Planning a Switch to Instagram Business? Maybe Don’t.

Nearly a year ago, Instagram announced a business profile option. It gives your customers an easy way to contact you, offers you analytic insights on how your business is interacting with its customers and gives you the ability to promote posts like an advertisement, making your sponsored content appear more often on a user’s feed.

This tool has now been around long enough that companies have become familiar with the brand, and startups and major corporations alike have switched to it in an effort to improve the promotional power of their Instagram accounts and reach out to more customers.

However, the business profile is not necessarily always the best option for a business, and it may not always improve customer response. According to Entrepreneur contributor Madeline Popelka, Facebook went through a similar series of changes with its business profiles in what ultimately turned out to be a move not to better position companies but to monetize their presence on the site. In fact, in some cases, switching to a business profile may actually hurt your brand in the long run.

Fans Prefer a Personal Touch

Your connection to fans without a business profile exists purely through your company’s ability to attract attention and grow organically; by switching to a business profile and becoming advertised content on the site, you will limit the amount of organic growth you can develop, the amount of natural interactions you can generate and the willingness of site users to spread your brand for you.

By relying on advertising instead of organic growth, you will cripple your company’s ability to generate that natural interest on Instagram, ultimately serving only to weaken your brand.

Brands that have a personal appeal and if customers can see the effects of individuals behind a business — such as posts signed by a particular employee — they’ll build fonder feelings and a greater sense of loyalty for your brand. However, brands that feel as though they’ve been computerized and monetized lose some of that personal touch, and therefore the emotional connection they’ve developed with their followers.

Personality Is Central to a Brand’s Appeal

Rather than using Instagram’s business option, businesses looking to provide advertising and marketing content may find that brand ambassadors and social media influencers are a better choice for promoting a particular product, sale or release.

Brand ambassadors are particularly capable of using social media sites to effectively promote your content — and note that you’ll almost never see a brand ambassador turn themselves into a business profile — because followers understand that many of them are rewarded in free products, which suggests that their interest in promoting the product involves a genuine approval of the product. The brand ambassador’s individual genuine interest in the industry reads as genuine to followers, making them popular and effective ways to promote a brand — something that a business profile does not do.

Sponsored Content Turns People Off

The problem with using Instagram’s business account profile is posts you make and promote will now be clearly labeled as advertisements, with the words “sponsored post” placed above the image on people’s feeds. This is going to make most people automatically scroll down, as in general millennials are disinterested in being obviously advertised to. Content that clearly labels itself as trying to market to us makes us suspicious, and we aren’t going to give it a second glance, let alone be swayed by the marketing, which costs money and resources to implement.

On the other hand, ads that you simply make as a regular post are more likely to catch someone’s eye, as they will initially look at is as an informative or aesthetic post rather than a marketing post. This will encourage them to click “read more” if you have a long comment, and may even encourage them to interact with the post, commenting because they know they aren’t commenting on an advertisement like a weirdo.

An Instagram business profile may help your brand in the short-term, but the effect it has on your customers and the impression it leaves on your business may ultimately turn people off and reduce the effectiveness of your advertising efforts. Switching over may benefit Instagram, but it may not benefit your company.

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