June 22, 2016

There has been a lot of excitement recently about the announcement that Instagram will introduce business profiles to the platform. Inevitably, there are some mixed feelings on this - there always are when we change a platform we know and love.

You may have seen that I was quoted in a Yahoo finance article on this topic. The author reached out to me with a long list of questions asking for my perspective on these upcoming changes. As I'm sure you can assume, I sent back a lengthy response. But, as we all know how journalism works, a very small sampling of my response was actually quoted in the article. And the author had a very clear stance on the topic, which didn't really correlate with my thoughts.

Fortunately, I still have a place to share ALL of my thoughts 🙂 Right here!

So, yes, Instagram announced plans to introduce business profiles. The general concept of the Instagram business accounts will look very similar to all current Instagram accounts. But, as a business account, you'll have a call-to-action/contact button on your profile so that people can contact you (call, email, or text) with the touch of one button.

You will also get access to insights and performance data (similar to what you get on Facebook business pages), right within the Instagram business account. Now, that's something to look forward to!

And, of course, there has to be an option to monetize, right? So, you'll have the ability to boost posts from your Instagram account, much like you do on Facebook.

So... what are all my thoughts on this pending update? Will this change Instagram as we know it?

Well, if you didn't already suspect, I am so excited about the new business tools for Instagram! This is something that marketers and businesses have wanted for a long time and many people have been piecing together tools and tricks to get what Instagram is about to build right into the platform. It's going to be so much easier to manage!

For me, the biggest excitement is in having a business profile. Some people are worried about this being an eventual push to punish business accounts, much like we see on Facebook with page reach versus profile reach. And while I understand that concern, the ability to set yourself apart, as a business, and have a profile that allows for direct contact - that is invaluable.

Too many people use Instagram as a personal platform but are known professionally or as a business and it causes confusion to their audience when they only post personal content. Or, when a business doesn't know how to set up a good profile on Instagram, they look cold or unbecoming and they struggle to succeed on Instagram. I honestly think that having this differentiation in profiles will have a significant impact for businesses.

Of course, I'm also excited for the insights as it will be very helpful to have this built into Instagram. I also think this will help businesses better understand what is really happening with their account so that they can better adjust their strategies for more effective interaction and more rewarding results. But I want to caution anyone who currently pays for a 3rd party analytics tool NOT to cancel those services yet. Even once we know what the in-platform analytics really look like, anyone who is using extended analytics through another tool will likely find that what Instagram provides will be less than what we're used to getting.

I expect a bunch of businesses and marketers to make good use of this introduction of business profiles. But it will happen in a couple of ways. Those who are genuinely interested in maximizing their presence on Instagram and better serving their audiences will jump on this change to provide more value, differentiate themselves, and see more data analytics from Instagram activity. But then you'll also get a slew of businesses jumping on the band wagon, thinking this is the quick and easy way to see results on Instagram (spoiler alert: it's not!). They'll start boosting posts, promoting themselves to exhaustion, and then complain that Instagram doesn't work. Because, if anything, this change will actually mean more work for businesses, more accountability, and it's still "social" media. And, then finally, you'll have a third group which are the businesses who aren't active enough on Instagram or who are too lazy to go in and change their profiles to business accounts and will leave them as normal accounts.

As I already mentioned, some people are in favor of these changes (obviously, I'm one of them!). But others are opposed to them. Here's the thing. I don't think that most "average users" will have anything but positive appreciation for this change. It will help them better understand who they're following and set expectations for what those accounts will be sharing. In all honesty, most casual users may not even notice this change. It's going to be the die-hard users and businesses who get most excited (positively or negatively) about this change.

So, where do you fall on this topic? Are you for or against the new Instagram business accounts? Let me know in the comments below!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. My question is do you get to change your current account over to a business account? Or are you starting from scratch follower-wise? Thanks Jenn!

    1. Hi Erin (I know I responded to you on IG, but for the sake of conversation, I’ll respond here too).
      As far as I know, you will be able to convert an existing account to a business profile, meaning you won’t have to start from scratch. I’m not exactly sure how this process will work or what it will take to switch over your account but I will be sure to share that information once I have it.

  2. Great feedback and nice to see enthusiasm for the change. However we’re advising all of our clients to stay put for at least 3 months once the change happens. FB/IG will deprecate posts from businesses organically so we’re not as enthusiastic as you are for the change. Not to mention we’ve had the non-chronological feed in IG for quite some time and it’s pretty terrible at this point.

    Time will tell, of course, but once bitten (FB), twice shy.

    1. I completely understand your hesitation Sandro, and I understand your concerns too. You are not the only one with this plan to delay transitioning accounts to business profiles. I hope that you’ll see the value and be able to embrace the changes.

  3. This is good information, business accounts are really going to change how people view Instagram. Nice article

  4. Absolutely. They are making it so much harder for the everyday small business to be seen. Sure its fine for established companys with a marketing budget, but for the start-ups it can be really tough, and almost impossible to get real instagram followers to see their page, without paying for IG new ads of course.

    1. In time, John, there will likely be changes to how items are displayed, but for now, the IG algorithm does not hide any content, it only rearranges it. And having a business account will provide analytics to help those businesses create more popular content for their audience so it should actually help them grow.

    1. I honestly don’t know how they’re rolling out, Bhautik. But they have started rolling out to users already (I don’t have it yet and I’m an Android user in the US). But I know a few people who have got the feature.

  5. I think this is great news for business, especially those who are new to IG or have not opened an account. It signifies how important social media and IG has become in today’s business landscape. Thank you for this information.

    1. I’m glad you agree, Tasha! It is an exciting change, and like you said, signals the value of social media for businesses.

    1. No, I don’t think it has that much power but it is definitely showing a trend towards providing businesses unique opportunities within social media.

  6. Hi Jenn! Thanks for the article. I stumbled across the business option and hanged my account right away. However after I did my hashtags Jo longer worked so I switched back to a personal profile. Now that I figured out the hashtag issue I no longer see the option to change back to a business account! It used to be in the account section under settings and is no longer there. Can you help?

    1. Hi Francesca, that’s weird that the option isn’t there anymore. Yes, you should be able to go into the settings button on your profile and scroll down to the account section and select the last option to upgrade to a business profile. If it’s not there, I would recommend force closing the app and even uninstalling, reinstalling the app to see if it appears.

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