So far, our series "Hacking Your Instagram Growth" has covered hashtags, the Explore page and creating and maintaining quality content. If you're new to the series, you should check out our previous articles as well. This article will cover setting up your Instagram profile as a whole, helping you stand out amongst the countless dull profiles out there.
I'll guide you every step of the way, and I can guarantee that after you implement these tips, your follow back ratio will improve, and your followers will thank you for it. The article is divided as if you were just creating a new profile, so it's very easy to follow.
What are the first things a person sees when you follow them or like their post? Your username and profile picture (see next section). Sure, some users might go to your profile and check it out, but others simply won't. Many people (including myself), don't bother going to your actual Instagram profile if your username and profile picture don't stand out or if they come off as spammy.
That brings me to my first point, which is having a clean username. In my opinion, a username qualifies as clean if it doesn't have numbers (unless they are relevant), underscores or dots in it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that Instagram currently has around a billion users and that means that a billion usernames are already taken. Sometimes, you'll have to settle for numbers, underscores or dots, but keep my advice in mind when choosing it and make it as clean as possible.
Depending on the type of your Instagram account (niche page, business account, personal), you should keep in mind a few things. If it's a personal account, there's nothing much to say, make sure to keep it clean and that your friends can easily find you. If it's a niche page, choose a clean username related to your niche. That way, users who are interested in the niche are bound to check out your profile when you interact with them. If you have a business account (or plan to make it a business account), make your username brandable. What I mean by that is, name it something you can make a logo out of, something that's short and memorable. Of course, if you already have a business running, name it after your business if possible.
Instagram Profile Picture
Your profile picture is just as important as your username. A nice looking profile picture can be a great way to advertise your brand, work (if you happen to be a designer) and content quality. Usually, if it's a generic profile picture, you can assume that the profile will be just as generic/unoriginal. Remember our article on content? Content is king, and your profile picture is content. Think of it as a preliminary test, if you fail here, users will never get to your posts. The following advice is mostly aimed at business/niche profiles, but the general points can be applied to personal accounts as well.
Your profile picture should be high quality, original and memorable. If you have accounts on other social media networks, you should use the same profile picture on all of them. As a rule of thumb, you should be recognizable without your username. Brand recognition is very important on the Internet. Some companies make ad campaigns specifically to build trust and a relationship with their brand, and your Instagram profile is a free, ongoing ad campaign.
For business accounts, you should use your company logo, which needs to be of high quality to begin with. Niche pages should create their profile pictures. Under any circumstance, do not take a random picture off the Internet and use it as a profile picture. It comes off as lazy, and you'll blend in with the millions of accounts doing the same. Instead, you can pay someone on Fiver to do it for you for a low price. If you have the skills, then you can do it yourself with Photoshop, or an even simpler way - Canva. If you're not prepared to put in the effort, don't expect good results, it's simple as that.
Look at Kylie Cosmetics' profile picture. It's eye-catching, easily recognizable and memorable as well. I bet if you see that picture after this post you'll easily know what it stands for. It's always good to look at accounts in your niche for ideas, especially successful ones. Now, I don't mean blatantly copy them, I mean look at the colors, the size, text or no text, etc.
Your Instagram profile picture should ideally be between 120x120 and 200x200(max) in size, so as to avoid a loss in quality. Secondly, Instagram will always crop your picture to a circle, so make sure to keep your logo/tagline/main point in the center of a perfect square. You're able to see how it will look like, but I just thought it's good to know the exact dimensions.
This is the part that will set you apart from most Instagram profiles. So often I see profiles that look like a junkyard, with posts just all over the place. To improve your overall profile impression, you need to have a profile theme. What do I mean by that?
Maybe some of you didn't notice the theme on Kim Kardashian's Instagram profile, but if you look closely, you'll notice the warm skin color repeating itself. Well, what better color to use, seeing as Kim is promoting her KKW Beauty line? It's subtleties like these that make or break your Instagram promotion. You can be sure that Kim's marketing is on point, so you better take notes and learn, because someone's already done the research.
Your profile theme can be anything, from a certain filter to every 3rd post (so they appear under each other in the feed) being black-and-white. The later is especially popular with e-commerce pages. Usually, every 3rd post is a picture or video of the product, and the rest are niche posts.
You now have all the knowledge needed to make your profile look kick-ass. You'll be easily recognizable with a stunning Instagram profile picture, have a carefully picked profile theme and a catchy username. Everything written here is pretty straightforward and easy to implement, so don't be lazy. I'm positive that if you follow these guidelines and work on your profile, the results will come in no time.