Instagram is one of my favourite sites, I follow so many people that I find delightful that I rarely have to hit the home button and see suggested accounts, and I only follow back the accounts that I think look genuinely interesting.
I know what you’re thinking right… she’s crazy, how can anyone not want to be exposed to all the delights of attractive people standing next to bling cars? Or pouting celebrities? Or Get slim quick schemes with the Gym bunnies?
I know, I must be bonkers. Or too old for it, maybe.
One thing that I was asked recently was “should you have a personal or a business account?”
Well, that’s where by answer always gets murky, in theory if its for business then you should have a business account, right?
Nope, not always I’m afraid. Sorry!
You see, aside from the obvious lure of being able to check analytics and see how well your posts are performing, Business accounts don’t get as much engagement.
That’s due to the algorithm viewing business accounts as business that have the finances to pay for advertisements and wanting anyone with a commercial interest to pay for their exposure on the platform.
You might remember that a while back, Facebook announced that they were going to prioritise friends and family posts over pages and groups. Well, this is the same thing as Instagram is owned by Facebook. Same owners, same algorithms.
So personal profiles get priority in your news feed.
I’m not slamming this, actually from the point of view of a user, over the years I have had my social walls bombarded with garbage from pages x, y and z that I had liked and then gradually stopped using platforms as a result.
But we know it’s not 100% about that, they want your money, honey!
Instagram think everything that a business account posts is potentially an ad, so why show it for free?
And if you pop on to your Instagram feed right now you’ll see that almost every 3rd or 4th post will be promoted, so it’s a tactic that works very well for them.
Why it’s annoying
Aside from the obvious, having to pay to be seen on a free platform, the amount of work that businesses, especially small businesses, have to put in to grow Instagram accounts is tremendous.
Creating content calendars, image sourcing and creation, posting, and engaging with comments can be extremely time consuming, that to have your hard work stifled by an algorithm can be upsetting.
I don’t see much of a difference in the appearance of the page as you can see, and for me the functionality is largely the same
What can you do?
If you haven’t set up an Instagram account yet, during the set up process, ALL accounts are default to personal. Keep it that way, at least in the short term, so that you can allow yourself enough time to see what works for you.
Many online tutorials and videos will tell you to immediately switch to a business account so that you can track your insights, but if you don’t need to create adverts, try to resist the urge to switch.
If you already have an account, and you’ve switched to business, go into the settings and click “switch back to personal”
Hopefully this works and you will be able to continue, but if not, you will be stuck on Business profile settings. This might be because you have created any adverts, even if you haven’t made them live, or connected it to a facebook business page, and Instagram recognise you as a business and want to prevent you from switching back. ☹
If this is the case, you will have the choice to either keep going with the business page, knowing the limitations and adjusting your strategy accordingly, or create a new page.
(If you decide to start a new account, keep the business account, it may still be useful for directing traffic to your content)
I’ve tried to summarise the pros and cons below:
- Insights and analytics so you can better understand what posts perform best and the ones that convert to followers.
- The ability to promote posts wider than your network
- After 10k followers, you can add “scroll up for more info” links to your stories
- You can see how many of your posts direct to your site
- Be more targeted when you are creating posts.
- Less visibility and less engagement for any post that’s not a paid ad.
- To grow you will have to be more active or pay to advertise
- More time need to grow through engaging with comments
Personally, I can see reasoning for both sides so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer on what you should do. Depending on your circumstances, the time you have to dedicate to your Instagram growth and your current marketing strategy, there are valid reasons for both a business and personal account.
If you would like to discuss things further you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time with one of our consultants