose your favorite one. You might also ask a friend or acquaintance to choose the best photo and see if their favorite selection matches yours.

instagram profile picture

6. Follow a general theme in your profile

instagram filters

Always follow a general concept/theme in your profile. If your business is related to fashion: post fashion photos. If it’s about something related to nature/health, post pictures about nature (e.g. tranquil shots of a mountain lake might inspire the viewer to purchase the refreshing water you’re promoting).

It’s a very easy concept to grasp but alas many people make the mistake of branching out way too much. Stick to your guns! If you’ve chosen a theme, follow it through

After all, that’s what people started following you for and if you’re gonna be deviating too much from what they’re expecting, you might lose more subscribers than you’re gaining.

That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment a bit with other niches, of course, but in general your profile should have one theme and one theme only.

People like to follow someone authentic with a real, clear message about a specific topic, depicted in a continuous theme.

instagram profile

7. Only post amazing pictures

Yes, adding creative captions to your regular Instagram photos is important but let’s be honest—your audience will judge your entire page based on the profile picture, the profile text and the last 9-12 photos you posted. 

They might follow you without even clicking on an individual picture if the Instagram profile is interesting. You can read ways to get more Instagram followers by clicking here.

According to The Huffington Post, the key to taking excellent everyday Instagram photos is to:

  • Follow a general theme with all of your picture posts
  • Use natural lighting
  • Make the “point of interest” clear and eliminate distractions
  • Be on the lookout for “moments” rather than staged scenes; the moments happening right now
  • Use colorful images and dramatic shapes…but breakup all the “clutter” of strong-color photos with occasional “white space” photos
  • When in doubt get a closer shot; farther away isn’t nearly as impressive as up close, so as long as the subject looks his or her best
instagram hashtags

8. Use (new) #hashtags to make your instagram profile - URGENT!

While you probably do take the time to hashtag individual photos, don’t forget to hashtag the text on your profile.

Maybe you’re wondering, “I already did…now what?”

Do it again! One of the biggest mistakes new Instagram users make is to only use their standard Instagram profile day after day, year after year, when in fact you can make it seem “urgent” by updating the text and updating the Instagram hashtags.

It works even better if you can change the call to action as well, by getting your audience excited about a new promotion, new event, or new announcement. 

Change your call to action to correspond with a new “event” or offer to keep things relevant and constantly in motion.

You can use your profile text to send viewers to your Twitter or Facebook account if nothing else is going on…but we’re hoping you’ve got something going on! 

Even encouraging your audience to comment on posts or engage via Direct Message will help make your profile a little more “Now”, a little more exciting.

Instagram story

instagram profile

9. Use emojis or line breaks to break up text

While we do realize using Emojis can be overdone, there are some ways to use them effectively. Spacing out your text with Emojis instead of just periods is a nice way to call attention to a new offer or action.

If you’re REALLY against Emojis (and really, we don’t blame you!) then try to use line breaks to break up the text for a more dramatic presentation. 

According to Sprout Social, you can insert line breaks into profile text directly using Android or you can copy and paste the line breaks and text from the Notes app while using IOS.

instagram profile picture

10. Use the Instagram “story” to highlight a relevant photo or video

instagram profile

The Instagram Story feature allows you to post a video or photo that vanishes within 24 hours and it’s a great way to call attention to an “event” of some sort, whether that’s a sale, coupon, giveaway or just news related to your brand. 

You can also add visual tags to the photo in order to create a sense of urgency with each event. The Instagram Story link (or graphic more specifically) is always just a click away from your profile and is featured prominently on every news feed that subscribes to your Instagram account. 

Experiment with Stories and see which get the best reaction. You can even save certain stories for later use.

You can also create “events” using the Instagram Live option, the Carousel (which lets you create a series of images) or a looped video using the Boomerang option. 

These are all eye-catching features that can STOP a visitor from mindlessly surfing and actually pay attention to your content. Remember there are also other Instagram tools you can download and we discuss some of them in this article.

instagram filters

11. Use the same Instagram filters for your photos

instagram filters

Having a wide variety of photos lens filters right below your Instagram profile may turn off some of your audience, especially if they like photography. The best photos have one “theme” when it comes to various filters. 

Don’t choose a different theme each time just to be quirky.  Make sure all of your photos have the same basic visual elements for a more professional looking page.

In conclusion, spend some time organizing your content, ideas and promotions and create a plan of what you want to accomplish with your Instagram profile page. Don’t just post randomly, Instagram doesn’t need it. 

Post something that really connects to your audience and gives them something of value, whether it’s comedy, creativity, beautiful and unique photos, or something informative about your life.

With a few adjustments, you will have applied our guide to how to make an awesome Instagram profile and notice a dramatic increase in your number of followers!

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