For any business or brand that is looking to make the most out of social media, Instagram is becoming the place to go. The channel’s growth has been massive over the past couple of years and Instagram has recently announced it has reached 1 billion monthly active users. As a result of this many businesses are prioritising Instagram as their main social media platform for their social strategy over the next 12 months.
Since Instagram introduced the ability to convert a personal account to a business account in 2016, brands have been debating whether to make the switch. Rumours about dramatically reduced organic reach and engagement meant many businesses were cautious that the switch would force them to promote content and pay for ads to make the platform worthwhile. This is something I have been debating for a long time with a client’s account, but earlier this month we took the jump and made the change.
Here’s what happened when I made the switch to an Instagram business account.
Will switching to an Instagram business account impact organic reach?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer. While a lot of marketers believe that Instagram favours personal accounts and will reduce the reach of a business account, many others state that there is actually very little or no difference between reach once they have switched their account. The potential loss of reach is one of the main reasons I was holding off switching the Instagram account of a client to a business account, however, a few weeks ago we made the change – and so far so good.
To test the idea myself I kept track of the number of likes and comments on the 14 posts before the account was switched and the 14 after to see whether making the change did have an effect. Before the change, this account gained a total of 356 likes and 8 comments across 14 posts – an average of 25 likes per post. After switching to a business account the total number of likes dropped slightly to 317 across the 14 posts (an average of 23 per post), however, what is surprising is the number of comments doubled to 16.
While the numbers are not massive this small test shows that converting this account to a business account had very little impact on post engagement. It’s hard to determine whether these posts reached fewer people as this is a statistic that you don’t have access to when using a personal Instagram account – but on first look, it doesn’t seem to have been affected.
Instagram business account features
The main benefit of changing to an Instagram business account is the wide range of additional features that will help you get the most out of your profile.
One of the best features of a business account is the app’s built-in analytics tool, Insights, that provides a detailed breakdown of how posts and Stories performed, as well as invaluable information about your followers.
A business account will allow you to give your posts some extra life and an extra push by promoting them – just like a Facebook boosted post. Promoted posts are simple to set up and everything can be done within the app.
These are one of my personal favourite features available with a business account and appear to be one of the ones that I will use the most. Shoppable tags allow you to tag any products within a post to display basic details like the product name and price while adding a link to the product page. The feature allows the whole purchasing process to be streamlined as customers are able to go directly to a product they see within a post and buy it without leaving Instagram. Shoppable tags are also being tested within Instagram Stories, another new feature that could be added soon.
Should you switch to an Instagram business profile?
Switching from a personal Instagram account to a business account is a relatively quick and hassle-free process, as long as your business has a Facebook page. Once set up a business profile gives you access to a wide range of features that will help you maximise your social media strategy.
While some still believe that Instagram penalises business profiles’ reach in order to push marketers towards ads and promoted posts, from personal experience the change doesn’t seem too dramatic.
Overall the additional features massively outweigh the slight drop in reach and engagement in my opinion. Access to Insights and follower information allows you to tailor your activity towards what your followers, and potential customers, actually want to see, something that will further strengthen your overall social media strategy.
To summarise – make the jump! The benefits of switching to a business account far outweigh the negatives, and if you find the extra features aren’t for you, you can always switch back to a personal profile.