Instagram is big for business. 200 million users of the Facebook-owned social media giant visit a business profile at least once a day, and branded content makes up a significant portion of what’s viewed on the platform.
The visuals highlighted on the main feed and in Instagram Stories are easy to engage with and skim through at any part of the day, pulling users in and holding their attention.
If the main draws of Instagram are its visuals, then how important is any accompanying copy for businesses? The short answer is - very. Not only does well-crafted copy contribute to a profile’s overall image, lending much of the personality surrounding a brand, it also provides a much-needed boost to the SEO viability of an account.
While audiences on Instagram come and stay for the compelling imagery, it’s the text that makes posts discoverable both on and off the platform. As Instagram blocks photos from being indexed by search engines, marketers need to rely on any space they can find to place keywords: bios and captions.
Writing a compelling Instagram bio
Your Instagram bio is the first thing anyone sees when they visit your profile. Keeping this section blank means you miss making the most of one of the few areas you can use for keyword optimization. It includes your display name, description, and link—all spots usable for increasing business visibility. Here are some tips on how to maximize it.
1. Choose your username and display name wisely
These two names appear at the top of your profile, and in the case of the username, is what’s contained in your profile URL. You’ll be using this as your main marker of identity on Instagram, so set these as your brand name alongside any primary keywords that refer to it. You don’t want to make your username too long, though—remember it’s what people will be typing to tag your account in posts.
2. Maximize your link space
You only get one clickable hyperlink on your profile, as Instagram disallows links in individual posts, so choose wisely. Use this to link to your official website. However, you can also change it each time you run a social media campaign. Remember: when linking somewhere other than your homepage, you can use a link shortener to keep it aesthetically appealing. Long links get cut off, and unsightly URLs may disincentivize clicks.
3. Add details with keywords
It’s time to craft the main description to place in your bio. Write a brief summary of what your brand is, the products and services it offers, and its values. Here’s where you can get more specific and use secondary keywords to flesh out the profile. Instead of saying just “restaurant,” for example, why not put the cuisine style and the names of your signature dishes, or something that encapsulates your brand values?
For influencers, this can work a little differently. If your Instagram page is primarily for that angle of your personal brand, add your preferred method of communication and contact details.
4. Sprinkle a dash of personality through emojis
Want your audience to really pause and look over your Instagram bio? Imagery isn’t just for photo and video uploads. Draw users’ eyes by adding a few emojis to direct their attention to the most important phrases. You can substitute emojis for items that you could otherwise use special characters for, such as bullet points and arrows. Emojis add a pop of color to your bio, and for brands who want to present a more casual, relatable image, they also dial down the seriousness of the text.
Creating engaging post captions
Post captions on Instagram are all about context. Different brands use them in different ways, so the first step is to decide on your approach and keep it consistent from post to post. One tip for keeping consistent is to keep your brand guidelines at hand for reference purposes whenever you need it—and ensure it has a section detailing your specific brand voice for social media communications.
A more casual account shouldn’t contain too much technical jargon, for example, while a more professional business brand might not want to pepper unnecessary hashtags in every spot. For the nitty-gritty of post captions, here are three tips that satisfy both the technical and non-technical aspects of social media marketing.
1. Establish your approach – long or short
The pros of long captions: you’ll be able to provide as much detail about your content as possible. This makes it easier for users and search engines to find the specific phrases in posts you’re captioning. On the other hand, having a short caption gives primacy to what Instagram is all about: the high-quality visuals.
2. Provide context or add commentary
Writing captions to provide additional context or commentary is essential to social media marketing when you’re scheduling multiple posts as part of a wider campaign. Mention similar keywords related to what you’re posting about in all captions, or use similar photos to connect otherwise dissimilar captions. This includes details about a sale for product shots, listing down mechanics for a giveaway, or tagging accounts you’re collaborating with.
3. Use hashtags
This is common advice, but its importance can never be understated. Use hashtags in your posts for discoverability.
There are two ways to do this: one is by creating branded hashtags to associate with your account (including custom ones tailored per campaign). The other is to use hashtags to list out keywords for posts to be discoverable on the platform, and not just on search. Use them in every post when appropriate, either incorporated into your caption’s sentences or at the end.
There’s a lot of pressure for social media marketers to continuously create great content for multiple platforms. But remember, images are only half the story on Instagram. It can get overwhelming thinking of taking photos, editing them, and trying to find the words to accompany them.
To save time, edit photos quickly with social media image editing software that provides multiple, one-click options. Pairing those with well thought-out captions suited to your brand voice, prepared in advance through a reliable scheduling tool, will enable you to breeze through Instagram management and keep your account running smoothly, earning engagement along the way.