Setting up your Instagram profile well can be a bit of a challenge – especially since Instagram has changed so much over the past few years. Read this blog to make sure you aren’t making any of these common mistakes.
#1 Putting Hashtags in Your Bio
It USED to be best practice to put hashtags in your bio to make sure your profile ranks under those hashtags, but this is no longer necessary.
Instagram has switched from using hashtags as its primary categorizing tool to relying on SEO and keywords. As long as you use the word “author”, you do not need to put “#author” in your bio.
You may be wondering: What does that mean for hashtags on your post?
In the past year, there has been a lot of conflicting information online about Instagram hashtags.
I go through detailed best practices for hashtags in my blog: 5 Things You Need to Know About Hashtags.
However, if you’re just here for the cliff notes today:
- You can use up to 30 hashtags (but only use them if they are RELEVANT)
- Put your hashtags in your caption at the bottom (not the first comment)
- Hashtags still help index, but in the caption, they double-dip as keywords and help Instagram further categorize your content
- Hashtags alone will NOT grow your account
#2 Not Using Keywords in Your Handle or Name Field
One of the most significant changes to Instagram over the past few months has been its focus on search functionality. Because of this, it is essential to build a profile that is clear and focused.
In addition to selecting the author category for your profile, try to indicate you are an author in your name field or handle – or at minimum in your bio.
This will help you show up when someone uses Instagram to search for authors. If you include your genre, you will have a more specific search that is more likely to convert.
#3 No Call to Action in Your Bio
If you want people to use your Instagram account to buy your book, you HAVE to make it easy for them. This means including a line in your bio directing people to buy your book with a link that isn’t too difficult to navigate (on mobile) that they can buy from.
You can have other goals when using Instagram as an author (– and you should! Read When to Start Marketing Your Book on Social Media), but when you don’t have a specific freebie or newsletter to build, make sure you are making it obvious where to buy.
And for those other goals, craft a CTA that tells your audience how to do whatever it is you want them to do.
#4 Using Links in Captions
This is probably my biggest pet peeve on Instagram. Links are NOT clickable on posts, so why are we putting them there? Have you ever typed a link from an Instagram post into a web browser?
If you ARE absolutely set on putting a link in your post captions, it needs to be easy to remember. Random shortened links with a series of numbers and letters is not going to do the trick.
#5 Filling Your Bio with Junk
Your Instagram bio is very valuable and limited real estate. Don’t waste it!
Things I have seen that are wasteful include:
- Putting your handle name in your bio. People are already on that page if they are looking at your bio, so it is redundant. It would be like me hyperlinking to this blog right here so you clicked on something to bring you to the same place.
- Writing in your pronouns. I completely get why you are doing this, and pronouns are very important. But did you know you can actually add them into your profile and have them displayed without putting them in your bio? Your pronouns will show up right next to your name field. And you can use the extra space for your marketing. (It’s only 150 characters!)
- Putting wayyy too many emojis in your bio. Emojis are fun! And I use them in my bio too. BUT, you do not want to put 4 on each row because you’re going to run out of space.
Easy Fixes for Professional Author Profiles
The good news is that all of these are relatively easy to fix/adjust on your profile.
If you are interested in going deeper into building your best author profile on Instagram that can help you sell books and reach readers, let me know!