Updated: May 21
You have a total of 150 characters or less to describe yourself in an Instagram Bio.
Tik Tok is even less. Your Facebook (Fan?) Page has 155 characters to explain who you are. Your personal page doesn't have an "ABOUT" space that you can freely write a bio. While YouTube is a bit longer, it's hidden behind your ABOUT link. You have a total of 1min between your bio and your photos or videos to get your audience interested. Is your bio clear? How do you write a social media bio?
We are multifaceted, dynamic human beings. We have interests, hobbies, passions, relationships, ambitions, careers that are always changing and only a few short lines and characters to explain to people who we are - so how do we do it?
As a marketer, I don't want to neglect the "business side" of writing a short bio. Someone, somewhere, made a lot of money by teaching online coaches, personal brands and personal businesses to include "I" line in their bios that gets to the nitty gritty of exactly what they do, like "I help empower women take back control of their health!" [It's been so popular, I've seen this at least 10 times to the point where it's an actual turn off for me personally.]
This succeeded because it allowed the person viewing your profile to understand exactly what your business does. It was popular because it was effective, but it also so very clear to audiences that the person with this kind of statement in their bio is trying to sell you something. It could be an immediate turn-off and not give the creator the chance to actually nurture and connect with an ] audience, which is what social media community building is all about.
Your bio should be clear, but differentiating while aligning with the entire intent for your online social media channel. If your intent is to sell, then sell - but if your intent is to connect and build and do much more with your assets, consider doing MORE with your bio.
Bios are going to vary depending on the kind of identity that you embody and how important different facets of your life are to you.
When I revamped my Instagram bio, I had a few different intentions. I wanted to equally balance who I was personally and what I share personally, with my career as a marketing strategist and my mission and legacy of my career.
SMARTS + HEART + VISION are 3 things that I forever have exceeded in and continue to cultivate through the content that I curate and share. Smarts lends itself to my witty side, the book worm in me, the consumer, but the thought leadership and content creation. HEART in the things I share about love, gratitude, care, relationships and spirituality, and VISION for my ability to create ideas in business and life.
lil bit spiritual, lil bit hip hop is my differentiating statement. It releases the part of me that is driven by faith and good hope, but also the piece of me that plays Jay Z for my herbs because hustling is empowering too. My dad taught me how to play with the boys, my mom taught me to do so with femininity. I like the contrast of being a little unexpected and I wanted to step into to feel more like myself online.
marketing strategist, makes creators + brands more impactful and speaks up... are my expressions. My smarts and heart and vision are actually expressed through what I do as a marketer who is impact driven. Being driven by impact is also why I have a podcast that is focused on value-content for anyone who "creates".
I close with my bio link, which contains the necessary links out to things like my podcast and website for easy reference when I share things. You may choose to have only one singular link, or the most important call-to-action you are focusing on. This can vary.
You can really easily use the above formula of content themes + differentiation + expressions + CTA to create a really impactful bio. You can also use variations of the formula, especially around crucial pieces of your identity. You can still work in a "I help women/men..." statement as your expression - but never neglect what makes you different. You can work in your mission or your aspiration, ie. "zero waste living" rather than your content theme - but don't neglect what is different about your journey.
As consumers, we LOVE what is familiar, but different. There are millions of creators out there doing similar things, maybe following the same templated formulas, but what makes you uniquely different, your stories, the things you are good at, the things you suck at, those hidden things you love and your differences, is what makes you feel familiar yet unique.
I've compiled a few things you can reflect on to tune-into some of these parts of your bio and how to boil them down to fewer characters for space.
- Look at your content from a higher level, if you had to put the kind of content you share into 3 buckets, what would some of those main buckets be?
:: What do these buckets say about you? Why do you post them?
:: Are there short words for these buckets?
:: How can you make these words more descriptive of you or unique (adjectives)? For instance, "TRAVEL" is so redundant, can you express this differently or creatively? Ie. Jet-Setter. US StateHopper, Roadtripper.
- In a few sentences, who do YOU think you are? What do you LOVE about you? In your career? In your personal life?
:: Are there themes with the content above? That could signify something is a really important piece of your identity.
[Example: I really love learning about how the mind works (I've watched every Explained Documentary season to date so far). I LOVED psychology in college and that is why I switched majors. But both of these fall under intelligence, smarts and it leaves room for other similar things I like too, like learning]
- What are 3-4 things that you have always been good at that have been steady throughout your life? What do your friends and family come to you for exclusively?
- What are your "anchors"? What are the things that you do to ground you or take you back to you, where you feel most yourself?
- Is there ever a time you are UNAPOLOGETIC about something about yourself? Maybe people have been like, "girl, Kanye is an ass", but you are like "WHATEVER, I'M STILL GONNA LOVE HIS MUSIC". Or you've find yourself saying things like, I will go BROKE before I stop traveling! These are usually the things that are both differentiating and large pieces of your identity. I would push anyone in my life away who questions my intelligence and I would give NO CRAPS about it.
- I believe we leave legacies through the activity that we engage in. If I told you what you did in your time on earth is opening new doors for future generations, what would those doors be? What are you imprinting? What are you leaving behind? What do you WANT those things to be? Those things can be both your expressions or mission statements.
- Do you have any strong beliefs and values? Lessons you have been hit with OVER and OVER again that it feels like it's your purpose? Causes you are dedicated to? When I sat down to figure out what I wanted to embody for Social Creates Impact, the whole concept of IMPACT was important to me. I wanted to MATTER - to friends, lovers, my company, my clients and the end recipients of the work I was doing - the consumers. I believe in transparency. Are any of these critical pieces to round out who you are? Beliefs and values can be themes, differentiators, missions AND expressions.
- Can you get much "higher"? (SO HIGHER..... sue me.) No really. Can you level up what it is that you love about a certain something? I like hiking and travel, but the reason I like it so much is that when I am exploring, I am exploring beauty or culture. It's building my smarts and heart. I love my family and my friends - but I really love "love". I love health and cooking, because it keeps me operating as my best self - that is part of being visionary and chasing fulfillment in life.
I recommend 2 versions - the short form for social media, and the long-form story, which doesn't need to be published. They can also work hand in hand with each other to help you discover who you are and then how to express that in fewer characters.
You may not be able to have EVERYTHING in your bio, but you can encompass the most important, high level stuff. You can't be wrong about how it is that you express yourself. You will always tweak. You will always learn more about yourself. Your bio is dynamic, just like you.