Prior to 2016, brands had one type of Instagram account to choose from — you went with a personal account, or you didn’t participate on the platform. A reasonable reader might expect that brands everywhere quickly made the switch after the introduction of Instagram business accounts. But that’s not what happened.
Many companies were fearful that transitioning to a business profile might jeopardize the engagement they’d worked hard to build. This wasn’t helped by the fact that Instagram’s algorithm favored content from family and friends over brands.
However, business accounts introduced several useful features, and Instagram has continued to develop them. Over time, businesses came around and started making the leap. If you’re still holding firm to your brand’s personal account, it may finally be time to transition. Recent changes to the algorithm mean that Instagram business profiles can enjoy significant reach and engagement.
So is it time to flip the switch? Let’s look at what you stand to gain.
Get Access to Analytics
The platform’s analytics, called insights, give you a peek behind the curtain to see how your Instagram posts are performing.
Instagram insights are less robust than the analytics offered by other social networks, but they’re certainly better than nothing. And that’s what you’re getting with a personal profile. With a business account, you’ll have access to information about your followers, impressions and reach.
You can examine these overall or drill down into specific posts to see how much engagement each of your photos and videos is receiving.
Examining your followers, you’ll find a chart that details which days of the week and times of the day they’re most active. You’ll also gain access to demographic information to see how your followers break down in terms of age, location and gender.
With insights, you’ll learn when to post for maximum engagement and how to create content better suited to your audience.
Make New Contacts and Generate Leads
Your personal account doesn’t offer followers any way to contact you other than messages. This isn’t adequate for a brand that’s trying to grow an audience, generate leads, and sell products and services. An Instagram business account is more appropriate.
Along with your address and industry, a contact button is added to your profile. Followers can email you, call you or send you a message. Best of all, Instagram tracks these engagements and provides you a synopsis in your insights.
There’s a level of professionalism that you get with an Instagram business profile that’s not available to personal accounts. The added information helps to build credibility with your audience and allows them to engage with you more easily.
Promote Your Brand With Instagram Ads
Instagram ads are a critical feature for brands. Without a business account, you can’t promote your content or create social ads within the app. Lacking this feature greatly diminishes your ability to reach new followers and build your brand.
Promoting content is painless. Simply pick a post and click Promote. You’ll be able to select from various calls to action, choose your audience, set your daily budget and decide how long your ad will run.
To build your brand, it’s good practice to promote your most popular posts to dramatically extend their reach and find new followers. But without an Instagram business account, it’s simply not possible.
Add Links to Instagram Stories
If your profile has more than 10,000 followers, you can add links to your Instagram stories. You can link to blog posts, landing pages and other content destinations, providing a new way to promote yourself. However, this option isn’t available to personal accounts.
Suppose you haven’t quite reached the 10,000 follower mark. In that case, you should still make the switch to a business account because access to analytics, extended contact options and the ability to promote your content will help you get there faster.
Sell Your Products on the Platform
Instagram shopping is a relatively new feature, but if you’re a small business looking to promote and sell your products on the platform, it’s critical to your success.
With a business account, you can create shoppable posts that look like traditional Instagram posts but display product names and prices when tapped. Clicking on this information takes Instagram users to a product details page complete with a call to action that can send them to your landing page.
These shopping posts can be promoted just like any other piece of content, creating a whole new market for your products.
Switching to Instagram Business Accounts Couldn’t Be Easier
If you’re convinced that a business account is the right choice for your brand, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easy to set up your business profile. And you can always change your mind. If you decide that your personal profile was preferable after exploring a business account, you can simply switch back.
To activate your business account, go to your Profile, tap the menu icon in the top right of your screen (three vertical lines) and then select Settings at the very bottom. Choose Account, scroll to the bottom, and then tap Switch to Professional Account.
You’ll be asked to choose a business category. Select whichever best suits your business. Then, the moment of truth. If you’re a traditional brand and you want an Instagram business account, choose Business. A creator account, the other option, is better suited to public figures and other influencers.
After you confirm your contact information, you’re finished. Your brand is now the proud owner of an Instagram business profile. You’re ready to throw the door wide open to a whole new level of audience engagement.