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A Social Media Manager's Guide to Optimizing Your Instagram Profile - Part 1

Close up photo of a mobile device screen displaying the Instagram logo and app download page from the Apple Store.
Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

In a recent blog post for Chorus Connection, I discuss some of the ways an organization can improve its Instagram profile to increase SEO, engagement and brand recognition. While the tips are geared towards nonprofit choirs, any organization can benefit from these changes — whether in the nonprofit, public or private sector.

As a social media manager, I’ve spent thousands of hours on social media scrolling, liking, commenting, and saving. Instagram has always been one of my favorite platforms because it’s so visual, you can really get to know your audience, and the content skews towards positivity.

While Instagram is sometimes known as a place where people only share perfectly posed selfies, the app has so much more to offer.

Over the years, it's become a great platform for brands to showcase their authenticity, humanness and personality. Less curated and more spontaneous content is often what resonates with viewers the most.

Instagram Stories for example, can be used to give audiences a peek ‘behind the curtain’ of what your organization does. And trust me when I say audiences are ready and waiting.

In fact, according to Hootsuite, Instagram is the number one social media platform where people keep up with their favorite brands. Considering more than 2 billion people use the app worldwide every day, there are countless reasons for your chorus to be on the ‘Gram.

But don’t worry, I’m not here to put more work on your plate. I know what it’s like to be a nonprofit marketer with limited resources and wearing dozens of hats. That’s why I firmly believe in sticking to one or two platforms and doing them well.

Whether your brand’s already active on Instagram or you’re just Insta-curious, I’m here to share some of the ways you can make the most out of your Instagram presence in this two-part series.

A photograph of dozens of sitting Buddha statues, spaced evenly, creating an eye-catching repeating pattern.
Photo by Jed Adan on Unsplash

1. Use a consistent profile photo (preferably your logo)

Using a consistent profile photo, specifically your logo, is incredibly important for increasing brand recognition. Once a person knows your chorus exists (brand awareness) you want them to be able to recognize you (brand recognition).

Best practices:

  • Image size should be at least 500 x 500 pixels

  • Even though the dimensions are square, the image will be displayed as a circle

  • Be sure to account for the circular display by leaving a considerable amount of white space between your logo and the edge of the page

  • Ensure the logo is centered vertically and aligned horizontally

  • Use the same version of your logo, in the same colors, across all social profiles

2. Hop on Highlights

Closely related to your profile picture is the use of highlights. Offering a fun and functional way to tell your story, and Instagram highlights also help you to save and categorize existing Instagram stories on a certain topic or theme. You could think of them kind of like the menu of your website.

By using highlights on your profile strategically, you can direct visitors to the most important, interesting or relevant information. Just remember to keep them current, and limit the number of highlights to five – three or four is a good goal.

The Barcelona Gay Men’s Chorus has utilized their highlights very creatively to share the personality of their brand, as well as current promotions and activities.

While the BGMC’s number of highlights and content shared within each highlight is definitely not a benchmark organizations need to aim for, the BGMC shows us just one of the ways a nonprofit choir can utilize highlights.

Screenshot of the Barcelona Gay Men's Chorus Instagram profile showing the logo in a round circle to the left, a profile description, as well as five colorful circular Instagram highlights in a horizontal row at the bottom of the image.
Screenshot of the Barcelona Gay Men's Chorus Instagram profile

There are hundreds of simple and stunning Canva templates to help you design Instagram highlights, but don’t forget to update them with your brand colors and fonts. While you can use photos for your highlight covers, I recommend using solid colors to balance the photos and graphics that will likely be in your feed.

What should your highlights cover? Below you’ll find three ideas for Instagram Highlight topics.

Current Season - Share three Instagram story slides promoting the current concert season and save them to a single Highlight.

  • Slide 1: A graphic announcing the season

  • Slide 2: A graphic with an overview of the different concert series and dates

  • Slide 3: A graphic with a CTA (Call To Action) to “Get your season tickets today!” and include the direct URL button with a link to the season landing page.

FAQ - What are the most common questions you get from patrons? Summarize these into a series of three story slides.

  • Slide 1: Three facts about the organization with the CTA - “Learn more about our story” next to a link sticker directing people to a relevant link on your website

  • Slide 2: Three tips for concert attendees with the CTA - “Know before you go” next to a link sticker directing people to a relevant link on your website

  • Slide 3: Three ways people can support your organization with the CTA - “Support our mission” next to a link sticker directing people to a relevant link on your website

About Us - Use the “About” page on your website to craft three Instagram story slides to explain who you are, what you do as well as your organization's mission and vision.

  • Slide 1: Who you are

  • Slide 2: What you do, plus any relevant highlights/awards

  • Slide 3: Mission and vision with the CTA “Support our work” next to a link sticker directing people to a relevant link on your website

3. Get the Lowdown on Links

The link in your Instagram bio provides visitors with direct connection to your most important marketing tool: your website. This is why it’s important to use this valuable real estate wisely.

There are generally two approaches to Instagram bio links – direct links or link landing pages.

Direct links - I like to keep things simple, especially when resources are limited. That’s why I like direct links. Not only does this approach help keep things simple, it helps keep your marketing and your visitors focused.

The idea is to focus on one marketing campaign at a time, and to update the link in your Instagram bio with the corresponding landing page. When your campaign changes, so does the link.

For example, if you’ve got an upcoming concert, marketing efforts would be focused on selling tickets. Therefore, the Instagram bio link would take people directly to the concert landing page so they can purchase tickets and learn more about the concert.

Even if you’re not running a full-fledged campaign, there’s always something your organization can promote. This gives your patrons more opportunities to support you. Think of an interim promotion as a ‘mini-campaign’.

These mini-campaigns could direct people to your:

  • Email subscription signup page

  • Fundraiser page

  • Merchandise page

  • Recent blog post

  • Recent feature in the news

  • Latest YouTube video

One downside of the direct link approach is that you’d also need to update the link on your other social profiles. If you’re running simultaneous campaigns or you simply have the bandwidth and desire, a link landing page is another option.

Link landing page - Tools like Linktree can be used in place of the direct bio link, in order to lead people to a landing page containing multiple links. The links and accompanying descriptions are curated and updated by the account owner.

Instead of taking your visitor to a strategic campaign landing page, those who click the link in your Instagram bio will — based on the links you choose — be given the choice of where they want to go next.

One brand that’s doing the Linktree landing page right is Classic FM. When you click on the link in Classic FM’s Instagram bio, you’re taken to the following Linktree landing page:

As you can see above, visitors are then given the choice to read Classic FM articles, cast a vote, watch a video or listen live.

Here are five reasons why the Classic FM Linktree is an example to follow:

  • It keeps things focused with only four links

  • The bio is clear and straightforward

  • A consistent brand logo is used

  • Relevant icons are used for each link

  • Links appear to be arranged in order of priority.

Though incredibly popular, link landing pages have some downsides. The first downside is that you’re not able to focus your customer towards an action that aligns with your current marketing goal, such as selling concert tickets. And if you use too many links (more than four) your visitor may get overwhelmed, distracted or lose interest.

Whether you choose a direct link or Linktree landing page, you need a clear call to action that entices people to click.

4. Create a clear Call to Action

Now that you’ve updated your bio and link, it’s time to let people know what action to take when they visit your page or view your posts. This marketing tactic is known as a call to action, or CTA.

With any marketing campaign you need to be able to answer the question: What action do we want people to take? The answer might be to purchase tickets or donate to a campaign. This becomes your CTA.

Adding a CTA to your Instagram bio is a great way to increase the visibility of your current campaign and inspire people to take action...

Click here to read the full blog on Chorus Connection.

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