Switching to an Instagram for Business account, and back again

orange coat, pink string bag, oranges

The extra features offered by Instagram for Business accounts have been on my radar since I started engaging in earnest with the platform almost 6 months ago. By in earnest, I mean that I am intentionally (but not cynically) trying to grow my account. I’d like more followers, and I’d like them to engage lots with my Instagram by clicking and commenting.

Big Business?

I am not a business, I’m just me, so what are the potential benefits of having a Business account on Instagram? Mainly, I was interested in the analytics it offers, and how they might be able to help me understand my audience better. Instagram for Business users have access to stats about their feed and followers. Their gender, where they live, when they are most likely to be online…

You can also ‘promote’ posts, pay to push them out beyond your followers. And you can add more contact details to your profile. It’s all for free, so in January this year, I decided to switch.

What I learnt…

Were there any revelations for me in the Instagram analytics? Perhaps not.

My followers are 90% female, they are mostly aged 35-44, and a significant proportion live in London.  They are most likely to be on Instagram Wednesday – Sunday, first thing in the morning and throughout the evening.

The insights haven’t led to me change much about what I do on the platform. I have been posting more in the evening, but find that in spite of what the stats say, my posts are more successful (in terms of the number of comments) if I publish them in the morning.

Flat lay, pink and red, red heels, denim jeans, Mint Velvet lips jumper

I’m on Instagram to share my images and chat

Read about my year Facebook sober

My Instagut feel

My gut feel pretty early on was that this was a bad move. The analytics weren’t particularly illuminating (I think we have a good sense of who are followers are and which of our posts perform well). Mainly, I feared that going Business had made my account appear inauthentic or ‘spammy’.

Instagram was suggesting every day that I pay to ‘promote’ my posts. My pictures are not adverts. They are my photos and thoughts that I enjoy sharing in a friendly way. It left me feeling that I was open to being manipulated. Would a bad week on the analytics persuade me to start paying for promotions?

After a couple of months of not getting a great deal out of the Business features, and feeling uncomfortable about it, I switched back.

Did it affect my engagement?

There is a lot of speculation and anecdotal evidence that switching to Instagram for Business negatively affects your engagement. This is not substantiated, and we have no way of finding out.

Did my engagement level change? I don’t think so. It can be too easy to blame the algorithm when you aren’t having a great Insta day. I think there are many, many factors involved (like I dunno, how good your post is?) in how your content performs. I also think that my engagement level has held fairly firm since I switched back to a Personal account.

It just demonstrates the lack of trust in all social networks at the moment (particularly one owned by Facebook), that people suspect it would be in Instagrams commercial interest to have its algorithm treat business accounts differently. Thus encouraging them to spend money on advertising.

Red Converse All Stars

Never say never

If I felt I could benefit from a fresh look at the analytics, I may well switch back to Instagram for Business in future, you can do it in a few seconds. If you have more than 10,000 followers, you must be ‘Business a to enable the ‘Swipe Up’ feature. It means you can put web links into your Stories. This would be SO useful for linking to my blog, so would definitely tip the balance back in favour of a Business account for me.

In the meantime, there are lots of apps out there that can provide Instagram analytics. I am considering Iconosquare, which seems to get pretty solid reviews.

Read about 9 free Instagram analytics tools you could try.

Learn for yourself

I think that all Instagram users have different goals, aims and challenges. The only way for you to find out whether Insta Business will help is to switch over and find out.

The Later Blog, for example, is sure that the benefits of Business far outway the downsides.

I’d love to hear what you think, are you an Insta for Business convert? Leave a comment, let’s chat Instagram.

What's your View?

6 comments on “Switching to an Instagram for Business account, and back again

  1. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hiya Helen so love your posts as you may have guessed. You are the queen of topics to be discussed!!
    I do agree with everything you’ve said but what you may not realise ( but you probs do?) is that my experience, when you work on campaigns, and I do this on both my large and small accounts. Then campaign or brand managers prefer you to have a business account for the stats that they get too.
    Plus it makes it so much easier when you use ie ‘Planoly’ ‘mosaico’ or ‘later’ to help publish to your social media accounts. They can only auto post for you now if you have a business acc.
    I have not seen a drop in engagement either ! I do prefer it, as a full time blogger it works for me. If it wasn’t for the blog I wouldn’t bother….
    Personal choice I think?
    Ash xx

  2. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hi Ashley, thanks so much for commenting I really value your input on this. I can see that for someone working with commercial partners the analytics are 100% necessary. I think personally I’m just not there yet, probably a long way off, so I want to keep it simple. It’s something I’m going to keep under review. Thanks for popping over, Hxxx

  3. Scarlett Roitman on

    Interesting Helen. I had heard that many people who move to Business end up switching back, so I never bothered. But you’re so right, there is so much mistrust with social networks. The fun seems to have been sucked out of posting these days. Such a shame.

  4. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hi Scarlett, I try to ignore discussions about algorithms and such like, it is out of our control after all. I try and focus on the more enjoyable side of social media, like connecting with lovely people like you! Thank you so much for reading, it’s interesting that you have never dabbled with a Business account. Helen x

  5. Alkisti @Travel Bananas on

    I’ve had a business account for 6 months now and I’ve seen significant drop in engagement. My followers kept growing slowly but steady. When I had less followers I got more likes, and now that I have more I get much less, almost half. Which doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking of switching back to personal to see what happens.

  6. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hi Alkisti, that’s interesting, I think it is common to see a drop in engagement on posts when your following grows (as in, likes a percentage of your following). Have you been doing anything else differently? Posting at different times of day, or less frequently? Or have you been spending less time engaging with other people’s content? The beauty of it is, you can swap between business and personal easily, and swap back again if you need to :). Thanks for reading, Helen

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