Instagram Business Account or Personal Account – What’s the Difference?

Written by Nancy Rothman

On August 27, 2018

Social media is one of the greatest ways to grow a business these days.

But there are new rules constantly coming out about how to use your social media accounts, what companies can post to your account, and how to post on your so you stay on the “nice list.”

Earlier this year, Facebook really cracked down on spam posts, fake accounts, and all around not-cool usage of their site. Which is a really good thing.

As a result, one noteworthy change is the separation of business accounts and personal profiles.

You can read our take on Facebook business pages here, but in this post we’re covering the difference between a personal and business Instagram account and what it means for your business.

Instagram business accounts have been around for a while, but what do they really do?

In short, an Instagram business account makes it possible for you to promote your business in a way that’s supported by the platform by providing analytics and the opportunity to run ads to help you grow.

It functions very much like a personal account, where you post pictures, videos, and stories about your business so you can connect with new customers.

Pretty awesome, right? So why would anyone NOT want a business account?

Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012, so the changes they made earlier this year effect both platforms. They’ve recently limited the organic reach (number of people who see your post) of business accounts, profiles, and pages.

Why did they do this? Because Instagram really cares about showing their users what’s most important to them. Things like pictures of their friends, inspiring quotes, and cats wearing bow ties.

So let’s understand the difference between an Instagram business account and personal account – and which one you need.

Looking for more Instagram inspiration? Download 13 Instagram story templates to inspire your next story


There are all kinds of things competing for our attention these days. Smartphones allow us to choose what we see, hear and read at any given moment. So when you’re growing a business, it makes sense to “follow the eyeballs” or to put it less freaky terms, “follow the attention.”

Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users. Which means over 1 billion people are paying attention to this app every single month.

That’s like, a lot of users! And a lot of attention.

Imagine the possibilities of reaching customers using just Instagram!


Not only are people paying attention to Instagram, they’re paying attention all the time.

Instagram Stories, short videos, and pictures that disappear after 24 hours, now has over 400 million active daily users, which is double the daily users of Snapchat.

So if you’re trying to follow the attention of your customers, Instagram gives you gigantic opportunities to grow your business.

But, before we get too carried away, remember Instagram exists to connect people and ideas users care about (cats in bow ties, people!)

So when businesses show up to the party, you have slightly different rules to follow.

Good news! As a reward for following the rules and staying on the “nice list”, Instagram gives you lots of features and tools specifically designed to help you reach more customers! Things like a contact button where you can put your email and phone number, a place for your physical address & location, and even adding links to your Instagram stories.

Once you reach over 10k followers, you can add the “swipe up” feature to your stories. This allows people to go from Instagram to any link you want to share with them! Or, if you want to use this feature before hitting the 10k follower mark, you can run an Instagram stories ad and include a link!

Unlike a personal account, the business account cannot be set to “private.” Setting your account to private means only your followers can see your posts, stories, and comments. Plus, new followers must “request” to follow your account – which you can accept or deny.

If you’re concerned with privacy on social media, it might be best to go with a personal account first and switch over later if/when you’re more comfortable.

However, private accounts don’t really give you the opportunity to grow your brand awareness. Your “discoverability” is a very important part of using social media to grow your business.

Personal accounts allow you to link multiple Facebook pages and profiles. Business accounts only allow one. They’re really trying to keep personal posts and business posts separate, so if you want to share a post from Instagram to Facebook, it has to be a business account to a business page.

Who Needs an Instagram Business Account?

If you want to grow your brand using Instagram, you need a business account.

These accounts are great for influencers, professional photographers, bloggers, e-commerce brands, consultants/coaches, service businesses, authors, and more.

But if you want to share fashion tips, photos, or makeup tutorials just for fun, you can go ahead with a personal account.

The main reason someone would want a business account is for the reporting capabilities and analytics. I know what you’re thinking, “what do I do with the analytics?”

Don’t worry, Instagram breaks it down in a way that makes sense, not just a bunch of numbers. When you get an Instagram business account, they show you all kinds of data about your followers.

Reporting Capabilities & Analytics

There are all kinds of data points at your fingertips when you get a business account.

Here are just a few things the Insights feature shows you!

  • Activity – You know how many followers you have, but how many people are viewing your account? The Activity tab lets you see how many accounts interacted with your profile each day of the previous week. This means profile visits (or views) and the number of website clicks. The Insights feature also compares your activity from previous weeks!
  • Content – You’re getting likes, but how many people are seeing your Posts? The Content tab lets you see the number of impressions each Post got, so you can really track if things like hashtags are increasing your reach! Not only can you see this on your Posts, but also your Stories and Promotions (ads).
  • Audience – Wondering if you’re attracting your ideal client? The Audience tab shows you the top locations, age range, and gender of your followers. Plus, it shows you the day and time they’re most active on Instagram. Knowing this gives you the power to post when they’re on the app, which is really cool.

How to Get an Instagram Business Account

If you’re new to Instagram getting your business account is simple! First, make sure you have the Instagram app downloaded on your phone. Below are screenshots of the steps you’ll need to take.

Then you’re set! You can start getting follower insights as soon as you have at least 100 followers. When you get past 10k followers, you unlock more ways to use the app like including a link in your Instagram Stories, and usually, you’ll get access to new features before other accounts.


Business accounts are Instagram’s way of letting businesses use their platform without breaking any “social rules.” They give you really useful insights on your followers and help you reach lots of new customers! If you’re considering using Instagram to increase your brand exposure, we recommend setting up a business account. How will you use your Instagram business account?


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