instagram for business: why i'm not using it

I recently mentioned the fact that I refuse to sign up for a business profile on Instagram to a friend and they asked me simple question: why? I'll slowly work on answering this today.

I keep hearing people say: "You have to have a business profile on Instagram. It's non-negotiable." "There are so many good things and benefits about it."

Podcasters, influencers, social media strategists, social planning systems... so many of them are saying the same thing. 

But here's the thing. I'm not convinced.

Okay, I was almost convinced a few weeks ago but I smartened up and continued to dig my heels in. Let's get into why.

Instagram for business and why I'm not using it.

What are the benefits of a business account on IG?

There are actually a lot of benefits, a few of them a bit more enticing to me than others. Here are a few of my favourite features: the ones that almost pull me over to the other side.

1. Auto-posting through third party apps.

If you didn't know, I typically schedule out my posts through Later. I upload all the photos I want to share online, and schedule them out, and then when its time to post Later sends me a notification to open the post in Instagram and copy the caption. This eliminates the need to think throughout the week about posting to IG, and instead I try to schedule a week of posts at a time. 

But IG recently opened up the option to have these third-party apps like Later auto-post for you, making it one step easier to share consistently on Instagram. Here's the problem: it's only open to registered business accounts. This features means no ignoring the notification and forgetting to post, or posting 4 hours later... it would post it automatically for you. That's a pretty dope feature.

2. Swipe up links in Stories.

One of the most enticing features for me about having a business profile is the ability to have links attached to your stories, so that when followers swipe up on the post they are automatically sent to specific links. This eliminates the need to direct people to the link in your profile that you have to change every time you want to send people to a new place on your website. 

However, this feature is only available to accounts with 10k+ followers and I'm sitting pretty at 4.2k, so it's not a feature I'm able to access yet anyways. Talk to me when I hit 10k ;)

3. Helpful Analytics

Instagram recently cracked down on third-party apps accessing statistics of your profile, and so many places where you used to be able to track helpful statistics became obsolete. This made IG the best place to see your own analytics, and these are only available for business profiles.

Why I haven't made the switch...

In one word: Facebook.
In three words: Pay to Play.

Do you know what Facebook did to Business Pages? 

When Facebook first rolled out Business Pages, everyone jumped on them. They had amazing features that they kept rolling out (like auto-posting, analytics, the ability to advertise and promote, and on and on...) at no cost to the business owner. Until it started to cost them.

It didn't officially cost them dollars at first, but it cost them engagement. And engagement is king. 

Business profiles stopped reaching their audience, and to have their whole audience see their content they had to start paying to boost their posts. They had to pay to play. They had to pay to have their followers see their content. 

To clarify, I'm not talking about Facebook ads here (which I've heard can be extremely lucrative). I'm talking about boosting your normal, everyday posts to make sure they're seen. That can get expensive. 

I get the switch. Facebook and Instagram both want to make it the best experience for the average consumer - which means to keep people on their apps they need to show them more of their actual friends and loved one's posts, and not businesses that they don't have a real connection to. This makes complete sense. Facebook is a business too, you know?

So, here comes my hesitation: Instagram is owned by Facebook.

I'm concerned (and probably just plain fearful) that Facebook is going to do the exact same thing to business profiles on Instagram. I'm nervous they'll make it a pay-to-play landscape, just like they did to Facebook.

I mean, I already hear reports that people who switch to Business profiles are experiencing lower engagement than they did when they still had a personal account. 

I don't want to have to start paying to have my everyday posts seen by my followers. No thanks.

And all the features aren't enough to make me want to risk my engagement.

I fluctuate from month to month with a 4-6% engagement (which is on the high end for my follower count), and I'm not willing to risk that.

The features aren't worth giving that up. 

Auto-posting? Meh, I can post when the push notification gets sent to my phone. That's fine.
Swipe up? Can't use it yet anyways.
Analytics? I don't need that many at this point and don't really care about a lot of the analytics. I know what kinds of posts get the best engagement without using Instagram analytics.

Engagement and community building are everything to me on Instagram, so the business features just aren't worth it yet - although they can be tempting some days. 

What do you think? Are you using a business profile with good results? Are you using it but seeing a dip in engagement? I'd love to hear from you!