Make Your Instagram Profile Work For You: Easy Tips for Food Businesses

July 17, 2023

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November 2, 2022

Is your Instagram profile working as your full-time salesperson? Does your business' Facebook page deserve a raise?

Join Laura Luk of Butterfly Bakes ATL (@butterflybakesatl on Instagram) to learn how to improve your food business' social media presence. We'll help you make your Instagram look better so that it becomes a 24/7 salesperson for your business, not a burden.

If your social media profiles aren't working for you, it's time to look at them with a fresh set of eyes. Remember: People won't hit that follow button unless you give them a compelling reason to do so!

Laura shares advice that you can use to make your food business' Instagram profile not only look more professional, but also attract the right customers to your business so you can make more sales! Follow along as she reviews real food business owners' Instagram profiles live, sharing suggestions and advice you can implement right now.

Video transcript

Laura Luk  
We're super excited to dive in. Today I'm going to spend a very, very short amount of time in the beginning, talking to you about Instagram, its benefits, what you need to do when it comes to your profile. We're not going to get into content today. I'm hoping we can do a separate one on that. But today we're talking about what customers see when they look at your Instagram. Emily, do you have any housekeeping before I just jump in?

Emily Brungard  
No, I just wanted to thank everyone for joining us. We are so excited to help you, you all grow your businesses, we're here as Castiron, I work at Castiron on the marketing team. We are a software company building ecommerce tools and business management tools to help you run your business, your independent food business, more efficiently, better, in a nutshell. So you know, this is all part of it — to get people to buy from you. First thing you have to do, most of the time, is market yourself. Most people do have to do some marketing to get some sales. So Instagram is a huge part of that. We're really excited to have Laura sharing her knowledge.

Laura Luk  
Awesome. It's been great for me to work with Castiron, I think this is our third webinar like this. And yeah, each time we just get into even more of a groove. And I absolutely love this topic. So I'm hoping that by the end of it, you will feel a lot more strategic when it comes to your Instagram. It's not something that's intimidating, anyone can do it, you don't have to do silly videos, you can really use it again, just as another tool to get customers to your door. So, just a brief bit about me. I'm a cookie artist, I'm a cottage food baker, I create custom sugar cookies decorated with royal icing, I sell them out of my home, people come and pick them up at my front door. So I have that side of my business. But I'm also a content creator, which basically just means I've grown a following on social media. It's part of my income stream, you know, creating content that's monetized on social media. I have 102,000 followers on Instagram, 53,000 followers on Facebook, and 39,000 followers on Tiktok. And I have grown that over the past almost two years. So I've kind of gone through the flow of understanding the algorithm and it's constantly changing. So we're constantly having to adapt. But what I'm hoping to show you today is why Instagram, okay? Three main reasons. Number one, it's free. Instagram is a completely free platform to advertise your business. You don't have to put ads in the newspaper, you don't have to buy ad space on, you know, any type of magazine or pay for search engine optimization when it comes to Google. Think of — and this is moving on to the second point — think of Instagram as a search engine. It works the same as Google, when you follow the right formula for success on Instagram, particularly when it comes to your profile business will come to you. Okay, so you're going to attract people on Instagram, they're going to be searching for your business, your product, your location, and you're going to make yourself super visible to them. And as a result, get customers from directly from the platform. Instagram also gives you a lot of legitimacy as a business. It's something that you know if any of you have been in business for any amount of time, I'm sure you have been asked the question, "do you have an Instagram?" It's usually the first thing that I'm asked and you know, people that I need, they don't know that I have all those numbers that I just you know rambled off to you. But that's something that's become part of our vernacular. It's "what's your Instagram handle, I'll look you up. I'll follow you." It's become much more common to say what's your Instagram rather than what's your website and for us, particularly those of us that are  utilizing Castiron, that has become such a benefit, because Instagram has become the funnel to which we send people to our website, and convert people to customers. So, again, what we're going to talk about today is we're going to take a look at Instagram, the platform, and how you should be representing yourself and your business on the platform. I'm going to take you through my Instagram profile as an example.

The first thing our eye goes to when we go to a new Instagram account is their their photo. We're just visual people, it's, you know, what we go to first, if we're not looking at their videos or their pictures, we're looking at their picture. So when it comes to your photo, there's three things I want you to consider: clear, close and clean. I want the photo to be very, very clear, not blurry, no, like stuff in the background, I want it to be close. I personally feel that it should be a photo of yourself. If you are an individual that like for me, for instance, when someone comes to me for cookies, they're getting me, right, like I'm the baker, I'm the decorator, I'm the photographer, I'm the customer service rep. So when it comes to my business, it is about me now, as you can tell from my picture, I have a cookie next to my face, and that represents my brand. But people really like to connect with a person. And also seeing a person's face makes us feel like connected to them in some way. So I would encourage you, I don't think it's 100% necessary to have a picture of yourself. But I do think it is helpful. And I do think that it will draw in more people. Because then people will realize you're an individual and you're not like a company. Close, I want it to be close up and clean, just meaning I don't want a bunch of distractions in the photo, I don't want a bunch of busyness.

Okay, your user name. So your username is at the very, very top where it says @butterflybakesatl, that's my username. That's how people find me. You want your your your username to be readable and relevant to you. So I think that's pretty self explanatory. And if I find any usernames that I feel like are possibly problematic, we can go into that, but you want your username to be readable and relevant.

Okay, next. Your name, I think this is probably one of the most important parts that a lot of people are missing out on, your name is searchable within Instagram. So again, when when we're thinking about how we want people to find you, you want to use searchable keywords in your user in your name. So your name is the line that is bold, right under your photo. For me, I wrote my first name. What I do, I'm a cookie artist. And again, for me that encapsulates both the fact that I make custom cookies as a business and I create cookie content. So for me, that's what I call myself: cookie artist, and I'm located in Atlanta, Georgia. And that's relevant because I sell out of my home, and I service my local area. So if I didn't have Atlanta, Georgia on there, and I just had Laura cookie artist, the Atlanta portion of my searchability would not be based on my location. So people would be able to find me if they're looking for cookie artists, but they will not be able to find me if they're looking for Atlanta cookies or cookies in Atlanta. So I hope that makes sense. It's really, really important unless you ship if you're someone that's able to ship out a state, maybe location isn't as important to you, but for those of us that are cottage food, bakers, our location is really important. So for me, I'm in a major metropolitan city, so I put that city's name. If you're let's say you're in, you know, suburb of a major city, you might want to say, Metro Atlanta area or metro, you know, put in your city area, just an idea. And I also think it's really important to have your name people want to know who you are. They want to know again, that you're an individual doing this. This isn't like a team of people.

Okay, your following. This is hard for a lot of people you're you should only be following people. Well that are in your, like niche. So for instance, for me, I only follow people. Again, this is my professional account, I also have a personal account. But I only follow people from this account that are bakers, content creators. You know, cake artists, things like that people that are in my niche. So friends and family should not be, I know this is really hard. I'll caveat that. I'll give you one, okay? If it's your sister, or your husband, or your wife, or whatever, and you're just like, I have to follow my husband. You know, I'll give you one. But this is not the place to follow your friends and family, you want to as much as possible, keep that following number as low as possible. And that's just don't blame me, blame the algorithm.

Bio. So your bio should be what you do, and why they should follow you. It seems counterintuitive, but you really have to tell people want to follow you. So for me, I started my bio by saying cookies are my canvas. Watch me decorate, right, because if I just said cookies are my canvas, it's like "Okay, good for you." But I'm asking the viewer to watch me. And in order to watch me, they should follow me. That's the call to action.

Next, website, you should absolutely have a website if you are a business. I'll say that. Instagram has a field for your website. I personally like to use Linktree because I have several different websites that I want to bring people to, one of them being Castiron, I also use linktree to bring people to sub pages of my website. So on my Castiron shop, I have custom cookie forms, I have guides, I have tutorials. So I have an individual link in my Linktree for each one of those items. Again, we look at things just visually. And for me, that's what I recommend if you have any sort of resources other than your order form that's on your website.

And then there's one more additional. So again, we're not gonna get super into the content today, we have a lot of profiles to review. But two things I want you to pay attention to, in addition to your profile, are your highlights. So highlights are stories that you save and just categorize into buckets. I have my logo as my highlight cover. And that's just for continuity sake. A lot of some people use Canva for those things, I just put my logo. And then the next thing people are going to see, which is a new feature of Instagram, is your pinned posts. You can pin up to three posts. These can be any posts you like, I tend to choose posts that lead my viewer to a product that I offer. Or like just a post that I absolutely love, and that represents me. So those are, those are the highlights.

Let's get into it. Emily's going to start pulling up the profiles. And I want to give a disclaimer, I'm going to be really honest, I'm not going to be super thorough, because we have a lot of people to get through. And I want you to learn from not only what I say about your profile, but I want you to really hear what I say about everyone's profile, because it'll probably start to repeat myself. And um, yeah, let's do it.

Emily Brungard  
Perfect. I am pulling up a couple.

Laura Luk  
Yep, perfect. Okay, so the first one yay. Don't be scared. Okay, so Amanda's Vegan Vibes. Okay. Love your name. I actually really like your profile picture. I like I like the closeness, I like your background, there's no distractions. I love your name, I would add, okay, in the end is vegan vibes, I would add your city, because I see you're in New Jersey, but I would add your city or your location. Next to vegan vibes, providing vegan cakes and treats for all of life celebrations in New Jersey. I wouldn't say "providing" because that almost makes it sound like you're just an in between, I would come up with a little bit more of a meaningful descriptor for what you do. Because I'm assuming you're the one that made all these beautiful cakes and treats. So I would get a little bit more into. Yeah, I mean, your stuff is beautiful. And your pictures are nice and bright. Oh, I love that picture of you holding the cake with the ice creams. So you might want to consider making that your profile photo. But do you see what I mean about? I mean, clearly your your work is great. I would, I would speak a little bit more to what you do. And also you need a call to action. So you don't just provide cakes, you need to tell them okay, order here. You know, what I would do is the line right before your website, I would say you know, "custom order form below" and then put like a little arrow. Again, it doesn't have to be complicated. Just a few tweaks. And I mean, you have 213 followers. Your following is great. I'm assuming those 40 people are people in your in your niche. So yeah, I think that's great. Add a couple pinned posts, and I think you're good to go.

Emily Brungard  
Okay, great job. Amanda. Thank you for being our first, you just happen to be first in the alphabet.

Laura Luk  
Okay, Jillian. Okay, love that you have your name A Traveling Cupcake. That is an adorable name. Consider changing your profile picture. I love that picture of you. Right there. That's a really sweet picture. You have cookie dealer t shirt on you're holding something, consider maybe not your profile picture. Where you have your name, I would put cupcake artist or you know, baker or something and your location. And then you need a bio, you don't have a bio. Jillian, you don't have a bio. It's just we're just going to assume we know what what you're doing. You don't have a website, either. Hopefully you have a Castiron website, or if not, you can sign up for one. And we need your location. I don't know if I said that or not. I love your numbers. 141 following just make sure those are all people in your niche and add some pin posts needs some highlights. Because again, the value of highlights is that people can access information. Think of highlights as a library. You don't have to save every story you have ever put up as a highlight. But start saving some highlights and I believe you can go back if you're a creator account on Instagram, which all of you should be I should have said that in the beginning but do not have a personal account you need to have a creator account that gives you business insights and a professional dashboard where you can look up all this information but I believe if you want to go back, you can go back once you're in that creator account, you can go back and save some old stories to your highlights. So just something to consider.

Okay, go to the next one. Awesome. Okay. Okay, Bake by I'm assuming it's Jac. Or Jacque? Okay, I love your I love your logo. But I would consider having your picture. I just would dessert shops. So are you an actual storefront? Or are you, and if you're here and I'm asking questions, feel free to answer in the chat. We're gonna. I do see there's a question. I will get to it. But if your profile is being reviewed, and I'm asking questions, feel free to put it in the chat and we'll try to get to it.

Let me just answer this question real quick. So I don't forget it. Sierra asks, how do you feel about following local businesses that are not in your niche? I think it depends. Like, for instance, I follow because I'm a local baker that's, you know, networking and selling within my local area. I do follow some bloggers and food bloggers and people that share this type of work, right, like supporting small businesses, local artists, things like that. So I'm not saying they all have to be bakers, but if they're related to your niche, or networking with them in some way would benefit you. Absolutely. I just don't want you following like, the latest Bachelor people and celebrities. Like that's not the purpose, your following number is so precious. I want everyone that you follow to have a purpose and a potential benefit to you. And the algorithm.

Okay, so let me go back to Bake by Jac. Okay, Miami, Orlando, I would put that next to your name. Again, are you a storefront? Or are you a home baker? I would, I would, that would be important to know. Because if you're a home baker, you know, your location is people are going to come to you. And if you're a storefront, you might want to consider having your address there or your specific city. Trendy bakes and more. I'll be honest, I don't really know what that means. Um, I understand that you have a personal account that you've linked there. But that's not really super relevant. I would love to know more about who you are in this profile, rather than me having to go to that other profile for me to see like who you are as a person. So I would consider putting a picture of yourself and describing a little bit more about what you do and what you have to offer. So DM or link in bio, I would take out DM you don't want to take orders over DM I know that's really tempting to do. But it's a I mean, you have a website. So you might as well use it right. It's a lot more professional, I love your highlights. I actually really love your feed. Again, I wish we had time to go more into the content, but it looks great. I would just be a little bit more specific. I know you have a menu there. But you're just you're kind of banking on the fact that someone's going to click on that picture and read that, like fairly small print, to be honest. So I would put a little bit more about what you do in the bio and putting a call to action which you have Lincoln bought, you know, to order Lincoln bio. Yeah, I mean, I can tell you're a fairly new account. So it'll take time for you to build up and I think those things will really all of a sudden you'll become searchable. And so you've already you've got the content, like your content is beautiful. So great job with that.

Next one. Okay, so look at Allison's name. She's nailed it. Allison, cupcake Baker, Jacksonville, Florida. She's searchable. She's probably going to be the first one that comes up as a cottage baker in Jacksonville, Florida. I know what that means. Because I'm a cottage baker. So cottage baker just means you have a license to be able to sell your home. But not everyone knows what that means. So I would be a little bit more specific there about what you do in particular, if you do cookies, I want you to put cookies if you do cakes, I want you to put cakes if you do everything I want you to try to say it in a way that's concise but gets the message through that. You know, these are the things that you offer. In Jacksonville I love that, I love your highlights, but I would consider changing your picture. I mean, I'm just going to sound like a broken record. But um, yeah, and I love your name. Bake It Sweet LLC. That's That's awesome. Okay, I think we can go to the next one. Yeah, looks like you do cupcakes.

Okay. Barcode By HW. Barcode, okay, so you have a trademark on your name. I'm not super familiar with trademarks. I don't know if that's completely necessary to put there. Okay, so you also linked another account. So Emily, can you click on that other account? See? Okay, so your personal? Yeah. Well, this looks like someone who, okay, so bartending business. I'm just trying to because again, this is I haven't looked at these before you guys. So you're seeing me look at it, just like a random person will look at it. I think we need your name in there somewhere. I would love a picture of you with the popcorn. Especially if you're, if you're a well known person in your community, who started a business. Make it about you like, you know, Hollywood's house. Okay. I don't want to have to click on that to know it's you. Does that make sense? I really like your bio, I would just, I would add your name, I would add a picture and I would add your location. I know you've hit South Carolina. But where are you in South Carolina? Or do you ship, if you ship? You know, sometimes it's good to say, you know, based in Charleston. But shipping, you know, statewide or shipping nationwide? If I'm just a random person looking at this, I'm like, wow, it looks great. Looks like the popcorn's great, but how do I get it? Right? November menu available 11/8? What does that mean? Does that mean you don't have a menu right now? If it's like a cycle of a monthly menu, I would put something like new menu debuting every month or something like that, in addition to the November menu available 11/8, because from this, if I were to see this, I would be like, "Oh, well, I can't order from her until November 8." So again, people are just going to take a real quick look, they're not going to, you know, like have all these deep, deep thoughts that I'm having.

Okay. Oh, Christina! Okay, so Christina is local to me. I don't think it's necessary to have LLC. That doesn't really add any value to you. Cottage licensed bakery in Marietta, Georgia, I would put Marietta, Georgia in your profile name. So that should be something that's searchable. Using premium ingredients, email for custom order requests, okay. So you have an arrow pointing down, but then you don't have an email. So I'm not sure what the disconnect is there. But I would recommend that you look into Castiron, if you want to set up a website, especially going into the holidays, it's like such a good time to start that. But if not, make sure we put your email there, or a Linktree out to like a form or something where you want them to submit orders. I would love a picture of you, Christina. And I love your logo, I would use your logo as your highlight cover. You have a nice library of highlights, I would use your logo there. It's just going to make your page look a lot cleaner. It's going to not distract the eye because I mean I can already see your your first three posts are so beautiful. And I would pin some of those posts that either got a lot of likes or just ones that you like, I mean, it's your page. So you should you should have an affinity towards the ones you put at the top. So I think that could be helpful to you. Thanks for joining!

Emily Brungard  
Can I ask you a question? What do you think, Laura, about how Christina's got a watermark? What do you think about watermarks? Because I see some people use those. I see some people don't use them.

Laura Luk  
I have a I have a pretty polarizing opinions. I don't think they're necessary. Because if someone steals my picture, like what am I going to do, you know? I just have never done it. Call me lazy, but I just haven't really ever found a need to do it. That's just me. I think it's distracting.

Okay, Marilee! Marilee Cooks love that your name's Marilee. You have a lot of posts. Okay, I would put personal chef next to your name. So, Chicago, I would put Marilee Personal Chef. Because, okay, so you're a food blogger? Do you have an actual blog? Or is Instagram your blog? If Instagram is your blog, I don't think you need to put food blogger. If you have an actual blog, which a lot of people do, I would put a link to your blog. But I love let me cook for you. I would be a little bit more specific about that. Who do you cook for? Do you cook for couples? Do you cook in homes? Do you cook in your own home and then deliver the food. So I would be a little bit more specific about the services that you provide. I'm giving a call to action to either go to your blog or go to your website to place an order. So that's where you're going to be able to convert customers and convert followers. If you're if your Instagram is your food blog, and you're creating content, then you need a call to action that's appropriate for that. So like how I put watch me decorate, you would put you know, watch me shit, watch me. Watch me cook, you know, weekly, weekly cooking with Marilee, or weekly recipes or whatever it is, whatever value you're providing, you want to put that in your bio, that way people know "Oh, I'm going to follow her because I want a weekly recipe or I want to follow her because she's going to tell me you know what to cook for date night" or whatever it may be. So whatever your you know, value that you provide. I would put that and I would take out anything that doesn't have to do with that. I love your picture, I love your glasses, I love your I can really get a sense of who you are by your photo, I would just either take another photo, because there's some stuff in the background that's a little distracting. Or I'm gonna just look up there's a an app where you can remove the background. I'm just the name is escaping me right now.

Emily Brungard  
I know a website, I think the URL is just BG for background, that's one that I use. Or if you have a Canva premium subscription, you can do that there. But that costs like 10 bucks a month.

Laura Luk  
Yeah, and the one I was thinking of is called Photo round. I think it might work similarly to Canva, though, where you have to pay to remove a watermark. But that might work where all of a sudden we're just seeing merrily right. And then yeah, I think that that's a good place to start with you. But I yeah, I love it. You're doing great.

Here, we can go the next one. Okay, Simply CC Bakes. Okay, I love your name. Sadiya. Baker. Cookier. Great. I would take out the emojis, you don't need them. I would put your location, so London based. I would put London UK that way people can find you. "I'm a lover of all things cookie creative cookies for all occasions. professional baker. Mom have to DM for orders." Okay, I think there's there's too much going on there. I would I would take out lover of all things cookie, we know you love cookies. Because your pages about cookies. So I would take that out creative cookies for all occasions. I love that. I don't think you need professional baker. London-based, we're going to put that in your main line. So maybe DM for orders. I've already said you need a website. If not, you know, send them put an email in there. I'm speaking from someone who did this for a while. I did DMs for orders. And I just, I thought I was slick, and I like talking to people. And it just, it's not a good way to grow. And it's not as professional. And they're just, there's some, there's some different kinds of people out there. So we don't want to expose you to them. Um, but yeah, you're doing great. And I would change your profile picture, I would either change it to a picture of you holding a cookie or just you and an apron or, you know, logo or something like that. And if you guys are like, where is she? Where are we getting all these logos from Canva is a free, Emily just mentioned the paid premium membership, but you can make a logo, like yourself and like 30 minutes. Canva has a lot of great templates for that. So I would either make a logo and Canvas something really simple and readable. Or I would do a picture of you with the cookies. Okay, I think we can go to the next one. Okay, so see cook setup. Oh, that's adorable. Oh, I get it. Okay, cookies. That is really cute. Okay, I love your okay, I love your logo. Again, I would put a picture of yourself. I'm just going to keep saying it.

Okay, Sissy Cooks It Up. I don't think you need to repeat your name. So you've got your username, which is very readable. I don't think you need to repeat it again. Okay, I'm Kayla, people call me Sissy. That's really cute. I'm crafting lux custom cookies in Lex, Kentucky. Okay, put Lexington, Kentucky and your name. "No DM for orders," you can take that out. Because people are going to DM you and you can send them the link, that's fine. But you don't need to say you're not accepting DMs for orders. I think that's just like, it can come off as unfriendly. And even though you want to set that boundary. I think it's fair to say, you know, directing people to your website will do that more effectively. So order requests at that link, now booking December. Great. You've got your Linktree great, great, great. I would try to reduce the amount of people you're following. Just be careful with that though. Because I don't know if it's still the same but Instagram used to slap you on the wrist if you unfollowed too many people in a day. So try to keep it under 100 and a day, but I would try to get that number as close to your number of posts as possible. Honestly, it you should get that down like a lot. Like try to get it down to like, at least like 500 if you can. But yeah, otherwise it's great. You're doing great. Your cookies look beautiful, beautiful. Like really beautiful.

Okay, Spire Iowa. The Spire pop up focused on using local ingredients. Okay, and you have a website. I know you're in Iowa, but Iowa is a big place. So where in Iowa, what do you pop up? That could be a lot of things. What do you do? What kind of food do you provide? What kind of vibe are you? I would change, well I think your profile picture is fine. Because I'm sensing that this is a more of a business rather than an individual thing. That's fine. Take the number of following way, way down. I know you're probably doing that follow for follow thing that a lot of us do when we first start and that's fine, but start to unfollow some of those people. But yeah, I think you need your location, you need some more information. Like if you're a pizzeria, I see pizza. Like you need to state that. I don't know what kind of food this is. I mean, to be honest, even from looking at the feed I don't really know what this is. Okay, I know it's a pop up. But is it a pop up restaurant? Is it a pop up cafe? What do you feed people? You know, is it first come first serve? Do you have to make a reservation? Like there's a lot of questions that I still have in my mind that I'm sure if we clicked on your website, which I don't want to click on your website because we have like 30 more to go through. But I'm sure if we clicked on your website we would learn right but when I'm going to your Instagram I want to know what I'm looking at. So I hope that makes sense. If you have any questions, you know, I'm happy to expand on that. But this is a little bit of a different one. And that's a good thing. But I think we need to get a little bit more clear on the content that we're showing people from the get go. And once you get that going, I mean popups do depend a lot on social media. And so it's not just getting people to share your stories and all of that it's once they get to your profile, they need to follow you because they need to know where you're going to pop up to next already.

Okay, Sweet Creations by Bree. Okay, love the black and whites, they are clean. Brianna, licensed, insured home baker. That's great. We don't need to know that your licensed and insured like you can put that on your website, but I think it's a little like, again, people don't really know what that means. It can be a little bit confusing for people. Custom vanilla sugar cookies, great. Pickup only, cannot ship, that's fine. Clifton Forge, Virginia, I would put that in your next your name, that way it's searchable. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know where that is exactly. Clifton Forge. But if it's let's say it's like DC metro area, and you want to grab that whole area, you might want to put that in your in your name, but you see where I'm going with it. Like people know that they have to come to you so they need to know where you're located. So with that said, I do think your bio is a little dry. We don't really know much about who you are. We know you make sugar cookies and your cookies are beautiful. But I want to know who Bree is like, I want to know, just a little bit about you. Again, it doesn't have to be like your life story, but just a little, you know, little taste of what I'm going to be shown right? Like I can see there's beautiful cookies, but why should I follow you? You know, you really want to ask yourself like, if someone who didn't know me was looking at this, what would make them stay? You have a great, you have great numbers. 128 posts under four following. You're doing great on that.

Sweet Faith Bakes. Oh my gosh, this Halloween costume is so funny. Have you guys seen this meme? Okay, like, I mean, yeah, yeah. Local cookie lady. That is so funny. Okay, sweet faith bakes. Okay, I'm in North Alabama home bakers specializes in decorated sugar cookies, I work full time, but love baking in my free time and do my best in your cookie needs. Um, okay, I love that you have a website, I love your name, I want to know your actual name. So put that I would put your name first, then your company name, then your location. Um, like writing out your location, like you did is not going to be helpful to you. Instagram is like, a machine, right? Like, it's not going to understand things unless you write them out or, you know, put them in a format that the machine is going to understand so. And I would actually bullet point, some people like to use emojis, that's fine. Some people like to put little stars or whatever, that just separates the bullet points. I try to stay away from writing sentences like long sentences like you have. Because again, our attention span is so short, you need to keep it to the point and again put in as many keywords as possible. So home Baker specializing in decorated sugar cookies. I love that you work full time, but I don't need to know that because this is a business right? So your presence is as a business it's not as a person working full time. It's not as a mom, it's not as a caretaker. You know, those are all wonderful things about you as a person but they don't need to be on your business page. Baking in your free time. Again, I would just keep that out of it. Like you know, people will get to know you in a way that makes sense like in your personal life. But on here, I mean you've taken the time to have a logo you have a great name, like you have all the all the makings of a great Instagram presence. I want you to pull back on some of that just fluff and I want you to make it very accessible for people. I know we're not talking about content, but can you scroll down just a little bit? Okay, so you, so I love the means I love a love, love, love a good meme. But I would do a little bit of cleanup when it comes just because you have such little content on your page. Um, I would take out some of the memes like now that Halloween is over, like I would take out maybe all but one. And it's okay guys, like I know when you're first starting, you feel like you have to have a million posts. But you really don't like the quality over quantity always right? Whether you have 10 followers or 10,000 followers, I want you to keep always be looking through your content and updating it right? Like you want your content to to be attractive to people like you want it to be something that people want to go back to. And the memes and stuff are fun and relevant. But it's okay to clean it up after the fact. I believe in you. I believe you can do it.

And while I have everyone's attention, if you have a topic that you would like us to talk about in the next class, whether it's content or how to pin posts, or any of that, like, let us know, you can send me a DM or write us a little comment or a question and we will take your feedback into consideration. Okay. We're making good time.

The Doughmestic Baker, oh Instagram cut your name off. That's unfortunate. But it's okay. I don't know what it takes to change your username. I don't know if it's like, they make you jump through hoops. And I'm someone that's so paranoid about changing my Instagram because I'm afraid it'll just go away if I do anything to it so but otherwise, I think your bio looks great Allison, and Doughmestic Bakery, I would add Tampa Bay to next to Doughmestic Bakery. And then that way you can take it out. You honestly honestly, you can take out that whole — well, home based baker, I would say home based baker specializing in custom decorated sugar cookies, which is I think is what you're doing. I love your logo, I love your highlight links or pictures. I would love to see a picture of you Alson. And what you do, I mean, your feed is beautiful. You have a linktree, which is great. And I would try to okay, you might think I'm ridiculous, but I would try to try to take down your following number a little bit. Try to get it under 100. Because you're a small account, and I think you're just recently started. You're going to be able to follow more and more people as your numbers grow. But just in the beginning, there's something something about the algorithm that likes you to have like a ratio, like an even ratio, so your posts and your following should be around the same number. Followers, you know, you just want that to be the biggest number always. Um, but yeah, you're doing great. You really are.

Okay, A Cooks Canvas. Okay, you guys have some great names. I'm telling you, Veronica. Chef, food photographer and recipe developer for table where slash cookware? Okay, I'm not sure why we're capitalizing tableware/cookware I know those are the things that you are taking. I think those are the things you're taking photos of. But I think there's maybe we can tweak that a little bit. Because when you capitalize it like that, it makes it seem like it's a company. I'm currently cooking in Chicago restaurants, photography copyright. And then is that another account?

Emily Brungard  
No, I think that's her. She was saying that she owns her photos.

Laura Luk  
I see. Okay, you own your photos? Okay. So the questions I would ask, I love your profile picture, the questions I would ask are, I would sorry, I would zoom in a little bit on your on your I know, you want to drink in there. But I would zoom in just a little bit more on your face. So you're a chef, food photographer, and recipe developer, that's a lot going on. So we're missing a call to action, we're missing what value you have on Instagram and what you want to keep what you want people to do. I see you have a link there. But what's at the link? Right? Like? Are your services listed there? Is it a blog, we need a little bit more information directing people to the link. I mean, obviously, your photos are beautiful. You want to whenever you're a creator, or an artist or a photographer, you want to lead with that in your profile. With that said, I would come up with some type of logo or cleaner, more succinct, highlight reel. photos, images, you get you guys get what I'm saying? But yeah, I think I think it's great. But I think and I think you need to take down your following. So you have 1300 followers, you need to probably bring that following down. Like by half I know you probably follow a lot of restaurants. So that might be challenging, but really just come through that following and try to get that really like you know, you can follow the restaurants you can follow like the people in your business but like no friends and family, no, like celebrities all that so you can have a personal account for that stuff. Okay, we can go the next one. Perfect.

Emily Brungard  
Only thing that I would add, just from my perspective, when I see a link that looks like this. I don't know I'm so like, wary of scams and phishing and like, I don't know what's behind this link. So if you have like or something like that, that just like makes me feel more secure as like, you know, a potential follower or customer of yours. So that's just my two cents.

Laura Luk  
Yeah. No, and thank you for that. Emily. That's really important to make people feel safe. And it's, it's not you. It's everyone else. It's the unfortunate world we live in right now with with social media, and just yeah, there's a lot of people out there that are trying to hack into accounts. And yeah, clicking on links is very scary.

Cookie Shack. Yum. That's cute. Okay, beautiful sugar cookies decorated for any occasion. Thank you for stopping by. Okay, so we're not getting who you are. We don't know who this is. I would love to know your name, I would love for your profile picture to not be just a picture of a cookie, especially a seasonal cookie, because that that's just going to be too much for you to have to keep up with. I would love actually in the order of like, my preference. Personally, I would love it to be a picture of you, either by yourself or with your product, then I would say if that's not an option, I would choose a logo because it's professional. And this would be my last option actually, not to say your cookies are not beautiful. They're beautiful. You have great styling. But when it comes to your profile, this is like what people are seeing appeals so if I didn't know any better, I would not I would think oh, she just, you know, made these cookies and that's that's what she does. You know, I wouldn't know like the full portfolio of what you do. And I know you said for any occasion, but I would get instead of the thank you for stopping by because even saying that it's like, oh, you're just stopping by but you're not staying, we want people to stay, we want them to hit follow, we want them to engage with us, right? So in order to do that, we need to tell them how to engage with us how to what type of content we present, what type of things we sell. I see you have a website. Emily, I could be wrong. But I'm not familiar with GoDaddy. I would look into is there a way to clean up that website? So it's not so long? And it's not so? Like, I would almost just, if that's the only link you have to send them to, I would almost do a link tree, because people are just so comfortable with Link tree. To your point, Emily, like, if I saw that website, I don't know, it'd be like, is that a website? Because it doesn't, you know, it just has a lot on there. So I would I would try to clean that up, I would put your location, I've no idea where you're located. I mean, you could be in Timbuktu. So put your location, put your name. And otherwise, I mean, your cookies look great. So you don't need any help there. I would just I would clean it up. I would put a call to action and put a little bit more information there because it's a little it's a little plain.

Okay, Diana, this was the one we were waiting for. Okay. Flutterby Sweets and Treats. Decorated sugar cookie, Seattle metro. Great. I would say Metro Seattle, Washington. That's what I would do. Because then you've got the Seattle Washington as a searchable like keyword. Custom decorated sugar cookies, cottage food baker, you can take that out. Seattle area, you can take that out. No shipping outside Washington. That's fine. I would put the email on a separate line. So is that how you take orders? I'm just gonna go to the chat because Diana was in the chat. Diana, is that how you take orders? No, I use the website. Okay. So why do you have your email there? I guess I don't need it. Okay, so this is a and thank you, Diana, for being this person for us. Because it's great that you have an email for your business. But if you don't need people to email you to order, you don't need to have it on your Instagram profile. Right? Um, if you want it there, no, just take it out. I mean, if you you have a website. Um, I would take out your email, and I would right above your website, put order custom cookies at link below and put like an arrow down. Because again, we're just making it really, really clear to people how to reach you and the fact that you are taking orders. I would love a picture of you. I would love you to do some highlights. And your numbers look good. Yeah, I mean, I think you're, you're on you're well on your way, Diana. So just keep going. Just make those small little changes, um, decorated sugar cookies. I would capitalize that just because it is like a header. So it's just gonna look cleaner. Um, but yeah, it looks great. Great job.

Oh, this is my friend Sonia. Sonia is local to me in Atlanta. Sonia's Cookies. Great. I love the picture. I would even zoom in a little bit more. I know it's gonna cut off the cookie but that's okay. Sonia's custom cookies. That's great. I would put I would put metro Atlanta area because you want to reach Atlanta. So I would put Metro Atlanta comma Georgia. I would take out Hello. Well, you could put like, Hi, my name is Sonia, but I would put that all on the same line. I'm a cookie baker from Georgia. That doesn't really say much about you, Sonia. I would take out the Georgia part. Because we're going to put Atlanta in your in your profile name. For orders DM or email me you know what, I told you Sonia, you need to get a Castiron shop. So you know how I feel about that. I just texted her the other day. I'm like, You need to Castiron shop. But for now, if it's email, just put email take out the DM — like they don't need to DM, you're busy. Right, and you're a professional so you have an email. I would just say pick up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, that's perfect. I mean, your cookies are stunning. You're doing a great job there. And I would maybe go through your posts, you have 142 posts. I would try to bring that number down just a hair. Just a hair if you can.

fights and bows that is adorable. Okay, so you do pancakes. Um, I love okay, I love the photo. But I don't love it as your profile picture. That might be an unpopular opinion. But I would love to see an overhead shot. Or just a closer like a zoomed in shot of the Bundt cake because from what I can tell, and again, I'm looking very carefully at these. I'm not just like glancing I wouldn't know what that was, if I didn't read your name, I would be like I see a tea pot, I see some flowers. Again, I can tell it's a beautifully composed picture. But for your profile picture you want to make it really really clear what you do. And like if your product is what you want to showcase. I mean, I would love a picture of you holding the cake. But if that's not possible, I would love like an either an overhead shot of the cake or like this photo but zoomed in much, much more. I'm Joy Lee Richardson. I would put your location next to your name and what you do you newsletter. Again, that link looks a little sauce. So I would either make that a link tree. I'm assuming that like the link to sign up for your newsletter. i You don't need to put your Facebook link. Again, why are we getting your email? How do we order from you? Do we order from you via email? Do you have a website? We need a little bit more clarity on what you want us to do. Do you want us to sign up for the newsletter? Why would we sign up for the newsletter Do you offer? Um, is that how you communicate with your customers what's in the newsletter, right? You can't just throw things out at people like it's it's a little like just a laundry list and I want you to it. You've done a lot of work on building your business you have an email, you have a website you have a newsletter, you have Facebook, I want you to make it a little bit more welcoming. I want you to basically get a link tree go to link Sign up for a link tree and put all these links in your link tree and give us a little bit more personality in your bio. Who are you What do you do how why bundt cakes? I mean who doesn't love a bundt cake but why why should we follow you okay but otherwise I think it's great

David Sweet Tooth, local cake artist, baker from Montgomery County Maryland. Okay, I would I'm literally broken record, I would put your location in your name. I would take out David's Sweet Tooth, which is repetitive. I would just say David, cake artist, Montgomery County, Maryland or if there's a larger again, I'm not familiar with the area in which you live but if there's a larger reaching like searchable Baltimore or whatever it is, I would put that and then in below you could put you know, pickup available in Montgomery County or wherever you're located. I love your logo. I would definitely use that for your highlights. I want you to get some highlights some story highlights. But I want to see you, David, I want to see. I mean, it's not every day that you see a male cake artist. Okay, want to see your handsome face? So, no, I mean, you guys, I'm just saying what everyone is going to be thinking when they pull up these these profiles like anything that can set you apart and make you different to people like us that to your benefit. I mean, you do some awesome work. Like what got you into this? Like, what do you specialize in? Do you specialize in birthday cakes, or I mean, buttercream fondant, like, sculpture, like What's your specialty? What is your, I don't want to have to scroll through your 37 posts, I want you to tell me what you love to do. I would try to take down your followers a little bit. Just keep those to, you know, relevant people in your niche. And you're going to be you're going to, you're going to blown away. Okay, I think you can go the next one.

Emily Brungard  
Perfect. David, one thing I noticed too, is that your your link is not linked. It's just pasted into your bio. So I can't actually, like nothing happens when I click it. So you definitely want to make sure you add that there's a URL field when you're editing your profile on Instagram. Just one minor thing that I would call out.

Laura Luk  
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Maraq Gourmet Soups. Oh, I love this. I love soup. Leslie, you're in Cleveland. Okay, so you saw how long it took me to get there. So you definitely want Cleveland in your name. Are you a home baker? Or do you have a storefront? Okay, markets so I think you probably go to farmers markets. So I would I would put, okay, this is what I would do. Not knowing you're a startup kitchen. Okay, awesome. So, not knowing a ton of information. Leslie, what I would do is I would next to your name, put whatever you think describes your business. So we had the pop up shop earlier. But you know, I understand that you make the soups, I understand that they're premier. But why should I follow you again it kind of all comes back to what is the value that you're bringing in? What's the call to action? Am I following you so I can be educated about what I'm eating? Am I following you because you're going to be at the Lincoln Park farmers market or you know, Tremont farmers market. You need to say something about, you know, follow me for market updates. And the latest flavors. 18 different varieties. Okay, so enjoying your life one cup at a time — I would change your logo. It's very busy. It needs to be cleaner. I would I would take out the the little taglines that you have. They're cute but enjoying your life one cup at a time I would take that out because just keep it cleaner. I would love a picture of you at the farmers market like if that's what you do if you go to farmers markets and sell your products like I would love a picture of that a close up you know picture of you with the product or Yeah, like just a little bit more personal friendly. I love your highlights. I just don't think your logos doing much for you in terms of what's online. I'm not saying you have to scrap the logo completely. I'm sure you have packaging and all those things and it might be effective when it comes to like signage and packaging. But in terms of what's on Instagram, it's a different animal, we want it to be clean, we want it to really see we don't have, we don't wanna have to sit here and, you know, read. So your website looks great. Your content, from what I can tell looks great on your numbers look great, you need to post more often. I'm assuming you didn't start yesterday, I think you're, you seem pretty established. So I would post more often, it doesn't have to be super curated, I see of some professional photography, that looks great. But just post more often do something that's feasible for you, even if it's like two to three times a week, and you're gonna have all the people in Cleveland buying soup from you.

Emily Brungard  
I'm gonna add my two cents. Really quick. I know, we've got a couple more, but just remember that this, like, we're on the desktop version of Instagram right now. So 99% of your people who are looking at your follow your account are going to see this on a way smaller scale. So if you see over in this corner on the sidebar, you can see the little cast iron logo, like I mean, that's basically how small your your logo and or your profile picture is going to be. So, you know, once you're zoomed down to such a small size, you know, we really can't see this enjoying your life one cup at a time. That's that's a great tagline. But yeah, put it in your bio instead of in your logo, because I'm not really going to be able to see that on Instagrams tiny size.

Laura Luk  
Oh my gosh, absolutely. And that's why I don't really love logos as the profile picture. Because of that reason it can kind of get lost. Like and it's not as recognizable as a photo. This is not about like, a beauty contest, or like making it. So like it's about your face. Like it's not really about that it's about like showing your personality and connecting with people. So that that's, you know, I'll get off my soapbox with that one.

Emily Brungard  
I mean, that's the benefit of of buying from us versus like Publix, right is that you're buying from a real person who puts their heart and soul into their food. So show your face.

Laura Luk  
Yeah, and I mean, we could probably get deep into the psychology of it. But there is something about knowing what a person looks like, it helps us it helps ground us into, you know, imagining that we're talking to an actual human being instead of a phone or a digital. We're just in such this digital age. I love like being able to connect with people.

Sweet Bee's Bakery. Bella Wood. Okay, I would put your location next to your name. All gluten free. Okay, that's great. But what's all? Okay, do you I mean, I can tell from here that you make macarons, you make treats. I see a pumpkin and pickle festival. So you might want to take that off your profile because it has passed, right. So like, I'll give you guys an example. Whenever I do like pre sales for holidays, I'll do a post and I'll say okay, here's the options, you know, this and that. But once that's once that's over, I take that off, because it it's past, right. So we want to keep our feed relevant, especially when it comes to that top section. That's why I love that they added those pinned posts, because that protects our that first row is a protected area where you know, those pin posts live there and we're not having to constantly update it. So gluten free, fabulous. You really want to get that point across but gluten free what? Gluten Free treats, you know, baked baked items. I mean, macarons are gluten free in and of themselves. But saying that they're gluten free is especially important. Because we're gonna be able to capture that audience that you know, is gluten sensitive. So, um, I would love a picture of you Bella, I would love I would love more highlights questions and prices, that's fine. And I would love some type of way to contact you. We don't have any way to contact you. We don't have a website. We don't have a link tree. We don't have a email. I mean, it's it's, again, like Emily pointed out we're looking at this on a desktop version that's not going to give us the same prompts.

Do you have a creator account? I want every single person that's listening to this to check their account. Do you have a creator account? Okay. There's a difference between creator and business — creator allows you to have insights, all the access to music, popular music all that if your business page you don't have access to music. So if you're like trying to post a reel and you're like, why don't I have the latest like Post Malone song, it's because your business account. So nine times out of 10 Probably even more probably like 99 times out of 100. Most of you're going to need to have a creator account even if you are a business, you can still have a business and be a creator account. So if you have questions on that, just DM me but we have zero information about you, Bella, we can DM you, but I don't even know like, can I order food from you? I don't know. So, you know, clean up, we need to do some work here. But I have no doubt that you'll be able to draw in more customers once you get more information.

Okay, Kookies by — I'm gonna butcher your name. I'm so sorry. — Kyennie. Beautiful one, lots of butterflies, beautiful picture.

Emily Brungard  
I know, she's preaching to the choir with those.

Laura Luk  
I'm having a hard time concentrating now they're so beautiful. Your pictures are beautiful. I love your highlights just change that giveaway one. Bespoke luxury cookies. I love that. I love luxury. I love bespoke that's, that's awesome. And just put your location we don't know where you are. You don't need it again. Like you repeated yourself handcrafted was so handcrafted and bespoke to me mean the same thing. I would just take it out with royal icing. Um, I don't know if you really need that to be honest premium ingredients. I don't know if you really need that. I'm sorry, I you need a little bit more of a call to action. Now you have one sorry shop cookies. I love hyper K with the cookies. That's cute. Two to four weeks in advance. Link tree great. Um, I would love to see a picture of you because what happens when you Kathy you can DM me, I'll try to help you the problem with using your logo and the same kind of imagery as of your profile picture and your highlight reel pictures is the I like doesn't know where to go right? If I have a picture of you as your main picture, it's I'm focused on that that's going to be where I remember you by so if that's an option, I would try to get it either a picture of you with the cookies or I'm almost tempted to say if you can um I hate to ask people to change your logo because I know it's just one of those things that just feels like kind of extra but I can't see your name and your in your logo like it's so small that I don't know if it's really doing anything for you there so I would I would consider changing that. And then say add your location Yeah, add your location and tell us why we should follow you. I know we're here to shop but are we also here for any kind of entertainment? Are we here for and this goes for everyone. Right? Are we are we here to watch you create are we here for holiday sales? Are we here? You know I think so. Something like, you know, local, local pickup or something like that can be helpful for people because again, if we have your location and we know that it's local, that uses a little bit more information. Okay, so thank you. Thank you so much.

Mama Tried meal prep. Oh, that is hilarious. Okay, so there's a story here, I'm gonna guess. Um, so are you a mom that does meal prep for other people. Um, I would take out that hashtag live well love, well eat well, if that's a hashtag that you want to use for your posts. That's great, but I wouldn't put it in your bio. That can seem counterintuitive to some because we think of hashtags is like, it's not as relevant anymore. I certainly wouldn't lead with it. Custom meal prep and delivery tailored to your goals, your health, your lifestyle and delivered to your door. Take out the we do it better. Because that that middle sentence is so good. Like, that's what we want. I would instead of doing it as a long sentence, I would do it as bullet points. And, um, you really need to put your area because we don't know where you're located. And like, if this was Atlanta, Georgia, I would be on your website immediately because I need meal prep. So yeah, and I would try to take down your posts a little bit. Your numbers are a little bit wonky, because you have so many posts. You have 187 followers, which is great. And you're 79 following which is amazing. But you have so many posts so just go through see if you can clean up the posts a little bit.

About the Author
Emily Brungard

Growth Marketing Manager, Castiron

Emily is a sister, a friend, a cook, a world traveler, an interior design lover, and Growth Marketing Manager at Castiron. A career startup marketer, Emily has firsthand experience growing small businesses with marketing.

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