The hugely popular photo-sharing service Instagram has been around since 2010 and now boasts over 700 million users. Back in 2016 Instagram started to offer users the ability to switch to a Business Profile. In this article, I look at the features and tools that become available when you switch to a Business Profile.
The conversion to a Business Profile is free and here are 5 things you’ll be able to do when you’ve converted your account.
1 – Insights
The first thing you will notice after you convert an account is that you will have access to post analytics, or as it Instagram refers to it, Insights. Insights provide you with a variety of statistics that you can use to measure how successful a post or story has been. It should be noted that you will only get statistics on posts you make after you have converted your account. So, if you already have hundreds or thousands of posts on your account you won’t get any analytical information on those.
The statistics you will be able to see are:
- Likes – The number of times your post has been liked.
- Comments – The number of comments left on your post.
- Saved – The number of unique accounts that have saved your post.
- Impressions – The total number of times your post has been seen
- Reach – The number of unique accounts that have seen your post.
- Engagement – The number of unique accounts that have liked, saved, or commented on a post.
If you really want to know how well your posts are performing Insights are probably one of the most powerful features of a Business Profile. By looking at your reach count and then comparing it to your engagement count you can see how many times your post has been seen but even more importantly if people are finding your content interesting and interacting with it. If your post is seen but no one engages with it, how successful was that post?
2 – First Contact
Prior to Business Profiles, the only way for visitors to your profile to make contact with you was to provide a URL to your website. You then had to hope they took the time to look up your contact details or use a contact form on your web page. With a Business Profile, you can provide direct links to your contact information including:
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Business address
This is also a very powerful feature allowing people to easily contact you with the press of a button.
3 – Promotions
It is rare today for a service that started free to say free, and Instagram is no different. You will likely have already noticed sponsored posts in your Instagram feed and with a Business Profile you to can run promotions and have them appear as sponsored posts in people’s feeds.
If you decide to run a promotion so it appears as a sponsored post you will definitely want to check the post Insights to see how successful or engaging that post has been.
4 – Direct Link to Facebook
With a Business Profile, you can directly link to your Facebook business page with your Instagram account. This allows you to share your Instagram post directly to your Facebook business page. Your Instagram profile also automatically imports what category your Facebook business page is. So, if your Facebook business page identifies as a Photographer, your Instagram profile page will say the same.
One limitation here is that when you link your account to your Facebook page it is then only possible to share a post to that Facebook business page. If you later wish to share a post to other Facebook pages or your own Facebook profile you will need to convert your account back to a personal account.
5 – Identify as a Business
If your Instagram account is there to support your business then you should identify as a business. As with many social media services, the exact nature of Instagram’s feed algorithm isn’t published, but business profiles can be expected to rank higher.
If you have a photography business and you want to help sell your services using Instagram posts then let viewers of your profile know you’re a business and how to contact you.
Converting to a Business Account
Converting to a Business Profile is easy and it’s free. It’s also reversible so if you later change your mind you can switch back to a personal account.
To switch follow these steps:
- Open Instagram and go to the options page.
- Towards the bottom of the options under Account, you should find the option switch to a Business Profile.
- Scan through the information on the new features you will have access to.
- Connect to your Facebook page – you must have a Facebook business page as this is where Instagram gets its billing information from.
- Enter your business information such as address, email, and contact telephone number if you don't already have this configured on your Facebook business page.
As soon as you have completed this you will see the differences on your profile page and any new posts you make will now have associated analytics.
If you want to change back at any point to a personal account, you’ll find the option Switch Back to Personal Account in the Business Settings section in the options page.
Running a Promotion
To show you how running an Instagram promotion works I decided to run one on my landscape photography Instagram profile. My goal for the promotion was to see if I could grow my subscriber count for my landscape photography YouTube channel. To support this, I did two things:
- Updated my profile web address to my YouTube custom URL – you can only have one URL in your Instagram profile and I wanted people to go straight to YouTube if they clicked.
- I shot a 35-second channel trailer to entice people to find out more.
Once I had these two things setup I created a standard Instagram post with the video that I had created. As I had a Business Profile I started to see analytics come through.
Once you have the content you want to promote posted to Instagram, it’s relatively straight forward to turn it into a promotion. You select the post and click on Promote:
- Audience – I used a custom setting here, targeting men and women over the age of 13, who live in the UK and are interested in photography. My target market for the promotion.
- Budget – Next you set your budget. Here I opted for the cheapest option of £30 which gives me a reach of between 11k and 29k. I opted to split this promotion over 2 days.
- Objective – As I wanted more people to visit my YouTube page I set this to “Get More Profile and Web Visits”
- Destination – Here I selected the URL from my profile which goes to my YouTube channel.
- Action Button – Set to “Watch More”
It was then just a matter of adding some payment information and running the promotion.
So did I consider the promotion a success? Well, there is no doubt that the post reach was considerably higher than I would normally expect. For the promotion, the Reach hit over 7.5K, with an engagement of 1.2k. Unfortunately, that only turned into 78 clicks and an increase of subscribers on my YouTube channel of 14 (which could have been down to organic growth anyway).
This is, of course, a single instance of me running a promotion on my own Instagram profile so my results will unlikely be reflective of other people’s results. There will be many factors at play such as the post itself and if I managed to create an engaging bit of content.
However, I can definitely see how more mature businesses with good marketing might well make good use of this feature.
Should You Convert?
It all depends. It’s free and given you can revert back to a personal account, there is little risk in trying it out to see if it is beneficial to you. It really boils down to how you want people to see your page and how interested you are in understanding the performance of your posts.
If you are a casual photographer and you just simply want to share your photos with the world then aside from a possible interest in analytics there probably isn’t a need to convert. However, if you are running a photography business and wish to leverage Instagram to help your business grow then there are few reasons not to.
Have you tried out Instagram’s Business Profile feature? Did you switch back? Have your run promoted posts? Let me know in the comments below.