Trying to decide if you should upgrade to an Instagram business account?
The photo-sharing app Instagram debuted back in 2010 and for the first few years, it was mostly used by regular folks who shared selfies, photos of dogs, and food. The feed was in chronological order and ads were nowhere to be found.
In the past few years, the platform has gained traction as a powerful place for businesses to connect with followers, build their brands, and even directly make sales with features like the Instagram shopping button.
If you are looking to grow your business online, Instagram should be high on your priority list. With more than 1 billion users (that’s an eighth of the entire world’s population, in case you were wondering!), there is no better place to connect with your audience than Instagram.
Besides just being so dang popular, the platform is pretty good to brands, too. Eighty per cent of Instagram users follow at least one brand, and 60% of users report they discover new products on Instagram.
As of 2017, more than 25 million businesses had an Instagram account, up from 15 million just four months prior.
One of the major factors in drawing in new brands is likely that Instagram keeps rolling out new features, such as Instagram Stories, the ability to schedule posts, and, most recently, the Creator accounts. The new feature rollouts make the platform even more valuable as brands and their followers gain access to additional functionality.
It is pretty clear that Instagram is the way to go if your business is looking to build connections and make sales online. But, there’s one question that gets asked over and over: Should I switch to an Instagram business account or keep my personal account?
Is there really a big difference between the two types of accounts? Will your posts get buried if you choose to switch to a business account?
The truth is, whether or not it makes sense to switch depends on your market and how you use the platform. But for most users, the pros to having an Instagram business account outweigh any cons.
So before you make the switch, let’s take a deeper look so you can decide what is right for your business.
First, let’s talk about the differences between the two types of accounts. Are there any pros and cons of switching to an Instagram business account?
On the surface, the two types of accounts look pretty similar.
Anyone can create a personal business account, but businesses, in particular, are encouraged to switch over to the business profile. Anyone can switch to a business account, including influencers, brands, brick and mortar stores, service-based businesses, and crafters.
Why does it matter which account you choose? Well, the business account gives you access to more features, including analytics, ads, buy now button (for some), and the ability to add more contact information.
From the outset, things don’t look much different. Here is an example of an Instagram business account and a personal account on the profile page.
Overall, they mostly look the same, right? Each type of profile has a link, a bio, and the ability to save Instagram Stories in the Highlights section (those round photos just under the bio.)
So, what’s the big deal?
Well, behind the scenes is a different story.
When you upgrade to an Instagram business account, you gain the ability to:
Instagram Insights alone is really worth the switch. The Instagram native analytics dashboard gives you access to a massive amount of data that can help you target your audience better by sharing more of the content they like when they are likely to be online.
So, the pros sound good. But what about the cons? Are there any drawbacks to switching from your personal account to a business account?
One drawback to a business account is you cannot set your profile to “private,” which means other users can always search for your profile and follow you when you have a business account. When you have a personal account, you can choose to hide certain posts and only show content to followers you approve.
However, if your goal is to reach prospective customers, this shouldn’t be an issue. You want people to see all your content, right?
Another con many users worry about is a decrease in organic reach; that is, the number of people who see a post that does not use ad spend. This fear is likely based on a similar shift when Facebook introduced its business pages and algorithm. Many businesses were shocked to see their organic reach plummet.
Will Instagram reduce my organic reach if I switch to an Instagram business account?
This is one of the main fears most businesses have when making the switch from a personal to a business account. You’ve spent months, or even years, building your brand’s Instagram account. Now you might risk losing all that hard work!
The reality is, so far, that does not seem to be the case on Instagram.
It’s hard to say for sure if your organic reach will see a noticeable dent. Instagram insists that the algorithm places value on relationships, meaning that users will see more content from people (or brands) they interact with the most.
Based on an interview in Vox, Instagram does not rank businesses or verified users higher than regular users. Julian Gutman, the product lead for Instagram Feed, insists, “We treat everyone the same” when it comes to businesses and people on Instagram.
Which, to be fair, is not the same as saying they do not repress the reach of business accounts.
There is some anecdotal evidence that Instagram does, in fact, reduce the organic reach of Instagram business profiles. However, the other benefits — Insights and access to Stories and promotional features — tend to outweigh the possible dip in reach.
If you are worried about losing reach after switching to Instagram business, make a plan to leverage the information you gather in Instagram Insights to offset any minor dip. Post content regularly, comment on other posts, and use hashtags related to your industry to prevent a dip in organic reach.
Instagram users have had the option to switch to a Business Instagram Account for a while now, but now there is a third option— the Instagram Creator Account. This one is relatively new, so it’s worth covering alongside this discussion of Instagram business profiles.
Released in early 2019, the Creator profile is designed for Instagram influencers, artists, and public figures. It offers features such as in-depth follower insights, a filtered DM inbox, and additional category and contact information options.
You can convert to a Creator account from either a Personal or Business Instagram account. Just like the Business account, you cannot have a private account if you upgrade to a Creator profile.
Are you interested in switching to a Creator Profile? This guide on Instagram’s website will walk you through the process.
I would recommend not over-thinking this process for several reasons. First, you can always switch back if you don’t like the new profile. Second, the tools and functionality ensure making the switch is a good choice for most brands and influencers. Because without tools like Insights, you have no access to demographics of your followers or data about how recent stories or posts performed.
Still not sure if upgrading to an Instagram Business account is the right choice for you? Here are a few things to consider before making the switch. Keep in mind, you can always switch back if you decide the features aren’t worth it.
Switching to an Instagram Business account gives you access to far more features than a personal account. If you want to do business, such as run ads or sell products on Instagram, you should absolutely consider making the switch!
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of switching from a personal to a business Instagram account, let’s talk about how to actually make the switch. The process is quite simple and only takes a few minutes.
There are a few things to keep in mind. Your account will no longer be private if you switch to either a Business or a Creator account. If you switch to a creator account, all follow requests will be automatically approved. If privacy is a concern, you may be better off sticking with a personal Instagram account.
If you change your mind, no worries, you can switch back to a personal account in just a few steps. In the meantime, use the features that come with your Instagram Business Account to grow your following and improve your engagement rate.
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