Instagram is deceptive. There appears to be nothing to it: take a picture, upload it, and throw on a hashtag or two. However, simply using Instagram’s basic features doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get tons of followers or hundreds of likes. Whether you’re looking to become Insta-famous or just want to get a few more likes on your photos, there are a few strategies that apply no matter what.
With just a few tweaks to your profile, you can greatly increase your number of followers and likes. Take a few moments now to double-check your Instagram profile to ensure you’re on the path to Insta-popularity.
To get started, here’s how you edit your profile information. You can either edit your profile in the Instagram app on your phone or you can do it on your computer by visiting https://www.instagram.com/username (enter your user name in the URL and copy it into your browser). Next go to your profile page and click on “Edit Profile”.
Choose a great name to go with your user name
You have two names on Instagram: your username (@YourUsername) and a changeable name that displays alongside your handle in searches.
Given the millions of users on Instagram, it’s hard to find a unique username that’s still available, but really try to find one without strange characters or spellings. This helps other users remember it better and tag you more easily. You also want to be as consistent as possible across your social media channels. Use the same username on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest…
If you already are on Instagram you probably already have a username. But you can edit your changeable name which appears below your profile photo. For your changeable name use either your name or brand so that people can find you through search. For example, I use ‘Susanne – Happy Yoga Travels’.
Set your visibility
If you want to gain popularity on Instagram, you must set your profile to public. Otherwise, no one will see anything that you post except for friends from other social networks. But you knew that already, right?
Choose a great profile photo
Your profile photo is one of the first things people see when they visit your Instagram profile and you should make it count.
A lot of people ask if they should use a photo or a logo. It really depends on your brand, but for most yoga teachers I would recommend a photo of you because it’s more personal and helps build connection. Instagram is all about photos and a photo of a person is always better.
Many yoga teachers use photos of them in fancy poses, for example a hand stand. This can work, but will people recognize you? Think about it – on your official account page, your profile pic is already small. Now, consider how small it appears as users scroll through their respective Instagram feeds. Also, it’s a proven fact that people connect more deeply with faces. That’s why I recommend a good headshot, like Candace from @yogabycandace does here:
Use a professional photo, if possible. The more crisp, clear and professional your profile pic looks, the better. If it’s within your budget to hire a full-blown photographer to snap a few head shots for you, that’s great. If it’s not, recruit one of your friends and have him or her use a good camera to capture some awesome images. Whatever you do, do not use one of those sweaty selfies you took at Wanderlust festival a few years back. It’s not going to do the trick.
You get extra brownie points if you use the same photo on all your social media profiles, even on your personal Facebook page, so people can recognize you easily everywhere!
To change your photo, go to “Edit profile” and click on “Change Profile Photo”. From there, you can import a photo from Facebook or choose one from your photo library. (I don’t recommend taking a new one on the spot.)
You can upload any size image (it should be at least 110 x 110 pixel), and scale and crop as you wish. Instagram automatically creates the circle so you don’t have to upload a circle image. Ideally, you’ll want to upload a square photo with your face in the center, placed so that the corners of the photo can be cut off without a problem.
Crafting your Instagram bio
Your bio is only 150 characters, but it sets the tone for your entire profile. If you want people to notice you, it’s important to get it right!
Use your bio to let people know what you’re about and give them a reason to follow you. Using single words to describe yourself (e.g., “Yoga Teacher,” “Traveler,” “Health Nut”) and your location is a great place to start. Be sure to add a hint of personality – the easiest way to do this is by adding some lighthearted emojis. I probably wouldn’t use emojis on my Facebook page description, but for Instagram they are perfect.
Depending on what your profile is all about, you may want to add a short sentence explaining its purpose. Are you posting a picture of you in a yoga pose every day? Inspiring people with quotes and insights? Sharing your yoga journey? Let your potential followers know what they’re getting into by following you.
Add a link to your bio
One of the biggest frustrations I have with Instagram is that it isn’t exactly a great platform for driving traffic to my website. That’s because clickable URLs aren’t allowed anywhere except the single link in your bio.
That’s why you’ll definitely want to add a link to the “website” field in your Instagram bio. This makes it easy for people to go straight from Instagram to your website, blog, or a specific offer. It doesn’t have to be a website, if you don’t have a website yet you can also add a link to your Facebook page or YouTube channel.
You can use a tool like Bitly to add a short link or a plugin like Pretty Links (if you’re using WordPress) to create a nicer looking link.
If you have a lot of different links you want your followers to see, try out Link Tree. This free tool helps your followers discover all of your recent content easily. You can send your followers anywhere: your website, new retreats, articles, events, socials and more.
You set it up on your computer and then simply add the link they provide to your Instagram profile. You can your links, add a title and even choose a theme.
Now when people click on the link in your bio, a screen appears with all your different links:
One sneaky way to get people to click the link in your bio is by referring to that link in your photo captions. Ever seen captions that say something like “Link in bio”? They’re trying to direct you to their profile page so you click the link in their bio.
Engage your users by updating that link frequently to point to your latest workshop or retreat, blog content, YouTube video, product or offer. Just change the link, and then post a photo that mentions the new link in its caption. If you use Link Tree it’s even easier because you can add the link right on your computer.
More Instagram inspiration:
After you’ve optimized your Instagram profile it’s time to look at your feed, but that’s for another post!