With over one billion monthly users and an estimated 71 percent of businesses using the platform, a viable Instagram presence is a must for any sales professional looking to make an impact.
If you’ve got a business page on Facebook, you’re already aware that it has a starkly different appearance than your personal profile. But, on Instagram, business and personal profiles look almost exactly the same. So, which should you choose?
Here are the pros and cons for the two types of Instagram profiles, so that you can make an informed decision. (Be sure to read to the end for our final verdict!)
- Ability to market your business through posts and Stories
- Ability to run ads through a Facebook business page
- Website link in bio section
- Profile resembles your customers’ profiles
- Lack of options for customers to contact you
- No analytics features
- All the functionality of a personal profile
- Website link in bio section
- Clickable contact links for customers (“Call” and “Directions”)
- Weekly performance and demographic insights
- Might make networking more challenging
- Algorithm changes could reduce your organic reach
In many ways, personal and business profiles on Instagram are very much the same. With either type of profile, you can make posts, add to your Instagram Story, and send private messages. And, since Instagram’s ads are set up through your Facebook business page, it’s not even necessary to have an Instagram business profile to run paid campaigns.
So, what exactly are the differences?
Labeling yourself as a business
To your followers, the only difference between a personal and a branded account will be what’s in the bio section of your profile. On a business profile, you can include an address and a phone number, so that visitors can call or get directions to your business.
On the one hand, having more contact options empowers your customers, which can only be considered a good thing. But what if you’re a service-based sales professional looking to connect with new leads by following and messaging them?
By using a personal profile, you can approach your prospect as a neighbor or potential friend—building a human connection, without the appearance that you’re going to immediately try to sell them something. But the bigger issue is how Instagram sees you.
If you already have a Facebook business page, you’re probably aware that your posts appear in your followers’ feeds somewhat infrequently, with Facebook giving preference to posts by a user’s family and friends.
Seeing as Instagram is owned by Facebook, there’s no guarantee similar algorithm changes won’t also be made to Instagram. If that happens, it will be more difficult to reach your followers without paying for ads.
The single biggest advantage of an Instagram business profile has to be the analytics. Once you switch over to a business profile, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights.
This feature offers weekly statistics for your profile, the highlight of which is a detailed breakdown of your content’s performance. Plus, Insights provides valuable demographic information, giving you an indication of the average age, gender, and physical location of your audience.
The bottom line: this kind of information enables you to see how well you’re connecting with your target audience. While you can monitor your individual post performance with either a personal or business profile, there’s simply no detailed analysis unless you choose the business option.
Though there are certainly some benefits to having a personal profile, not choosing a business profile ultimately means forgoing not just the additional contact information—which makes it easy for customers to get a hold of you—but also those incredibly valuable analytics.
At the end of the day, these extra features definitely outweigh the potential risk of smaller organic reach down the line. After all, when you’re offering valuable content and properly leveraging each interaction with your clients into a long-term relationship, you’ll make back any future marketing costs many times over.
That’s why we’re recommending the Instagram business profile, so that you can better connect with your target audience and grow your business.