This post originally appeared on The Professor Is Out. It has been updated and modified.
Personal and business accounts function in many similar ways. You post pictures, videos and interact with other users. So, should you switch to an Instagram business profile?
If you want to develop and grow your brand and want to use Instagram as a tool there really is no choice, you need a business account. I have summarized the reasons why in the following graphic.
Being able to insert a clickable link into your bio is the strongest reason you should switch to a business profile. Of course, if you don’t have a website then you don’t need this feature and a personal profile will be enough. BUT! You should have a website!!! Read this article on why you need a website for your side hustle
Swipe up link on Instagram Stories
If you are reading this article, then having 10K followers is probably a long way off. Check out this article on how to increase your followers in 10 minutes a day. If you do already have 10,000 followers on a personal account then you are missing out on this fantastic feature that allows your followers to jump to a specific page on your website without having to navigate to your profile and then click on your one link.
Having a business account gives you insights into the time of day your followers are online, demographic information such as gender and age, and geographic location of your followers. Compared to other social media networks the insights/analytics in Instagram are limited. If this is the only reason you are switching to a business profile it is not worth it as you can get more powerful insights from external apps/programs.
Another account to set up/manage
If you want to have a business Instagram profile you need to connect it to a Facebook Page. While the page is free and it doesn’t take much to set it up, it is another network to keep updated. I am not very diligent with my Facebook Page and only have automatic postings of new articles and sometimes I share my Instagram posts to the page too. However, for the number of followers on my Facebook Page, I get a good number of website visits so I should probably dedicate more time to it.
Having to have a Facebook Page is not really a deal breaker for me and I may decide to focus on developing my Facebook Page if I continue to gain followers on that platform.
More organic reach
If you search around on the internet you will find lots of opinions on if switching to a business account will lower your organic (aka free) reach. Instagram has stated in the past that they do not have a different algorithm for personal and business profiles.
Even if you do get slightly lower reach/engagement from your content on Instagram the ability to add the clickable link in your bio outweighs it, as you want to get your potential customers onto your website, not staying on social media.
Can’t be set to private
Business accounts cannot be set to private. This means that anyone can see all of your content and anyone can follow you without requesting permission. For most people, you do not want to restrict your potential reach and followers when trying to build your authority so this is not an issue. If you want to restrict an individual then you can block their account from viewing your business account.
With a business account, you are able to add a phone number, an email address and/or your business’s physical address. All an advantage when your goal of using Instagram is to get more customers.
While the thought of spending money to promote your posts to a wider audience might seem crazy right now, it might be something you want to do in the future. A product launch is a great time to invest in some paid promotion on social media.
If you want to develop and grow your brand using Instagram there really is no choice, you need a business account.
If you do switch to a business account, don’t forget to use hashtags to get found. I recently updated my post on academic hashtags for Instagram if you need some inspiration.
Follow me on Instagram @TheLeveragedPhD