Instagram has been encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurs to switch over to Instagram business accounts, but what does that actually mean for your brand? What are the benefits and costs? How might those factors affect your social media presence? What are the key differences between business and personal accounts? We’re going to cover all of this and everything in between to make sure you can make an informed decision about switching to an Instagram business account.
Are Business Accounts the Same on Facebook and Instagram?
The short answer to this question is—no. Instagram is owned by Facebook, but the two brands tend to have different priorities when it comes to their algorithms. While Facebook is making significant changes to prioritize posts from friends and family over businesses, Instagram does not appear to be following the same path.
This is good news for your small business—you can sign up for an Instagram Business Account and receive all of the benefits without the worries that come with a Facebook business page. That being said, Instagram is not kind to spammy posts from businesses, so it’s still important to cater your content to your audience. Read the room, provide content that is valuable, and you’ll be all set.
Pro Tip: Follow industry news and stay up-to-date on changes coming from all social media platforms. That way you can prepare for any algorithm shifts and stay ahead of the curve.
Get Data from Instagram Business Accounts
One of the major benefits of an Instagram business account is the “Insights” feature. For businesses of any size, the data provided by Instagram Insights is invaluable. Instagram Insights tracks important metrics including likes, followers, and audience demographics and distills the information into tables and graphs to highlight what you need to know. Chances are, if you’re using a personal account for Instagram, you’re tracking these metrics manually (and it’s kind of a pain).
The data you can get from Instagram Insights is a good starting point, but once you have it, you’ll probably want more data to analyze. For more metrics, you’ll need to invest in a social media analytics tool that integrates with Instagram. These types of tools can measure your performance against competitors, which can be incredibly valuable for any business—especially those in competitive industries. To use these outside analytics tools and receive extra data, you’ll need to already have an Instagram businesses account.
Long story short, the Insights feature from Instagram business accounts is helpful but a little limited. Still, having limited data is better than having none at all. Having a business account is also necessary if you ever want to integrate with external analytics platforms.
Increase Reach with Instagram Ads
Many businesses make the switch to Instagram business profiles exclusively for advertising. This makes sense because according to Instagram survey data, 60% of users say that they discover new products on the platform. That’s a major opportunity for brands, and over two million businesses have realized this and are using Instagram business profiles to increase their reach with ads.
Keep in mind, when you switch to a business account, you don’t have to advertise. When you initially switch to an Instagram business account, you can take some time to gather data, learn about your audience, and see how your content is performing organically. This information-gathering stage is really important, regardless of whether or not you end up advertising. If you do use Instagram ads, you have this organic data to inform your decisions. If you don’t advertise, you still have a roadmap for the type of organic content you want to share.
The main takeaway is to be cautious and make informed decisions. If you want to test Instagram ads, budget modestly and run some A/B tests to see what works for you. You’ll learn more about your audience and how they react to your content, and you’ll be able to adjust your content to fit your audience. If Instagram ads aren’t converting or producing results for your brand, you can always pull back on your social spend and put more resources into organic efforts including community management.
Extra Features for Instagram Business Profiles
In addition to functions like Insights and ads, business profiles on Instagram include practical features that make it easier for users to interact with businesses. For example, you can include an email, phone number, and hours of operation for your business, as well as buttons that allow users to contact you directly.
These small details can make all the difference in your social media presence. By providing your audience with different ways to get in touch, you’re not only upping your customer service game, but you’re also making your company or brand look more approachable.
Business Accounts vs. Personal Accounts
In general, you can expect more functions from an Instagram business account than a personal account, and there are only a couple of features you miss out on.
Features that come with a business account:
- Instagram Insights, with data on engagement, followers, and audience demographics
- Instagram Ads
- Opportunities for promoted or “sponsored” posts
- The ability to put more info in your Instagram bio
- Links on Instagram Stories
Features that don’t come with a business account:
- The ability to link to multiple Facebook pages
- Private account setting
With an Instagram business account, you have more options than you would with a personal account, and in general, it seems to make sense for brands to go the business route. Next, learn how to craft the perfect Instagram bio and hone in on your Instagram aesthetic.