Instagram has approximately one billion users each month, with five hundred million of those watching Instagram Stories every day. Two hundred million users visit at least one business profile a day, and one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. To summarise, Instagram has a vast audience, just waiting to be utilised.

Whether you’re setting up an account from scratch or working on improving your existing Insta-strategy, it’s essential to take a moment to think about what you’re trying to achieve when using the platform. If you’re looking for a Social Media platform to connect with friends, family and businesses, then you should start by creating a Personal profile. However, if you’re an influencer or marketing a business, then a Professional account is what you need.

Instagram Personal Profiles

When first creating an Instagram, whether it’s for yourself or a business, you will automatically start by signing up to a personal profile. Here you can include a Name, Username, Website URL and Bio.

Build your account by following relevant people, such as friends and family, and posting to your grid. Instagram Stories and Hashtags are both excellent ways to build engagement. 

Instagram Professional Accounts

If you want to change a personal profile to a professional account, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Instagram app and log in.
  2. Click on your profile picture on the bottom right of the screen, and this will take you to your ‘grid’.
  3. Click on the three horizontal lines on the top right of your screen.
  4. Click ‘Settings’.
  5. Scroll down slightly and select ‘Switch to Professional account’.

You will then have to select whether you are a ‘Creator’ which is best for public figures such as influencers, or a ‘Business’ which, of course, is best for businesses.

A Creator account is almost like the middle ground between personal and business. You will have flexible profile controls where you can choose to hide or display information such as contact buttons, as well as a simplified inbox allowing you to manage requests and engage with fans easily. You will also receive more advanced insights.

Professional Instagram accounts will give you more call to action buttons and space to provide contact details and your business address, which will ultimately increase your customers’ ability to get in touch.

You will now be able to connect your Facebook Page to your Instagram account. Linking your accounts is essential if you utilise a scheduling tool which can schedule directly to Instagram, as they will require a professional ‘Business’ profile over a personal or creator account.

What’s Different?

There are, however, some features that you will notice you no longer have access to when changing to a Professional account that you need to consider before making the switch. 

Privacy 

It may not seem like an important feature, but it’s worth noting that if you’re looking to have a private Instagram account (and therefore not grow your brand and exposure), then you can only do this through a Personal profile. 

Organic Reach 

Personal Instagram accounts tend to have a higher Organic Reach than Professional ones as it’s Instagram’s way of putting their consumers first. Businesses are expected to ‘pay to play’ and invest in the platform if they want to increase their reach.

Music Sticker

You may notice that Professional accounts don’t have access to the music sticker on Instagram Stories. Although Instagram hasn’t directly commented on this, it makes sense that with copyright and licencing laws, businesses would be unable to utilise other artists music for their marketing purposes.

Top Tip: although the majority of videos on Social Media are listened to with the sound off (use subtitles where you can), Instagram Stories are often played with the volume up! Be careful to avoid any distracting background noise when recording a video or going live.

Insights

Professional Instagram accounts will allow you to view ‘Insights’ into your content, activity and audiences. You will be able to see your Reach, Impressions, Interactions, and follower demographic to improve your Instagram engagement and exposure continuously. You can also track your Overall Growth and whether anyone has followed or unfollowed you. Use this information to post more of what your audience enjoy seeing.