While, at “just” 150 characters long, there’s barely enough room to squeeze in three sentences, your Instagram bio does a lot of heavy lifting.
Your Instagram bio tells newcomers to your profile who you are and what you do.
It sets the tone for how you communicate with your followers.
Most important of all, it encourages your target audience to press the big blue Follow button. And more followers mean more eyeballs on your content and — hopefully — more conversions.
With so much riding on so few words, you’d be forgiven if you spent days with your fingers suspended over your keyboard, wondering what on earth to say. So we’ve put together this guide to help.
Here’s how to write an Instagram bio that connects with your target audience and persuades them to stick around and engage with your brand.
What is an Instagram bio?
An Instagram bio is the short section at the top of your Instagram profile that sits under your username and over your pinned stories and grid. It typically includes:
- Your business name and business category (for example, coffee shop)
- Space for a brief description, with a 150 character limit — this is the meat of your bio
- Space for links and other contact information, such as your phone number or business address
Because your Instagram bio is the first thing users who might never have heard of you before will see when they land on your profile page, it’s useful to approach it like an elevator pitch.
In other words, you should aim to set out your business’s unique value proposition and get your brand’s personality across as clearly, concisely, and compellingly as you can.
Depending on what your business does, you might also want to include branded hashtags or hashtags you use frequently in your content. And, if they fit with your tone of voice, you could also add emojis for more personality and a visual boost. We’ll talk about hashtags and emojis in more detail a few paragraphs further down.
What makes an Instagram bio “good”?
At the risk of sounding like we’re trying to dodge the question, it depends. An Instagram bio is good if it helps you get closer to your business goals. And business goals are subjective and can change over time.
That said, most successful Instagram bios typically have the following three elements in common.
1. A good Instagram bio is informative
With only 2.6 seconds to make an impression, your Instagram bio isn’t the place to be coy. Tell people who land on your profile exactly what they should expect, so they can decide immediately if they want to follow you or not.
Paint brand Dulux does this brilliantly. The bio for their duluxuk Instagram account, where they share home decorating ideas and design inspiration, couldn’t be clearer.
But your bio doesn’t necessarily have to explain your Instagram account’s purpose.
You could describe your product and the idea behind it, like Dulux’s bio for the account they’ve created for their Heritage line of paints:
Or you could be practical like Josephine’s Coffee and provide your followers with your opening hours and a link to your menu.
Whichever direction you decide to go in, you should assume most people will give your bio only the most cursory of glances.
So, to quote a timeless piece of journalistic wisdom, don’t bury the lede. Decide on the most important things you’d like to convey in your Instagram bio and say them straight away.
2. A good Instagram bio is easy to read
It goes without saying, but you should keep your Instagram bio’s language as simple and straightforward as possible.
The average American reads at 7th or 8th grade level. But, according to research, jargon and big words are unlikely to win you brownie points even with people who know exactly what you’re going on about. Everyone prefers plain language.
Word choice and sentence structure aside, it’s worth playing around with your bio’s formatting, especially if you have a lot of information to convey.
Line breaks and lists make your bio more scannable and readable.
And using emojis as bullets, like Roku does, can increase reading ease by adding visual cues to the text:
In fact, if you’re at a loss for words, you could take a page from Amazon’s playbook and write your bio entirely in emojis:
Who needs words when a smile and a package say it all?
3. A good Instagram bio resonates with your target audience
It might sound corny, but your personality is your secret ingredient.
Showing off your personality grabs people’s attention and makes your brand more memorable and relatable. And when you’re competing with 200 million other businesses for customers with shrinking attention spans, that’s exactly what you need to do in order to stand out.
You can let your personality shine through in your Instagram bio in many different ways.
Fintech company Curve, for instance, takes a not-so-subtle but funny dig at traditional banks:
It works because Curve is a financial industry disruptor, and most of its customers use its products precisely because they’re unhappy with how traditional banks do things.
But you don’t have to be funny, witty, or irreverent to strike a chord. It really depends on what you think will resonate with your target audience.
Case in point, oat drink makers Oatly play up their nutritional and environmental credentials, positioning themselves as the go-to non-dairy alternative for fitness enthusiasts who care about the planet.
Flat-pack furniture titans Ikea, on the other hand, take an even more straightforward approach. The bio kicks off with ‘Hey’ in Swedish, which calls out their roots, while the hand-waving emoji says friendly and approachable way better than any words ever could.
Nailing down your Instagram bio: 5 tips to go from blank to memorable
A good Instagram bio is informative, easy to read, and packed with personality. And it helps you further your business goals.
But how do you decide what to include in it? And how do you strike the right tone?
Here are our five top tips to help you get on the right track.
1. Know your audience…
Before you commit a single character of your bio to the blank page, you need to make sure you understand the people you’re writing it for.
Who are your target customers? What do they want from an Instagram account like yours?
The answers to these questions will determine what you focus on in your Instagram bio, how you say it, and also your conversion goal (we’ll talk about this in more detail in a minute).
If, for example, you’re mainly targeting professionals looking for a reliable product that helps them get stuff done, it makes sense to play up your expertise and experience, like Microsoft 365 does.
By contrast, if your target audience skews younger, you can probably get away with being more playful.
It’s worth putting together a buyer persona — a portrait of your ideal customer — to use as the basis for deciding which direction to take your Instagram bio in.
If you’ve been in business for a while, this could be a composite of your most valuable customers. Or, if you’re a service-based business, the customers you enjoy working with most.
Alternatively, you could analyze your competitors’ typical customers. What do they have in common? And what are they usually looking for when they land on your competitors’ profiles?
Over time, you can refine your persona and, in turn, your Instagram bio to make it more relevant and compelling.
2. …and know your brand
Knowing your audience is only one part of the equation. Your Instagram bio must also reflect your brand values. If you’re a fun playful brand, your Instagram bio should reflect that. And the same goes if you want to be perceived as a reliable, no-nonsense brand.
Aligning your Instagram bio with your brand is important for two reasons.
First, it helps you make sure your brand is being perceived the way you want it to be perceived across all your marketing channels, which is how you attract your ideal customers.
Second, it keeps your brand consistent. This is critically important because consistency builds familiarity and trust.
If your website is light and plain-spoken, but your Instagram bio is written in a serious tone — or bangs on about innovative end-to-end solutions — your target audience is going to get confused.
At best, they’ll think your marketing team had an off day and Legal stepped in.
At worst, they may think your account’s been hacked or belongs to a different brand altogether.
Either way, not good.
3. Be clear, to the point, and intentional
Once you’ve understood what questions your target audience wants your Instagram bio to answer — and how to make sure it’s on-brand — it’s time to put fingers to keyboard.
A good way to start is to jot down the key information your Instagram bio needs to include. What do followers absolutely need to know about you / your business / your Instagram account?
A lot of this will depend on your brand values and what your target customers want.
That said, depending on your business, some information may be essential.
If you’re a beauty parlor, for instance, you may want to include a link to your calendar, so people can book online, your opening hours, and your address so people can find you.
Just make sure you include only the most relevant, useful information, to make the most out of your 150 characters.
It may also be worth weaving some keywords into your bio.
As we’ve already mentioned, Instagram bios aren’t searchable, so keywords won’t boost your bio’s visibility. That said, if there are specific keywords your target audience regularly uses on Instagram, including them in your bio can help make your account’s relevance more obvious at a glance.
Fastic, for example, uses ‘intermittent fasting’, and ‘fasting community’ in its bio, so the account’s purpose is instantly clear.
4. Pick your hashtags wisely
While Instagram bios don’t appear in hashtag search results, there’s a good reason you might want to include hashtags in your bio anyway: they direct your target audience to relevant content linked to that hashtag.
This is especially useful if you have a branded hashtag, because it allows your target audience to see user-generated content your followers have posted with one click.
For example, clicking on home renovation blog Apartment Therapy’s branded hashtag displays almost 4 million user-generated snaps of home improvement projects from around the world.
Adding hashtags you frequently use when you post is useful for the same reason — it helps users get to your content more easily.
The key is not to go overboard.
One or two hashtags can work well. But more than that and you might start confusing users or come across as spammy.
More to the point — and as obvious as it sounds — if you’re going to use up precious characters for a hashtag, make sure it supports your goals. Don’t put hashtags in your bio just for the sake of having them.
5. Wrap things up with a strong call to action
Every good piece of marketing collateral should have a strong, clear call to action. And that includes your Instagram account.
Your choice of call-to-action will depend on your goals.
Say your aim is to build a community of engaged followers.
Your call to action could be as simple as asking people who land on your profile page to follow your account. Or you could ask followers to share photos using your branded hashtag or sign up for your email newsletter.
Similarly, if you want to make more sales, add a link to your online store. Etsy’s call-to-action, for instance, is a link to a featured products page.
Regardless of your goal, what’s important is that your call-to-action is as clear and specific as possible.
Your target audience should have no doubt about what action they should take, and what will happen when they take that action.
How to write a compelling Instagram bio for your business, in a nutshell
Because your Instagram bio can just as easily bring in more followers or scare them away, it’s easy to overthink it. But nailing down an effective bio doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking experience if you approach it the right way.
If you hone in on what’s important to your target audience, keep things simple, and write with a clear and specific goal in mind, your Instagram bio will be better than a lot of what’s out there.
More importantly, though, a good bio is a work in progress, not a one-and-done deal.
Over time, your goals, your understanding of your customers, and even your customers themselves may change. Revising and refining your Instagram bio regularly will help you make sure it continues to support you on your chosen route to success.