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Which Instagram Profile Should I Choose? Instagram Business, Personal and Creator Accounts

June 25, 2019

Wondering which Instagram profile to go for?

In this episode, I’m going to share my personals experience with Instagram personal, business, and creator profile.

So, let’s dive in!

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Here’s what we cover:

  • Instagram personal accounts
  • Instagram business accounts
  • Instagram creator profiles

Blog Post:

Wondering which Instagram profile you should choose? Perhaps you’re wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are of a business account v a personal profile? Or, whether you should switch to an Instagram Creator account? 

With all of Instagram’s new features (not to mention an ever changing Instagram algorithm), it can be difficult to know which Instagram profile is best suited to your needs. 

I know I was. 

Luckily, I have tested all three. I started with a personal account, switched at the beginning of the year to Instagram for business and am now testing out the new Instagram creator profile.

In today’s The Lifestyle Business Sweet Spot podcast episode, I am sharing my experiences with all three – the pros and cons, benefits, features, drawbacks and more! 

So, if you’ve ever spent WAY too much time Googling whether switching to an Instagram business profile will affect your reach, the drawbacks of a personal account or what on earth is up with creator profiles – well, this is the episode for you!

Instagram Personal Account

When I first started my Instagram account, it was a personal account. 

And, it stayed that way for a very, very long time. 

There’s a reason for that. 

Essentially, I have always been incredibly skeptical of Instagram business profiles. Yes, they do give you some additional features, but at what cost? 

Here’s what I mean by this: 

  • Instagram is owned by Facebook; 
  • Facebook has significantly reduced reach for business profiles over the last few years;
  • This is due to monetisation of the platform and wanting businesses to ‘pay to play’;
  • It is probable that Instagram will follow suit (and probably already is)

Instagram is currently the hottest platform out there, with one billion users – a number that is growing every day. Inventory is limited and they are a business. 

The decision whether to stick with a personal profile, or to move to a business one is a matter of weighing up the pros and cons. Are the features that a business profile provide worth the possibility of a reduction in reach – something that may or may not become more pronounced over time? 

Eventually, I decided that it was. 

Which brings me to Instagram Business Accounts. 

Instagram Business Accounts

An Instagram business account is a profile available to all businesses and which has a number of features that aren’t available with a personal account. 

Switching from an Instagram personal profile to a business account is as simple as toggling a switch in settings. You can toggle it on and off, so you can switch and switch back at any time. 

But! Don’t switch over without thought because my instinct is that if you switch once? Your account will be tagged as an Instagram business account forever more. Which may or may not mean a reduction in reach – we’ll get to that soon. 

First, let’s go through the additional features that an Instagram business account gives you. 

1. Contact buttons

  • Email, call etc. This may (or not) be valuable to you. 
  • The question to ask yourself is whether your audience would actually use these? 
  • For me, it was a nice to have but I can see in my analytics that they aren’t used. 

2. Analytics

The second benefit of an Instagram business profile is that it gives you access to analytics, so that you can track and measure your results. 

For example, you can see what time of day your audience is online, your most engaged with content, Instagram story analytics and more. 

In my view, the analytics are just okay. If you connect your account to a third party scheduling tool like the one I use, you can actually get better analytics than the ones that are in the app itself. 

There are a few things that go away when you transfer, one in particular that I really missed? The ability to see everyone that has viewed your Instagram stories!

3. Swipe Up

The swipe up feature in stories is only available to business accounts with over 10,000 followers. 

It’s one of the reasons that I changed over from an Instagram personal profile to a business profile but the impact, at least for me, has not been as pronounced as I had anticipated. People just don’t swipe up as much as you think they would – at least, that is my experience. 

4. Instagram Shoppable

If you want to use Instagram shoppable – which includes adding shopping tags on your account – you need to have an Instagram business profile to do so. There are also some other key requirements – for example, you need to be selling physical goods.

This makes a business account particularly beneficial for eCommerce stores. 

One thing to keep in mind is that Instagram is also significantly amplifying it’s offering in this area with the introduction of checkout for Instagram. Currently, this is only available to selected accounts in the US but will eventually roll out globally and will be a complete game changer. 

Here’s how it will work: 

  • You’ll tap to view a product and see a Checkout for Instagram button; 
  • You’ll tap that and get to select from various sizes etc;
  • Then, you’ll proceed to payment within the platform.

This is huge. You’ll only need to enter your details once and they will then be saved inside the platform. 

You’ll receive notifications about payment and delivery within the platform also. 

If you are in eCommerce, this feature alone would make Instagram for business a no brainer. 

BUT! I’m not in eCommerce. I rarely SELL directly from my social accounts – and if you are a service provider, I don’t recommend you do, either.

And so, it wasn’t a relevant feature for me. 

Here’s what really made me switch in the end. 

5. Instagram advertising

Bottom line? You can’t advertise from a personal profile. 

That’s intentional on Instagram’s behalf – they WANT businesses to spend with them. 

When I was coming up to my launch, I knew I had an audience of people on Instagram that was extremely valuable to me, and I wanted to make use of it. 

Caveat: You can’t advertise to your followers, only to your engaged followers. 

My experiences in switching from personal to business profile. 

So, was it worth it? 

For me, the answer is.. maybe. The ability to advertise to my people has been valuable, and I see the power in ads. 

But – the question everyone’s lips: have I suffered a reduction in reach as a result? The answer is yes, unquestionably. On average, it’s about 20% drop but here’s what I’ve found: 

  • Salesly posts suffer more; but
  • Engaging (non salesly posts) only have a slight reduction. 

Okay, so that now brings me the new kid on the block – Instagram creator profiles!

Instagram Creator Profiles

Instagram Creator Profiles are the new shiny toy. Originally, they were only rolled out to select accounts – of which I was one of the lucky ones. 

I decided to give it a trial run. 

It should be noted that Instagram creator accounts are currently being rolled out to everyone. According to Instagram, they are best suited to “public figures, producers, artists, and influencers”.

It’s still early days, and I suspect that Instagram has a lot more in store for this account but here is a snapshot of the features so far. 

  1. Different analytics

Instagram creator accounts have beefed up analytics. For example, I was able to see follows and unfollows from specific pieces of content, which will be helpful in crafting a savvier content plan. This is the only real difference I can see. 

  1. Message filters

It all goes down in the Instagram DM’s. Which is great – until it’s not. I have really struggled with managing DM’s and one benefits of Instagram creator accounts is that it segments your DM inbox. There’s a primary and general inbox, and with each new message Instagram asks you where you want to filter any new messages from that user to. For example, I move close friends to the primary inbox. 

The message requests tab remains. 

3. Instagram Shopping

One of the biggest changes with an Instagram business account is that Instagram shopping and checkout will be available on Instagram Creator accounts. Essentially, it means that influencers can tag the brands that they are featuring and people can check out the products and eventually shop them from within the app. This will allow brands and influencers to work directly together, and in my opinion will change the entire landscape of Instagram for eCommerce brands. 

There are downsides to the creator profile – the biggest that I can see at the moment is that Instagram creator profiles aren’t connected to the Instagram API. This means that you can’t use third party scheduling tools, auto publish posts or access third party analytics. 

Summing up

So, there’s my experience and summary of the differences between Instagram personal, business and creator profiles. In summing up, here’s my view as they all currently stand: 

1. Instagram Personal Profiles: If you are a service provider or a personal brand – essentially, if you aren’t selling directly from Instagram with shoppable posts – I think there is value in sticking with a personal profile until the time comes that the value of advertising to your Instagram audience outweighs the possible reductions in reach. 

You can still advertise on Facebook. 

2. Instagram Business Profiles. If you are an eCommerce business, you need Instagram for Business in my opinion. If you’re not, question whether the features are appealing to you. If you just want the swipe up feature, or call to action buttons – think twice. 
3. Instagram Creator Profiles: These are really for influencers, bloggers, athletes and the like. Even then, there’s still not a lot to be gained by switching at the moment. I have no doubt that this will change. Instagram can see the value in influencers on the platform, and I think the list of features will grow. When shopping and checkout capabilities roll out to more accounts, it will be a valuable option. It’s essentially Instagram’s way of solidifying the relationship between brands and influencers, making it easier to work together and I suspect, to get a piece of the pie too.

Keep Listening!

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

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