There are so many different opinions out there on what we should and shouldn’t include in our Instagram Bios. Coming from the marketing world, I want to share with you the five biggest Instagram Bio mistakes I often see and that make me cringe.
But before you hit the play button, I just want to tell you a few things: Please don’t get your feelings hurt if I point out something that you’re doing! Again, there is a lot of advice out there and if you don’t have a marketing background, how would you know? It’s okay to edit your bio and fine-tune it as you go!
You don’t have to have everything figured out in order to get started.
So with that said, today’s episode covers the following:
- Is your Instagram Bio is clear enough?
- Is your Instagram Handle too obscure?
- Does your Instagram Bio make sense?
- Is your Instagram Bio filled with hashtags?
- Do you have links in your Instagram Bio for more info?
Remember: It’s okay to edit and rework your bio and fine-tune it as you go. You’re going to evolve and so will your bio.
For more resources, visit: https://traceypontarelli.com/
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The 5 Biggest Instagram Bio Mistakes I See
We’re getting into Instagram bios. What are the five biggest mistakes I see all the time on Instagram bios? I want you to take some notes. Here’s what I hope you will get from this. One, I don’t want you to get your feelings hurt by saying something that you’re doing because there are a lot of people giving a lot of advice. If you don’t have a marketing background, how would you know? Don’t beat yourself up. Know that we all started on Instagram being like, “What are we doing on this thing?” We figure it out as we go along.
I’m going to give you my best tips to tighten that baby up and get super tight and magnetic because what we want is that when people find you, my fellow entrepreneur, we want them to either plus press the follow button, press the message button, and do something when they find you. The clearer you are in your bio, the more you get a chance to do that. I’m going to run through the five biggest mistakes. We’re going to dig into what all of those are.
I’m going to run through the five and then dig into each one. The first one is a big-picture one. Your bio isn’t clear. It’s confusing. Number two, your handle is obscure. Your bio makes no sense. Your bio is filled with hashtags. You have no way for people to get more information. Those are the big five. The final thing I want to say to you, and I’ll repeat this, is that it’s okay to edit your bio and fine-tune it as you go. You don’t have to have everything all figured out to get started. I edit my bio regularly. As I get clarity, I go in and edit my bio.
Your Bio Isn’t Clear
We’re going to talk from the top to the bottom. Let’s talk big-picture about your bio not being clear. When you look at your bio, I want you to think, “Do I answer these questions? Who am I? What do I do? Who do I help? How can people get more information? How can people reach me for more information?” What I see is any number of those things missing. I’m talking to you as a fellow entrepreneur or someone building their personal brand and wanting to build some personal brand equity.
This is when you turn your hat around from someone having fun on social media to say, “I’m going to use this as an intentional platform for people to find me and get to know, like, and trust me. I’m going to build relationships with people. I can’t do that if I’m hiding behind a name, if I’m not being clear about what I am, and if I’m afraid to state what I do out there. Why are you not taking this more seriously?” That would be the question I would ask you. First, are you answering those questions?
Let me dig into the next four which will help you solve that bio-isn’t-clear problem. The first one is pretty easy. My friends, it’s your Instagram handle and the description right underneath it. I’m going to put those in the same bucket. Instagram gives you a randomly-generated name when you start your Instagram account. I still see a lot of people with that name that’s like TPonta577. It’s whatever Instagram assigned me. You don’t have to keep that. You can change it.
The one they want you to know about everything that we talked about here is everything on Instagram is searchable. Your captions are searchable. The texts in your reels and your posts are searchable. Your bio is searchable. You want to make sure that your first and last names exist somewhere in those top two. The easiest way to do it is to change your handle to your first and last name.
I’m saying that knowing mine is Coach Tracey. @CoachTracey_P is my Instagram handle. I’ve had that for a while. I’ve had that since I first started as a wellness coach. I’m still a wellness coach. I’m a marketing coach. I’m a coach. I like that handle. I don’t feel like I need to change it to @CoachTraceyPontarelli because I have Tracey Pontarelli in the next line down. @CoachTracey_P is my handle. Underneath it, it says, “Tracey Pontarelli Mindset and Wellness,” and then I have, “Entrepreneur.” Entrepreneur is what you want to list.
I want your Instagram to be public. I don’t follow people that are private. I have no idea what’s happening on the other side of that curtain. I’m not following unless I already know them. If I know them, I’ll follow them but if your intention is to meet new people, go public and don’t put anything on that account that you want to be private. That’s the turning of the hat that we’re going to do as entrepreneurs. It’s those first two lines.
You could make your first line your first and last name. If you want to do something else, have it relate to your business. Say, “I doodle. Tree hugger.” What you offer has nothing to do with the handle. It’s a lost opportunity. It’s incongruent. You might be emotionally attached to whatever you have but is it helping new people find you? That is the question I would ask. The number two mistake is your Instagram handle, that sentence, and the description underneath is too obscure.
You don’t want your Instagram handle to be too obscure. You want it to be direct about what it is that you do.
You want it to be direct about what it is that you do. I want you to think about even the most famous people that you follow. They are very clear. Their handle is typically their name and then their description describes what they do. I’m going to try it while we’re doing this. I’m going to do Mel Robbins because I love Mel Robbins. Mel Robbins has underneath it, “Author.” She says who she is in case nobody knows who she is. The Instagram handle is obscure. That’s the number two mistake. I’ve given you examples of how to clean that up. That should be super easy to do.
Your Bio Makes No Sense
Mistake number three is your bio makes no sense. These go in any number of ways. One is it makes no sense. You’ve got a bio that is like, “Professional Wanderer. Living on Cheetos and Sprite.” You’ve seen these. It’s fine if you have a personal account and you’re being funny with your friends. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re trying to help new people find you and understand what you do, it’s a lost opportunity to put something that you think is quirky and funny in your bio instead of saying what you do and who you help.
Another thing that you can put into the bio is why people should listen to you. I’m going to give you my example but here’s the other thing that I see. One side is super quirky. It has nothing to do with anything with the bio. On the other side is stuff like, “I help people live their best lives.” How? By doing what? You want to be a little bit more specific. The more specific you can be, the better, “I help women in their mid-40s lose weight. I help women with young kids start home businesses.” Whatever it is, you want to be as specific as possible.
I’ve broadened mine but let me tell you what I have on mine. You can look it up for an example. One sentence I have is, “Coaching midlife mamas to get the health and life they deserve.” I help midlife moms with their health and their life. The second sentence is, “Magnetic Mindset and Marketing Podcast. Anti-hustle wellness online biz and branding boss.”
There are a couple of things that I wanted to cover there. One is I help women with their health because I am a wellness coach. I also help women with their mindset, happiness, and wellness. It’s all connected. I focus on midlife moms like me. That’s the bullseye of my target. Do I help moms with young kids? Of course. I’ve got over 1,000 people on my team and all different ranges of people but I am looking at how I market on my bio and get to the bullseye. Why should people listen to me? I am a coach. I’m a branding expert. I have a podcast. I’ve given people different things that they can tap into.
I have a link, which is Milkshake. I’ll talk a little bit about that because I’ve got a training that you are welcome to have for more information. What I’m going to ask you to do is play with your bio and tighten that thing up. Do it over and over again. It doesn’t matter if you change it. What matters is it makes sense. If you go to Reese Witherspoon’s bio a week from now, you’re not going to notice if she changed it or not. If I changed mine, you’re not going to notice. As long as the essence of what I’m trying to tell you is there, you can tweak that. This is a total pet peeve of mine.
Play with your bio and tighten it up. Do it over and over again. It doesn’t matter how many times you change it. What matters is for it to make sense.
This is mistake number four. I don’t know who gave everyone advice on this but your bio is filled with hashtags. If your bio is filled with hashtags, it’s #annoying because it’s #NotAboutTheReader. It’s #AboutTheAlgorithm. It’s so annoying to read. The number one thing that you can do on your bio is to read it out loud to yourself to see if it makes sense and if it sounds normal. Hashtags do not. Someone decided to tell everyone to put hashtags in their bio when the bio is for the reader and the hashtags are for the algorithm. They are not for your bio.
It is almost an insult to readers to say, “I’m putting this in here so that when other people besides you search for this, they can find it.” Plus, I told you everything is now searchable on Instagram. You don’t need the hashtags in the bio. Am I a fan of hashtags? I am a fan of hashtags. I use them on almost every single post. I put them in the comments of the first comment on every post.
I do not include them in the caption because they are distracting to the reader. I’m always thinking about the person that’s reading on the other side and how to get them the information that they want as quickly as possible. If they are annoyed or distracted by hashtags, you lost them. Get your hashtag out of your bio. That was a little random pet peeve.
Missing Info Link
The final mistake is that you have no link in your bio for more info. If you are a network marketer or a social seller even if you are a coach selling a program, I could argue that if your program is on sale, and it’s the only thing you want people to do, then you could send people directly to that link. I do not recommend sending people to a link for your online shop. It’s a lost opportunity. I’ll tell you why.
One is at least for me in my wellness shop, I want to help people and highlight some of my favorite products. I don’t want to be like, “Here’s a shop. Good luck. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Get back to me if you have any questions.” You lost them. What I do is I have a Milkshake. It’s free. It’s called Milkshake. It’s an app. It’s not Kelis. I’m not bringing the boys to the yard. I’m bringing the girls to my Milkshake. What I do on there is highlight a couple of different things. I have a lot of stuff going on. I’ve got my show that I want people to be able to access quickly.
If I talked about my show, I want the link for that. I have my courses that are either for signing up for the waitlist or are open for enrollment. I have my favorite wellness products. I fit it all in on Milkshake. The nice thing about Milkshake is you can do different pages. You can also highlight. If you look at my Milkshake, I have all of my favorite detox bundles listed that take you directly to a cart that has all of the products that I love inside the bundle for gut health and restoring the microbiome. I spelled microbiome wrong on my Milkshake. I didn’t notice. I was calling it mircobiome. That was an easy fix.
I’ve got everything on there. I can easily swap it out. If I’m doing a waitlist for a course, I can highlight the waitlist. If the course is open, I can make that the first thing that people see. I can add a bio. There are so many different options. I did a quick little training on Milkshake. You can change the colors on your Milkshake to your brand colors. If you don’t have brand colors, you’ve got to get my Magnetic Marketing Academy. I’ll teach you how to do all that stuff.
You also have a little Canva tutorial. Maybe I’ll figure out how to bring that back for you. There’s a link for more info. No link is a lost opportunity. Milkshake is free. Linktree is free. There are a bunch of links. They’re not that different from each other. I like Milkshake. It’s aesthetically pretty. It gives me a lot of options. Things that give me too many options can be time-consuming. I like it.
The final thing I want to tell you, and then I’ll run through these again, is it’s okay to edit and rework that bio and fine-tune it as you go. This is true always. The only way it’s going to get to where it needs to be next is if you work it. You’re going to evolve, and so will your bio but what needs to happen is that your bio represents who you are and where you’re going.
The last thing I want to say is that this is key because the content in your feed needs to loop back and resonate back to that bio. When somebody looks at your bio, the content needs to resonate and be congruent with who you’re saying you are. If you’re saying you’re a life coach and then in your post, you’re complaining about politics and the government, there’s a little bit of a disconnect. We’re trying to be our best selves out here. I’m giving this advice.
Let me run through the five biggest mistakes one more time. In general, the bio is not clear. It doesn’t say who you are, what you do, who you help, and how people can reach you for more info. Get that Instagram handle cleaned up, not obscure. Make sure your bio makes sense. Get rid of the hashtags. Get that link in for more information. That’s it. I hope this is helpful. This is a super tutorial marketing 101 thing. It’s important stuff. A lot of this stuff we talk about in our Magnetic Marketing Academy.
If you’re curious about that, we are launching a big launch. I will have a sign-up if you want to get on the waitlist to be a part of this. I’m proud of what I put together here. It’s based on years of coaching and helping entrepreneurs get their marketing into a place where they feel good about it and feel authentic. I’m excited to share it with you too. I love you to pieces. I’ll see you back here the next time.
- @CoachTracey_P – Instagram
- Magnetic Marketing Academy