The Art of the Instagram Bio //
(BTW, this is an excerpt from my upcoming ‘Going Viral: The Art of Building a Blog’ eBook… Eek! You can preorder here.)
MAKE YO’ INSTA BIO #ONFLEEK.
I don’t know about you guys, but I laugh out loud reading some people’s Instagram bios.
Not like I’m laughing at them, that would be mean (lol), but I laugh because we are all in the same position: trying to describe ourselves, our interests, what we do for a living, our location, our vibe, AND maybe sneak in a bit of humor and sprinkle in some fun emojis all in a measly 150 characters.
There are a couple of people in my life who notice every time I switch my Instagram bio. Well, maybe more than a couple, but Brandin (you guys know him from my BFF video), & my 13-yr-old niece Isabella specifically tell me, “You change your Insta bio ALL the time.”
It’s true. I’ve played around with a lot of bios. I’ve gone the, “I’m going to try to describe myself to a tee and include all of my interests in one fell swoop so these peeps know what they’re getting when they follow my account,” route, and I’ve also gone the DGAF two-word mysterious route, and I’ve basically tried everything in between.
My Instagram Bio History //
Route #1 looked something like: “Blogger + Yoga Junkie + Writer + Wellness Freak + Fitness Addict + Green Smoothie Fanatic. Come hang at www.thebalancedblonde.com!” with my email & contact info thrown in there too boot, along with my website & book info.
Route #2 was more like: “I like to create. // www.thebalancedblonde.”
The question is… Which one showcased my personality better? Neither.
Option #1 gives way more info, that’s for sure, but it’s sort of busy. My blog itself isn’t busy, nor is my Insta account, so it doesn’t really capture who I am. But option #2 doesn’t quite capture me either. I am a talker (hello, long-ass blog posts & 25-min YouTube videos!), so the major brevity just isn’t who I am.
Wanna see a snapshot of my FIRST ever Instagram bio?! I think I was pretty spot on for being a brand new blogger.
Boom. I explained what my account was all about, used some fun corresponding emojis, and definitely didn’t have a big ego. “HOPEFULLY” inspire a bit along the way is a bit more inviting than the whole “I am here to INSPIRE YOU” bio type of thing I’ve seen people do.
Sidenote… How great is it to look back and see that I had 10 followers on TBV? Damn girl!! The account has sorta evolved over time, don’tcha think? 😉
Insta Bio Do’s & Don’ts:
Okay, let’s talk do’s and don’ts.
I sort of touched on this above, but DON’T toot your own horn too much and use an overzealous word or phrase to describe what you do. Sooo many people make themselves sound much more self-involved than they actually are by using words in their bios like: “Celebrity, famous, internationally recognized, ‘Top 100 ___’, fitness inspiration, etc.”
You’d be surprised, but bloggers I actually know & love have legitimately described themselves in their bio as “Wellness celebrity. International inspiration.”
Too much people, too much.
A few more don’ts:
- Don’t make things confusing for people. If you wear a lot of hats, you can simply state that you wear a lot of hats. No need to try to link to all 10 of your websites/businesses in this one little place. Confusing! J. Alba has this tasteful list here of her many “hats,” and she does it in a cute & easy-to-follow way!
- Don’t be TOO brief and leave out important info that might help people find you in other places! Unless your whole M.O. is to be mysterious or something like that. 😉
- Don’t leave your bio totally blank because you don’t know what to say. Fill it with a quote that you love, or at least say who you are and what city you live in!
- Don’t say anything too inappropriate or vulgar… Tacky, tacky.
- Don’t list your accomplishments like gold medals. (I.e.: “Forbes 30 Under 30, Greatist’s Top 100 Influencers, Yahoo!’s Top 10 People to Follow, Vogue’s #1 It Girl, blah blah”) — if people are interested, they WILL investigate further & find out your accomplishments! You can list those on your site, or reference them elsewhere. Shoving them into your teeny 150-word bio looks more desperate than it probably feels.
- Don’t tell people to do something. (I.e.: “Download my eBook! You’ll LOVE IT. Download my Recipe App! It’s EASY! Buy my book! It’s GOOD!”) Again, tacky AF. I’m sorry, but it really is. You can & SHOULD use your bio to promote your books/programs/apps/sites, but there is a way to do so tastefully. Here is a great way to promote your projects tastefully (give the facts, let them decide whether they want to buy!):
- Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Trying to copy someone else’s bio set-up just because you like it might not translate well. Be YOU, find your own voice, and it will resonate with your audience. (BTW — I’ve seen people directly copy my bio when it doesn’t work for their brand/vibe, and it just comes off like they don’t know what their vibe quite IS, yet!)
- Don’t leave people with no way to contact you, or no way to find your website or usernames on other important channels!
Now, the fun part!
- If you type your bio into a different app (like the “Notes” section of your phone), then you can enter and have space between each line. It’s much easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing than a full paragraph! Then you can copy & paste into your bio when you’re done.
- Keep in mind that you only have 150 characters, so choose 3-5 aspects of YOU or your brand that you want to focus on. This will keep things nice and concise. (I.e.: Fitness. Cooking. Adventures. Puppies. Margaritas.) with some cute emojis or something that feels like it captures YOU. If listing your interests doesn’t feel exciting to you, use your creative brain to figure out what does! I’ll give more ideas below.
- Once you give your followers a glimpse into what you’re all about, play around with telling them where you live! If you live in Los Angeles, you might be likely to attract more people who also live there, or people who are interested in seeing what L.A. is all about. Same with any city where you may live.
- Use your Insta bio to lead your followers over to other platforms you are passionate about. For instance, include your Snapchat name for SURE, your YouTube, and your contact info if you’d like to share it and make it easy for people to contact you. Here’s an example:
- Use the one section where you can hyperlink in a very strategic way! If you have a website, then of course link to your site. But if you have a project you’ve been working on (like an eBook, a new YouTube video, a collaboration with another brand, etc.) then change the hyperlink for a few days. If you have space, you can even tell people what it is. I always put the links to my new videos, and add in above: “Newest video below!”
- Use the name section in your bio strategically as well. If there is an aspect of your brand that is extremely important, like your website or a program you sell, you can include it in your name. (I.e.: “Jordan Younger | www.thebalancedblonde.com.) I don’t happen to do that, because my brand has several facets to it, but if I were to mainly be focusing on TBB Apparel, then I would do: “Jordan Younger | @tbbapparel.” Or when my book came out: “Jordan Younger: Breaking Vegan.” Use your discretion as to what actually deserves to be in your name! For a while I had my Snapchat name in there, with the ghost emoji.
Someone who does this really well is Morgan from The Southern Yogi:
7. If you’re all about the inspiration, it’s not bad to add an inspirational quote. For instance, I haven’t changed my Insta bio for my personal account in years, because it captures me well & I can’t think of anything more fitting. It’s: “If you’re not in love with your life, then you’re not doing it right. @thebalancedblonde.” That way, people know what I am all about, and they also know I am the creator of TBB. Best of both worlds, without trying too hard or trying to squeeze in all of my info.
8. Tastefully include the projects you want people to know about. It’s okay to say, “Recipe eBook avail on my site!” or “Author of Breaking Vegan, avail on Amazon + B&N!” It’s not pushy, it’s informative. There is a big difference.
QUICK RECAP OF DO’S & DON’TS:
- Don’t be pushy or boastful, but instead be informative. Bring on the facts!
- Focus on being you rather than trying to imitate someone else’s vibe. That requires knowing the vibe of your brand, blog or your own personality. Take some time to craft what that is — it will serve you for many things beyond your bio! (I.e. If you are a food blog, your bio better be about FOOD!)
- Leave easy contact info, a link to your site, and usernames for any other major apps that you use.
- Find the sweet spot between “too busy” & “too brief.” Again, find what works for you and what feels right!
- Use fun emojis to break things up if it feels like you.
- When in doubt: inspirational quote, city/location, or something short & punny.
Easy Formula to Follow:
- Line 1: 3-5 of your interests. They don’t have to be listed in a boring way! (I.e.: Snapchat junkie, yoga lover, nutella obsessed. Oh, and I blog.)
- Line 2: Potentially your location, a few emojis that capture your brand, or a short quote that you love.
- Line 3: Snapchat username, name of your brand (if different from your Instagram handle), your profession, your YouTube name, or a project you’ve accomplished (the name of a book, for example).
- Line 4: Contact information, if you want to provide it.
- Line 5: Link to your blog or site!
Words like “Founder,” “Creator,” “CEO,” “Editor,” etc. come off much better than the more boastful words I mentioned (“Celebrity,” etc.). It’s okay to list your accomplishments & brands you’re affiliated with as long as it’s simply factual!
*Pro Tip #2:
Just because it’s FACTUAL doesn’t mean that it’s necessary. I used to have “Cat mama” in my bio because, um, duh. I love Huddy. But Huddy really does have nothing to do with the fitness & wellness focus of my blog. So while it’s okay to include him in my photos and posts, it’s not necessary to mention him in my bio.
What My Instagram Bio Would Be if It Could Be More Than 150 Characters…
Head to my about section on the site to see everything I would say about myself on my Insta bio if I had all the room in the world! That will give you an idea of how brief you really need to be in 150 words. I don’t even graze the surface in my IG bio!
Here is my current bio. I have trouble keeping it so brief, but I think it describes me well enough without being too busy. I also love using emojis to break up the lines:
Some other people who have great bios, in my opinion are: The Skinny Confidential, Julia Engel, Chocolate Covered Katie, Tara Stiles, Kathryn Budig, Lauren Paul, Shut the Kale Up, Anelise Salvo, & Tynan Daniels.
You’ll see that they are all very different, because they all have very different vibes! I love them all because they each capture the personality of the individual brand/person. (They’re all personal brands, so “brand” and “individual” are interchangeable!)
Also, choosing your PROFILE PICTURE is a whole story in itself. That will be in the next chapter…
If you like what you see, check out the eBook! Cannot freaking wait to share with you guys. Realistically, I think it will be done soon after Labor Day. It would be sooner, but my amazing graphic designer is on maternity leave & I really, really want her to design it! In the meantime, send in the questions you want me to touch on and answer in the eBook!