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Should You have a Personal or a Business Instagram Account?

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There are really just two major things that you should be aware of as you decide on a personal versus a business Instagram account.

Social Media Mirror on the Wall: What should we reflect when we use Instagram – a personal profile? Or should it be for our business? Uh, oh. That probably just caused a great big crack – right down the middle.

Social Media Mirror on the Wall probably is going to stay mum regarding your question. If it says anything at all, it may stammer a bit and then say, “Well, it depends.” Your social reflector isn’t letting you down with a CYA reply. It really does depend. Before we explain why, though, here are a few things you should know about Instagram.

The fairest of them all …

Okay, Facebook still sits at the top of the social media universe. Instagram, however, has made its way to the number three position (behind Facebook and YouTube) with more than 800 million monthly active users.

Instagram reports that 80 percent of its users are from outside the United States. Keep that in mind if you are interested in a global audience – or if you’d rather head in the opposite direction and keep it decidedly local.

Women (38 percent) in the United States like Instagram more than men (26 percent). Instagram also notes that nearly 60 percent of its American users are under the age of 30. About a third more are between 30 and 49. While Instagram’s audience may skew to the young side, 32 percent earn between $50k and $74.9k, and 31 percent make more than $75k yearly.

Thanks to recent functionality like Instagram Stories, time spent on the social network hovers between 24 to 32 minutes per day, depending on age group. More than 95 million posts are shared daily, and users “like” more than 4.2 billion Instagram posts every 24 hours.

The Facebook connection

Facebook owns Instagram. Enough said. If you’ve used Facebook as a business, you know the amazingly deep and advanced promotion features that come with a business profile.

With that out of the way, there are really just two major things that you should be aware of as you decide on a personal versus a business Instagram account. The first one is commonsensical. Your personal Instagram account can be private. Not so with a business account. Conversely, your Instagram business account an only be linked to a single Facebook profile, while your personal IG profile can link to an unlimited number of Facebook pages.

Instagram rewards business profiles with perks – which you must pay for – similar to Facebook. You can place ads on Instagram. The two social media platforms share the same tools. You can also promote Instagram posts, just as you can with Facebook posts. Additionally, an Instagram business profile allows you to include a contact button near the top of your profile. And finally – you have to work for this one – you can add links to your Instagram Stories if you have a business profile with more than 10k followers.

Switch: Yes or no?

So, if you have a personal Instagram profile, should you switch it to a business profile to snag these promotion-centric goodies?

Follow this straightforward logic:

  • If you’re a business with at least 10k followers, wanting to know more about your audience so you can target specific ads to them that include links, you should consider a business account.
  • If your Instagram goal is to share personal experiences with your followers, and you have no need to know who they are, your personal account is probably all you need.

Why make it an either/or thing?

Let’s say you’re a business owner – and it’s the type of business where you basically are the business. You can choose to have a business Instagram profile, as well as a personal one. The benefit of having separate profiles is that you’re free to have a more intimate relationship with followers.

This definitely makes sense if you are a personality-based brand – say, a blogger or an “Influencer.” Flip to the other side of the coin and you can see how being less personal in what you share might make more sense for your business profile.

By far the biggest benefit of having a business Instagram account is the insight it provides into who’s following your account. If you do advertise or promote a post, you can track reach, impressions, and engagement. This costs you nothing. Perhaps ranking just as valuable is the ability to add links to your Instagram Stories, but remember, you must have at least 10k followers to earn that privilege.

The Facebook Fiasco of 2014

Many Instagram users have said “no” to a business profile. They base their decision on what happened to business pages in 2014 when Facebook changed its algorithms. Businesses were forced to pay to have their sponsored posts seen – even by people who followed them.

Will something similar happen on Instagram? It’s impossible to know.

Meanwhile, the benefits of a business profile are obvious. The fact that you can have a business and a personal profile means that you can also hedge your bets – in case Facebook pulls another fast one. The only downside to playing both sides of the fence is that you’ll have to work twice as hard.

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