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