Remember back in the day when everyone, regardless of person or brand, had a personal Instagram profile? There were no bells and whistles, just a basic bio and your Instagram feed.
It just goes to show how quickly social media really does change, because in 2016, Instagram introduced business profiles, and they’ve definitely taken off from there.
At first, brands were wary about whether or not they should switch. After all, Facebook’s algorithm favors content from family and friends over brands, so why wouldn’t the Facebook-owned Instagram?
But the benefits are significant. Since the start of business profiles, contact buttons were born, Instagram shopping became more prominent, the platform launched its own analytics and now everyone, from corporations to startups to influencers, has an Instagram business profile.
Why create an Instagram business profile
If you’re a brand looking to create a following on Instagram and use the platform strategically, you’re going to need an Instagram business profile.
This is because there are so many added perks that improve usability as a brand. Let’s dive into a few of the biggest benefits of using a business profile versus a basic personal profile.
1. You’re taken more seriously
Take a look at the differences between the two Instagram profiles below. You’ll probably notice a few of them.
Business profiles share the brand’s industry, an address and a contact button right on the profile. (Ignore the fact that our Sprout Social business Instagram has story highlights and my personal profile doesn’t – that feature is available on both personal and business profiles.)
Having the ability to offer even more information upfront, as well as additional contact information, gives your business profile a more professional look. And offering even more ways for your audience to get in touch with you has never been a bad thing.
Because the differences between the two types are so obvious, Instagram users can automatically tell when a profile is for a business, and it provides a greater sense of trust.
2. You get access to analytics
This is a big one. Switching to a business account gives you the ability to access built-in insights about your account and its performance.
You’re able to take a look at your post performance, follower activity and audience insights. While these insights aren’t extremely in-depth, it’s a great glance at your account success and can give you a basic understanding of how well your content is doing.
And for more details on your analytics, you can always take advantage of Sprout Social‘s analytics options.
3. You can add links to your Instagram stories
Instagram is infamous for its inability to link directly to blog posts and landing pages from your posts, hence the popularity of ‘link in bio’ and tools designed to collect all your recent or important links on one Instagram-accessible page. However, accounts that have more than 10,000 followers gain access to swipe up links within Instagram Stories, but only if that account is an Instagram business profile.
While it might take awhile to get your Instagram account to 10,000 followers, if you create a successful Instagram strategy, you’ll be linking content in your Stories in no time. Using Story links is a great way to highlight your latest content, highlight short-term deals or resurface timely content and products based on what’s trending.
4. You can take advantage of Instagram advertising
Instagram ads and promoted posts are created through Facebook’s ads manager, which means you must have an Instagram business profile that is attached to your Facebook Page to be able to create Instagram ad campaigns.
To help generate leads, increase conversions and get to that 10,000 follower threshold more quickly, your brand should be taking advantage of Instagram advertising. If you’re struggling to increase your reach and overcome some of the challenges brands face from the Instagram algorithm, paid ads can help you target key audiences.
5. You can schedule your posts ahead of time
Another major Instagram update that’s now a few years old, but had significant value for marketers was the ability for users to automatically schedule their posts instead of having to just schedule a reminder to manually post content.
However, the ability to use a third party tool like Sprout Social to schedule your content ahead of time is only available with Instagram business profiles.
So if you want to make your social media management easier, do yourself (and your marketing team as a whole) a favor and switch to an Instagram business account. With a tool like Sprout, you’ll be able to get a more complete picture of your upcoming content calendar and it will be easier for everyone who contributes to this content to collaborate.
6. You can tag products in your posts
Finally, another great perk that’s only available to business accounts is the ability to turn your feed into an online shop.
Tagging products and turning photos into shoppable posts is a great way to open an entirely new revenue stream for your brand, but you have to switch to or set up your profile as a business account first. Considering that 46% of users make a purchase after seeing a product on Instagram, and even more do further research on that product after viewing, it makes sense to facilitate this type of browsing as much as possible.
How to switch to an Instagram business account
Have you heard enough about the benefits of an Instagram business account? Ready to switch your account over to an Instagram business profile? Let’s walk you through the process so you can start taking advantage of these great perks.
Step 1: Go to your Instagram account settings
Go to your profile, then tap the hamburger menu in the top right corner of the app. Tap Settings and then tap Account to get started.
Step 2: Switch to Instagram professional account
Once in the account settings, you’ll see a blue call-to-action at the bottom of the page for you to Switch to Professional Account.
Tap that to move forward with your big switch.
Step 3: Choose a Business account
Selecting Business will allow you to start gathering impressions, reach, and video views within your reporting insights, as well as schedule content ahead of time using third party tools like Sprout Social.
Instagram recently rolled out a new type of business account – an Instagram creator account. These are more specifically for influencers, public figures or other types of content producers, whereas a business account is better for brands and businesses that sell a product or service.
This is a part of Instagram’s effort to further separate influencers and businesses, making it more obvious for its users when a partnership is an influencer promotion rather than an ad.
The tools surrounding a creator account are slightly different from those accessible in a Business account, but they were created with influencer marketing in mind. There are also more features surrounding messaging and profile flexibility.
The core business profile features are still available, including shoppable posts. This means influencers will be able to tag the products they’re recommending directly within their Instagram posts, offering even more streamlined shopping for all parties involved.
If you plan to partner with businesses as an influencer, you’ll want to create an Instagram creator account. If not, including if you plan to partner with influencers to promote your products or services, you’ll want to create an Instagram business account.
Step 4: Connect your Facebook Page
If you’re moving forward in creating or switching to a business profile, your next step is to connect your Facebook Page. You must have admin access to your business Facebook Page to take this action.
Once you confirm which Facebook Page you want to connect, your business profile is ready to go!
If you’re switching to a creator profile, all you need to do is select a category for the type of creator you are.
How to switch back to a personal Instagram account
If you decide an Instagram business or creator account isn’t for you, it’s possible (and extremely easy) to revert right back to a personal account.
You can also switch between business and creator accounts to find the one that makes the most sense for your brand.
All you have to do is head right back to your account settings, and this time the blue Switch to Professional Account call-to-action will be replaced with two different options: Switch to Personal Account or Switch to Creator Account.
Start taking advantage of Instagram business profile tools
Ready to ramp up your Instagram marketing strategy? By switching over to an Instagram business profile, you gain access to so many more great brand tools and perks, allowing you to really wow your audience on the platform.
To learn even more about the power of Instagram for your business, check out our guide to organic Instagram strategies that work.