*Update: With changes in February of 2018 to Instagram’s API that now allows apps such as Agorapulse to publish directly to Instagram without having to deal with mobile push notifications, we highly recommend switching to a business account on Instagram. Read more about the changes.
Mark Zuckerberg reported in May 2017 that 700 million were active on Instagram each month.
If you’re a business, you’re either marketing on Instagram or toying with using Instagram. But should you use Instagram as a “personal profile” or “business profile” to reap the benefits of Instagram?
The spark for this test was a question I found on Reddit in the /r/socialmedia sub-reddit. A user said, “Switching to a business account killed my engagement. Is this some sneaky form of pay-to-play?”
Many on the Reddit thread thought switching to a business account was a bad idea and simply a way for Facebook to force you to pay for ads.
Others simply attribute the decline in engagement on Instagram to the new algorithm.
I have a personal Instagram account and run various Instagram business accounts. Based on my presumptions, I formulated a hypothesis.
Hypothesis: Switching an Instagram account from a Personal to Business account will not negatively impact engagement.
I started this test with the personal Instagram account I’ve had for years to randomly post about my life as a dad, dog owner, Dallas Cowboys fan, and lover of pocket knives.
Switching from a personal account to a business account is fairly simple.
The images below are from my Android device:
1.) Tap the “Menu/Settings” icon on the upper right:
2.) Tap “Switch to Business Profile”:
3.) Next, you’ll tap “Continue” on a few screens that Instagram shows you—just to make sure you know you’re making the switch and what you get when you do:
4.) Tap “Log in with Facebook.” This will let you choose a business page on Facebook to connect to:
5.) Choose a Facebook Page. This is required. Either select an existing page or create a new one:
6) Edit any contact information for the account:
7.) You’re done!
The biggest changes you’ll notice is you now have the ability to Promote posts (run ads) and you now have Insights.
Now that I have switched the account to a business account, I will continue to post in my normal pattern for at least 10 posts and then gather data to compare against posts made before I switched.
Over a period of 17 days, after switching to a business account, I posted 15 photos to Instagram.
There was a 33.33% decrease in Likes after switching to an Instagram business account.
I removed the highest and lowest performing posts from both data sets to come to this conclusion.
To test to see if these results held up, I posted the highest performing post from the 15 posts before switching to an Instagram business account.
Here is the original post before I switched, which had 49 Likes:
I posted the exact photo with the exact caption and hashtags, including the hashtags in the comments.
The results: Within 24 hours, the post had 36 Likes—13 fewer than when I posted it the first time.
So even when I posted the exact post with the exact hashtags, I got less engagement.
Is this due to switching to a business account or just coincidence and part of the ebb and flow of social media? I don’t know. But I know data doesn’t lie or have an opinion.
Based on the data, my hypothesis was wrong.
Not only did switching to an Instagram business account have an impact, but it also seems to be having a negative impact on engagement.
But is switching a bad thing?
This depends on the account and your use of the account.
If it’s a business, it makes sense to have an Instagram business account as you get things like:
But if engagement is going to drop, you might want to reconsider.
My advice would be to stay as a personal profile unless you need the business aspects mentioned previously.