The Instagram Basics

As Instagram changes their algorithm and we sit here, once again, trying to figure it all out, the basics of our bio have not changed. So, what can we do to stand out, get the most followers and represent ourselves, our brand or business?

Profile Picture

When choosing a profile picture, it’s important you choose a picture that’s clear. Obviously choosing low resolution pictures, or pictures with watermarks across them are not the best. You’ll want to make sure it’s an up close picture of your face, with your pearly whites showing, so maybe try skip the picture of you and your bestie at the gym. This is your one chance to make your first impression, when someone is scrolling through their notifications and see your picture, they’re gonna decide if they’re gonna stop to take the time to see who you are.

Headline

Your headline is the name you enter and it appears in bold just above your bio. This name is as important as your profile picture. Why? Because when people go to the search box to type in a name or a word, the search engine gives them everything that they typed in. My headliner is “Fit Mommy Lizzie Dollinger”, so when someone types in “fit” or “mommy” or “fit mom”, more than likely my name will pop up under their results. It’s essentially what describes me as a person, and it’s one of the first things people read, hence the reason it’s in bold print.

Bio

If you have a great profile picture and someone lands on your page, they’re gonna look at is your bio. This is your limited space to let someone know who you are in a nutshell. For example, my life revolves around my family, so I made sure that it’s clear, Wifey, Mommy. It’s also a heads up as to what people can expect to see on my page. I follow it up with the two companies I work with, if I had credentials or even a pro status. Another important point is you want to keep this section organized, and less is more try to avoid looking to overcrowded! Also, using bullet points or emojis are a fun and creative way to keep your main points separated. To easily get this look, I use an android phone, it sounds silly, but with an android device it has a return button that you can use to skip to the next line. If you have an iPhone, write up your bio in your notes app so you can use the return buttons to separate your description! If you still have characters left, use your last line to explain your link, or what others call, a “call to action”, if you have a YouTube channel, tell people to follow your fitness journey and throw an arrow pointing down at your link.

Your Link

As we all know it is so important to take advantage of that ONE link Instagram gives us, and unless your in the 10,000 followers club, you can’t prompt people to swipe up. For awhile I found myself constantly changing my link for every time I posted a new video, sale or website update! I came across a new way to get my followers to all the links I need them to get to, by using one link in my bio. It’s a website called LinkTree (www.linktree.com), you can sign up using your Instagram, and then add as many links as you need. I have a link for my YouTube Channel, my FITposium Affiliate Link and many more. What makes LinkTree even more awesome, it has statistics on each link, with the free version it allows you to see how many people have clicked on each link. With the pro version they take you more in depth, but I don’t have the pro version so I can only imagine how useful this could be for a business owner.

The Post

As a lot of you have probably heard, content is king! If you have a great picture, with good lighting, and you guessed it, amazing editing, than you have the building blocks to a successful post. Keep in mind, Instagram wants you to use their app, their way, so make sure you’re taking pictures that will fit into a square, or another size that is favored, portrait. I’m just as guilty as the next person, but try and stay clear of landscape images on Instagram, they tend not to perform as well, and we want our images to jump out at viewers. While not all of us are professional photographers, their are apps that can help us obtain that “picture perfect” look. One of my current favorites is, VSCO, you can edit the shadows, exposure, sharpness, contrast, and anything else you can imagine. The key here is to keep it natural, unless you purposely want your pictures to be overly saturated, then less is more.

The Caption

Back to the new algorithm, the caption is gonna be key in capturing your viewers attention. The first hour of your post is vital! Only 10% of your followers will see your new posting, and based on how it performs in that hour, Instagram will decide if the other 90% sees it. So how do you make sure you have a successful first hour? ENGAGEMENT!! It’s sounds crazy, but Instagram wants you to be engaged and social with your followers. After all, it is a social media platform, start your caption off with a question, or a call to action, get people involved and commenting on your post. If the algorithm picks up that your post is “good” it’ll throw it on the explore page for more people to see. Another handy dandy and super important tip, reply to comments ASAP! If you have 5 comments, and you reply to none, then you only have 5 comments. If you reply to all 5 comments then you have 10 comments and your engagement is up. Instagram only counts comments that have 4 words or more, as actual engagement, so if someone comments an emoji or two, it looks more like spam and is not applied as engagement.

Tagging & Location

Another great way to get noticed and gain followers is by tagging. It’s a pretty simple and obvious task, and yet a lot of us don’t do it. Tag the gym you’re at, the restaurant you’re in, the city your visiting, the people you’re with, every time you tag, you’re increasing your visibility. For example, I posted a picture of myself with the same pose as Cass Martin, and then put the two pictures side by side. I tagged Cass Martin, and I tagged a location, within 5 minutes, she had responded and reposted my picture with my username on her story, and the picture went mini viral for 24 hours. A simple, yet well thought out picture did extremely well, thanks to those tags.

#TAGS

I know in 2017, the big thing was hashtags, you could post up to 30 hashtags and a lot of us were applying the hashtags to the first comment on our picture. Those days are sadly gone, it’s recommended that you now post between 5-15 hashtags, that correlate with your post. Saving the hashtags in your notes section is also a no no, using the same hashtags over and over can look like spam, and Instagram can shadow ban you. Okay, what? Yeah, shadow banning is a thing, they ban you from the platform without your knowledge, so you can keep posting, but no one will be seeing your content. So, make sure your using hashtags that are different every time, but that are relevant to your post. Try researching hashtags as well by typing them into the search bar, by doing this you can see suggested hashtags and what their count is.

Final Touches

Alright! So you made it this far into your post, but don’t hit post quite yet. Another fun change that has occurred is the monitoring of editing your post after you hit that post button. I don’t know why, but they highly frown upon this, and can send your beautiful hard work into the unseen. Make sure everything has been edited and proofed before sending it out, if you do happen to make a mistake afterwards, you have two options. Your first option, let it be. If you’re okay with having a misspelled word, or a name, more power to you. If you’re like me and it’ll bug you, your best option is to delete and repost. My small tip for this is to write out your entire post in the notes section where you can easily make changes and then copy and paste it over into the caption section.

Now that you’re up to speed with some of the new updates, just remember that Instagram is going out of their way to make sure that real engagement is going on. You’re more than likely gonna see a huge decrease in spam, but I don’t think anyone is gonna miss that. Use this outlet to best represent you, your brand and your business!

FITposium Pro: Lizzie Dollinger

Editor in Chief: Taylor Salewske