I’m the type of social media nerd who is willing to try pretty much any new feature announced on the latest app updates, so when Instagram introduced its business profile a couple of years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a try. My own Instagram I use for my blog was immediately switched to a business profile until last summer when users were freaking out over what they deemed was a connection between having a business profile and seeing a drop in engagement.
Looking back, though, I did not see any increase in engagement when I switched back to a personal profile, contrary to popular opinion. Listening to this podcast then convinced me no numbers truly exist to substantiate the claims that business Instagram profiles ruin engagement and numbers, so I switched back to a business profile.
As an author, a blogger, or a publisher, should you have a business profile on Instagram? I would vote yes every time. Here’s why:
My own experience
From my own experience in managing and keeping a close eye on both the Litfuse Instagram account (which was switched over to a business profile when I switched my own profile to a business account) and my own Instagram account, I’ve noticed Instagram engagement is down across the board. That’s in big part thanks to the many algorithm changes that happen every other week (or so it seems), and Instagram’s algorithm has made it increasingly more difficult for anyone—personal or business—to receive engagement and large organic reach numbers like we’ve seen in the past or like when Instagram used to be chronological.
From the research I’ve done online and from my own experience, there is nothing to suggest that having an Instagram business profile will impact your following or engagement negatively. Everyone’s engagement and following has been impacted by the recent algorithm changes within the past two years; the impact has made engagement and growth become a slower process you have to work harder and smarter for. Despite the algorithm difficulties, the Litfuse account has seen steady growth and engagement week after week. The growth is slow, but it is steady. The numbers back up the growth, too, which leads me to my next point. . . .
The best part about having a business profile on Instagram is the analytics section. The analytics show you how old your followers are, where they live, when they’re online daily (broken down into three-hour segments), how many clicks the external link in your profile has received, how many visits your profile has received, how quickly your following is growing, how your organic reach is performing, and more. These analytics are gold, and without utilizing them, you’re really posting blindly. They’re incredibly valuable for making smart, informed choices on when the post, what to post, who your posts should cater to, etc.
Another useful feature is how your profile information section changes when you switch to a business profile. You have the option to add a physical address (great if you’re a small business or entrepreneur trying to drive foot traffic to your store), a phone number (again, great if you’re offering a service of some sort and looking to book business over the phone), or an email address. If you want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to get in touch with you, having that email button front and center for your audience will help.
Everyone hates the word advertising when it comes to social media, but it’s a widely-used feature that isn’t going anywhere on any platform, particularly Facebook-owned Instagram. Only business profiles have the opportunity to advertise on Instagram, and advertising on Instagram can be a powerful avenue for driving traffic to your website. Have a new book coming out soon? Now is the time to use advertising, even if you have a small budget, to push people to your website or another retailer to order the book.
As of yet, Instagram has not yet made the algorithmic change to business profiles that Facebook made a few years ago almost to require businesses to advertise to reach more than a small percentage of their audience. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see that switch in the future, but if and when that does happen, what I’ve outlined in this post will definitely apply to Instagram.
Will you be switching to a business profile? Even if your interest is slightly piqued, give it a try! You can always switch back to a personal account if you don’t like your business profile.