One of the big questions floating around at the moment is:-
"Should I switch my Instagram profile to a Business profile from a personal one?"
There is actually no one size fits all answer to that question, but in this article we will look at the facts and weigh up the Pro's and the Con's of having a Business Instagram as opposed to a personal one.
Reach and engagement is key
"Reach" is how many people see your posts when you publish them to your Instagram profile.
"Engagement" is how many people like, comment and share your posts.
A lot of research suggests you'll reach less people using a business profile than an personal profile (through non-paid posts), although this depends on the number of followers you have.
However, if Instagram follow in the steps of their owners Facebook, the gap between reach on business and personal profiles could grow.
History of business pages & profiles
To understand what difference there is between personal and business profiles on Instagram, first it's important to understand a little bit about the history of Facebook, who have owned Instagram since 2012.
- Facebook introduced their pages feature
- There was no real difference between business pages and personal pages
- Both experience the same level of reach without having to pay for advertising or promoting your posts
- Over the following years Facebook then introduced more business centric features to pages including analytics & insights of a page, and links into advertising
- The algorithmic News Feed was introduced
- They disguised this as being a way to spring clean your news feed, so you would only see content that you were interested in, when in reality this change resulted in a drop in engagement for the Business pages meaning that the businesses had to pay to get their content seen and increase engagement.
- Facebook obviously used it as a way to monetize businesses that use Facebook to get the same level of engagement they were able to get for free before
- Instagram launch business profiles, analytics, and the ability to turn posts into ads
As we can see, when Facebook first launched business pages were able to get the same reach as personal pages, but that all changed. The prediction is that this will happen with Instagram, and much research suggests this has already happened.
The Pros of a Business Profile
1) IT'S FREE!
First and foremost, it's free. It doesn't cost you a penny to actually have a business profile on Instagram. Everyone loves free stuff right?!
2) In-depth analytics
You have the ability to access the analytics & insights of your posts and followers. You'll see which of your posts is the most popular and when your followers are most active. Which for a business is invaluable, especially if it's free! (Sorry I just love free stuff)
3) A 'Contact' button on your profile
You can choose between allowing your followers to quickly call, email or text you, whereas with the conventional Instagram profile, your customers would have to clik thorugh to your website and find your contact details on there. With one click contact they can now call you straight from your profile!
4) You can promote posts with a "Promote" button
You can now promote a post by clicking on it and then selecting 'Promote'.
The Cons of a Business Profile
Now for the cons. Let's look at how a business profile could possibly have a negative effect
1) You must have a Facebook page for your business before you can make the switch
This rule sucks. A lot of people don't use Facebook some because they don't like it, some because they don't have the time and some because it just doesn't fit their business. So being required to have a facebook to access an Instagram business page will put a lot of people off.
2) There's concerns about losing organic reach (Like what happened with Facebook in 2014)
As I mentioned earlier in this blog post there have been concerns about losing organic reach and engagement on Instagram since people have been switching over to business profiles, which follows suit to the algorithm changes that Facebook introduced years back.
By "organic" what we mean is posts which you don't pay to promote, eg normal posts.
3) Labelled as a Business
Do you want people to see your account as a business account? Instagram was created for building social communities of people who have the same interests, who want to share their experiences. Changing to a business profile runs the risk of you losing your relatability and people viewing more as a corporate entity than a friendly brand.
Well in the end, you have to weigh up the pro's and con's to decide whether changing to a business profile is best for you or not.
The main decision should be based on whether you're going to be doing paid for ads on instagram, or rely on organic (non paid for) reach.
If you're going to be doing paid for ads, then you'd benefit from the more advanced analytics. However if you're going to rely on organic (non paid for) use of Instagram then a business profile may not reach as many people as a personal profile organically. For example, if you already have 5,000+ followers, it may not make a massive difference to the engagement you get on your Instragam organically (eg without paying for Ads). However, if you have less than 5,000 followers you might notice you have a drop in organic (non paid for) reach when switching from a personal to a business profile, so you may want to think twice before doing this.
Of course all this changes over time as Instagram evolves, so be sure to follow our blog for website, eCommerce and social media news.
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