My last post was not very complimentary of Instagram. I piled on with Fstoppers in reviewing why it might be a good idea to ditch the service. Given that most people are fabulously addicted to the platform, I thought it would make sense to comment on a post made by the same outfit on what to do to make the Instagram profile more attractive.

The reality is that most people love to share their wares on the platform. Photographers, being desperate for attention in a smartphone camera culture, love to get their expertise to the location of most eyeballs. Here are some suggestions for a photographer Instagram profile

1. Consistent Instagram username

Most people if they are trying to be noticed across social media use one username. Your Instagram profile should reflect the username you use across all other social platforms. Fstoppers suggest:

The name that you use on Instagram needs to be the same that you use elsewhere online. Being consistent will help people to find you on the various social platforms you use.

If this is not obvious to you then your social media game is crap.

Hubspot says to make your username recognizable.

…(make) sure your username is recognizable and easily searchable, like your business name. If your business name is already taken as a username, try keeping your business name as the first part of your username so that people searching for your business are more likely to come across your account.

2. Your name in its proper location

Use of the name field in the Instagram profile field is important. Unless you are trolling the ‘gram then using your real name is a tidy way for people to get to know you. Additionally you should use this field to throw in some relevant keywords about you.

For instance: Chad Butterfield | Skateboarder | Nashville

You won’t be putting a bunch in there but if you want to be found in a keyword search on Instagram then this is how you proceed. Social Media Examiner has the goods:

Because Instagram users also search for keywords, putting a keyword in your name triples your searchability scores. Even if your username doesn’t contain the keyword, people can still find you through the keyword in your name.

They are very keen in making sure you add things like location to your Instagram profile. If you want people in London to find you via your Instagram profile then by all means add it.

3. You’re a photographer, make your profile photo look like it

If you are billing yourself as a visual creative then you should make certain your profile photo is top drawer. There is no reason to have a poorly cropped, blurred, nonsensical profile photo. People might notice your Instagram content first but the next place their eyeballs rest is who the heck created this masterpiece. Hopefully they won’t see some cheesy photo of a tool eating a burrito at Taco Bell.

For the best profile photo Hubspot recommends:

you’ll ideally want to upload a square photo with your logo in the center, placed so that the corners of the photo can be cut off without a problem.

For reference, keep in mind the minimum profile picture size for Instagram is 110 x 110 pixels — a perfect square. Don’t deviate too far from this minimum; staying below 200 x 200 is encouraged so users don’t see a blurry or stretched photo when visiting your profile page.

4. Sell yourself by the bio

The next thing to do is make sure your bio is together. You are pimping yourself on Instagram in the hopes editorial creatives review your work and employ your ass. Make sure your bio gives them the details that would make them hire or buy from you in as few words as possible

This is your marketing content. It’s like the 5 second elevator pitch. You have 150 characters to make  it succinct, interesting and informative. And don’t be a high school tool and add emojis and hashtags to the bio. It won’t help in search and just looks busy and stupid.

I’m sure you’ve seen people writing their life stories in this field and the majority of the time it just detracts from the images. Less is most definitely more when it comes to writing your bio. Accurately describe yourself in as few words as possible so people can quickly get onto looking and engaging at the pictures on your profile. – Fstoppers

5. Ditch the stupid emojis and special characters

If it was me I would omit emojis and special characters pretty much from my feed altogether. Fstoppers think that old apps and smartphone might not render them correctly. I highly doubt that.

It’s a generalization but dinosaur clients and old school art directors are quite often slow to update hardware and software. If these are the people you are trying to impress then it’s best to minimize the risk and choose emojis carefully. -Fstoppers

…there’s no actual guarantee that what others will see on screen will be the same as how you see it. The other problem with using special characters is that it will damage your searchability. Even though that new fancy “font” looks like it is spelling out the word “photographer” it actually isn’t. As a result, you just made yourself even harder to be found on Instagram. -Fstoppers

If someone is using a dinosaur phone with antiquated OS and apps then they probably aren’t giving much of a hoot about Instagram. Certainly no influencer or editor is using second rate equipment.

No I think using these look ridiculous. I know fitness experts like to add a weightlifter emoji in front of their name. Mommy Instagrammers like to put a baby emoji on there. Etc. ad nauseum. Nay, if you are a photographer I think it is pretty dumb to drop a camera emoji in front of your name. Then of course there are stars and pointy fingers and such. Yuck.

But hey Social Media Examiner totally disagrees so there.

6. You don’t need a business account

Fstoppers brings up Instagram business accounts. They don’t think it’s worth having. I don’t think they are worth having. I mean, if you are so obsessed over data points about who is seeing your crap and when then I guess you’ll pony up the cash. Why would a freelancing photographer need this? They aren’t Pepsi with a huge marketing department desperate to create spreadsheets and PowerPoint shows for their executive suits. Your time and money is best spent elsewhere. And I don’t know of any freelancer buying this crap.

Switching your Instagram account to a business one will give you several benefits but I’m not overly convinced they are worth having. While the additional insights and analytics on your profile might be interesting to see, I think there are better uses of your time than obsessing over the numbers. I’d also have serious reservations about declaring to Facebook, Instagram’s owner, that you are now a “business.” Business owners on Facebook continue to reach fewer and fewer of their audience and the only way it seems to be able to break out of this throttling is by paying for the privilege. -Fstoppers

Entrepreneur totally disagrees so take that with a grain of salt. In summation here is what gets them excited about it:

Business accounts provide users with analytics related to post performance and follower growth. Business users have the office location and hours in a section separate from the traditional Instagram bio…Instagram allows Business accounts to include a contact button that sends a message via Instagram direct message, email or SMS to the brand representatives. This makes social media customer support far easier than before…Business accounts can “boost” content with just a few taps. This relatively inexpensive paid promotion ensures that you reach a wider audience no matter what post you choose to boost.

So basically as a photographer it is pretty useless in my ever so humble opinion.

7. Give them a great URL

Finally we come to the URL. You want it as visually appealing as the rest of the profile. I am referring, of course, to the one you inevitably drop in your bio so people can scoot off Instagram and go have a taste of your blog. I assume you have committed to a decent URL name and to a bunch of random numbers and shit. If you are on some platform that does not give you an option of creating a decent URL out of your account then run that thing through TinyURL to at least shorten it.

And make sure you keep that URL up to date. You, like me, may depart from Instagram while keeping the account open. Make sure if someone browses through your Instagram profile and has a knack for clicking blue letters that they will go to a site that is current. Nothing like a stale link to dampen the mood.

Everything on your account should be both professional and visually appealing. This equally applies to the URL you use on your profile page. Not only does a bunch of random numbers and letters on the screen look amateur, but by making it hard for someone to remember a link you massively reduce the chance that they’ll visit or share the URL in the first place. -Fstoppers

As a photographer, if you must use Instagram then use it professionally. Make sure that the Instagram profile information is to the point, informative and easily accessible via the search algorithm. You use Instagram for attention and marketing. Make sure you get the most out of the experience.