Instagram Business Accounts vs Personal Accounts? Which one should I choose?
I hear this question every day. And while there are a lot of rumors out there and negative ‘experience’ I can’t seem to see those changes on my accounts. We mustn’t forget that Social Media and Instagram, in particular, is changing very fast. Many Instagram users apply old strategies – or none at all – and therefore experience a decline in engagement and reach.
“But I use Instagram like this since years and it worked! So what I do is right and the system is broken or wrong.” YEAH – NOPE!
The only thing I agree on is that your tactics and Instagram’s system are not working good together. But instead of working out a new strategy that actually works it is the easiest to blame Facebook: “Oh, they are just sooo greedy!”
So let’s get back to the initial question on whether you should switch to an Instagram business account or not. My answer was always the same: “there are always pro’s and con’s for the business accounts… blah-blah… people experience a decline in engagement… blah… we don’t know where IG is heading. So it is your personal choice to do it. I can just say that I don’t regret switching and would do it all over again.” Well, this was my answer until yesterday. What happened?
Instagram mixes things up for us
Facebook is doing it for quite some time now. They want us to be engaged and entertained. They want us to see different things that are of interest, both to us personally and what is popular globally. This is why the algorithm shows us Account-, Page- and Group posts in our feed. No one really knows how the algorithm chooses which ones to show us. So the question occurred if Instagram is doing the same. I took a paper and my Instagram accounts and did some math.
My personal private account
Let us begin with my personal private account. This is where I share pictures of my family and private stuff. I follow mostly family and very close friends on their personal accounts and crafers/creators these make 72% of my following. The other 28% are business accounts from crafters and makers who are selling mostly in their Etsy shops.
Although I follow 3x as many personal accounts the number of posts I see from personal vs business accounts is the same. To be honest, with this huge difference in Accounts I follow I would have guessed that there would be a huge gap in the posts I see too.
Let’s analyze my Instagram Business Accounts
Let’s head to my first Business Account @MaryJaneFineArt. I follow other artists working in a variety of mediums, styles and many of them are really successful full-time artists. This account has been inactive for quite some time now and I just watch 2 or 3 stories every now or then. I don’t like, follow or post here but this is good. So there is no real preference from my side on business vs. personal accounts. Let’s look at the feed:
Here I am again surprised by the result. Because of all the *felt* negative experience I hear from all sides I expected the result to be the other way around. Again I follow way more personal accounts. But more posts of business accounts show up in my feed. What I noticed though was that the artists that switched to a business account did also apply other strategies that I have listed below.
Now to my last account for today: @coloredpencil_art. I am active in this account each and every day. I like and post and interact with others. And again I follow more personal than business accounts. The difference here: the business accounts are art supply stores and companies which both are not really that active. While some of the personal accounts are. I expected to have more posts from these personal accounts showing up in my feed and I am right. Again I would have expected the business accounts to perform worse. But see for yourself:
Conclusion on Instagram Business Accounts:
This is only a small study on some of my accounts. Nevertheless, there is nothing I see here that gives me the conclusion that there are any disadvantages in switching to Instagram business accounts. There is no magic increase/decrease in engagement or reach and it doesn’t seem like Instagram is preferring one over the other. What I notice though is that the reach largely depends on what YOU put into your account. Here some things I noticed during this intense study of my different feeds:
- People who did post consistently had a higher chance of showing up in my feed
- many of the Instagram business accounts that popped up multiple times were using Instagram stories & lives
- they have a high quality in their posts (crisp, well-lit pictures with a catching caption and call to actions)
- and they adapted to the latest changes
They have done their homework and instead of blaming someone else for changing their free service, they analyze what is going on. Not only did Instagram grow like crazy in the last couple of months, but with this Instagram Stories and Lives people are using the platform different than they did last year. Knowing this and adjusting your strategy accordingly is the key to rock Instagram.
So instead of asking: ”What is better: Private or Business Accounts?’ you should ask: How can I provide a better experience for my followers and make them engage more with my content?
If you need more help with your Instagram strategy please use the contact form to get in touch with me (while I am still procrastinating to setting up the services page) and leave a comment below.