Instagram has three different account types: Personal, Business, and Creator. Which one you should use depends on how you plan to use the “gram.”
What Is an Instagram Personal Account?
An Instagram Personal Account is the regular account that everyone gets by default. If you have an Instagram account and you haven’t done anything to deliberately change it, you have a Personal Account.
We’ll look at the advantages of Professional Accounts in a moment, but there is one big advantage for Personal Accounts: You can set them to private. This means that you have to approve any new followers and that strangers on the internet won’t be able to go through all your old photos.
While you don’t have to keep your Instagram account set to private (although I’d probably recommend that you do), it’s nice to have the option. If you’re applying for a new job, in the middle of a bad break up, or experiencing harassment online, or if you just want to make sure that random people can’t see your photos for a few days, you can go private—and then go back to public again when things have calmed down.
What Is an Instagram Business Account?
Instagram Business Accounts are one of two kinds of Professional Accounts. They’re designed for actual businesses, like beauty salons and online stores, rather than individuals.
For the most part, a Business Account is just like a Personal Account. You can still post photos, share things to your Story, and slide into people’s DMs. However, you have access to a couple of business-specific features, including the ability to:
- post “Insights” and analytics that enable you to see the reach of things you share, your follower growth, and the like.
- promote posts and run ads.
- create Shopping posts linked to an online store.
- automatically schedule posts using apps like Later.
- have a sortable message inbox.
- have a “Contact” button and business category on your Profile.
One quirk of Instagram Business Accounts is that you need to link yours to a Facebook Page to run ads or sell products, even if you don’t plan to use Facebook in your marketing.
What Is an Instagram Creator Account?
Instagram Creator Accounts are the other type of Instagram Professional Account. They fall roughly between Personal and Business Accounts. They’re designed for public figures, influencers, YouTubers, Etsy makers, and the like.
With a Creator Account, you can:
- see Post Insights, run ads, sort your inbox, and create shoppable posts, like with a Business Account. You can’t schedule posts.
- hide your contact details and business category on your Profile so that it looks more like a Personal Account.
Like with a Business Account, you still need to connect a Creator Account to a Facebook Page if you want to run ads or create shoppable posts.
Which Should You Get?
Instagram’s Professional Accounts are designed for people who use Instagram as part of their marketing plan and want to be able to run ads and sell products, or who have such huge followings that having a sorted inbox and analytics are useful. You can switch your current Instagram account to a Professional Account.
For most people, a Personal Account is the only Instagram account that you need. If you only have 100 or 200 followers, analytics won’t tell you much, and it saves you the hassle of setting up a Facebook Page. Being able to switch your account to private any time you want is a much better feature.