Instagram started rolling out the ability to switch to an Instagram Business Profile two months ago, and in typical Facebook fashion, have been rolling the ability out to users gradually.
At this stage, not everyone is eligible to switch to a Business profile, though they will be given this option in due course.
There’s something quite exciting about being asked to switch; but beware the novelty factor. We’re going to run through a few things to consider before making the switch.
What’s different about the Instagram Business profile?
In short, many of the added features on a Business profile are quite appealing:
The strongest benefit of switching to an Instagram Business profile; the insights are of the quality you would expect from a Facebook-owned company.
You get insights about: your followers (including gender, age, location, and – brilliantly – how active they are on Instagram each day); and your posts (including impressions, reach, and clicks).
Insights are the best way to refine your content and marketing activity, and so this is a compelling reason to make the switch.Insights are the best way to refine your content and marketing activity Click To Tweet
However, remember that Instagram typically collects much less information from its users than other social media platforms (most importantly, Facebook).
Even more importantly, the *really* useful insights are gathered from Facebook itself (where Facebook and Instagram profiles have been linked), and you already have access to this information from Facebook’s native ad platform.
The insights given by Instagram Business Profiles may be really useful if your core marketing activity takes place on Instagram – but if this isn’t the case, the information may be interesting, but not that useful.
This is a biggie. Instagram notoriously doesn’t let you post live links in comments or photo descriptions; you only have one place to post a live link, and that’s in your profile bio.
So, if you want to add a live CTA to a post, you have to update your bio link and point people there.
That means: you can’t have a link to your contact details AND a link to an offer, promotion, or other landing page. One or the other. Not both.
The Instagram Business profiles take a micro-step towards solving this issue by giving you a native “Contact” button that appears next to your “follow” button.
You can amend this to trigger either a phonecall, a text message, or directions to your business.
It’s helpful. It’s a step in the right direction. But it’s only a small step.
Previously, if you wanted to advertise on Instagram, you would do this through Facebook’s native ads platform.
With a business profile, you can promote posts natively from within Instagram.
We’d still recommend you plan, create, and deliver your Instagram ads through the Facebook platform, however. It might not have a “single click” simplicity, but it’s a heck of a lot more powerful.
(Hint: you can do this through your Facebook Ads account already.)
So, should I switch to an Instagram Business profile?
Well, let’s look at some reasons why you might want to hold off for now.
1. Instagram Business Profiles are likely to follow the same path as Facebook Business Pages
Be under no illusion: Instagram want to make money out of you.
And specifically, your Business.
If you’ve been running a Facebook Business page for longer than a year, you’ll no doubt have noticed that you’re being pushed to take out paid ad space to get your messages seen. The mockup “sponsored posts” that appear in your native newsfeed are there to remind you exactly what people *aren’t* being shown.
And to get you to pony up and throw some cash into Facebook’s bank account.
Identify yourself as an Instagram Business account, and you can expect similar treatment within Instagram.
Annoying, but not the end of the world. Unlike the next point…
2. It’s likely that Instagram Business Profiles will suffer from throttled reach in the future
This is the killer reason for us, and why we’re holding off making the switch for now.
Facebook have all but killed off organic reach for Business Pages, and are working on further algorithm changes to reduce how often organic business posts appear.
This isn’t a surprise. Facebook are incredibly protective of their UX, and – let’s be brutally honest for a second – a lot of Facebook Page posts are a bit shit.
Plus, like we said, they want you to spend money. So, pay up and be seen, or don’t, and be ignored.
I think it’s reasonable to expect that Instagram Business Profiles will experience the same treatment in due course.
Throttled reach? No thanks.Throttled organic reach on Instagram?? No thanks. Click To Tweet
And that’s the reason we’re not making the switch – yet.
Facebook don’t want you to use a “personal” profile to represent a business (and have been busy shutting down profiles they’ve found doing just this).
So, it’s reasonable to assume that they’ll adopt a similar approach on Instagram at some point – forcing businesses to make the switch, reducing their organic reach, and leaving them with “pay to play” as their only option.
But until then, I’m gonna stick with my one live link. I’m gonna stick with the (frankly better) Facebook Insights. And I’m gonna stick with all that lovely organic reach goodness.
At least until our hand is forced.
What do you think? Will you be making the switch?
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Also published on Medium.
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