Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?
At the beginning of May, Instagram publicly rolled out the option for any account with 10k or more followers to switch their profile from a Business or Personal Profile to a Creator Profile. They promised that with the new Creator Profile, users would have access to more features that would allow them to better analyze and engage with their audience.
Previously, the Instagram Business Profile was the closest thing that influencers had to an option that fit their needs—including communicating with fans and brands, running ads, and tracking growth. However, the Business Profile never quite fit the bill for what influencers really needed from the platform. In a recent statement, a spokesperson from Instagram admits that they’ve “gotten feedback that existing tools around business profiles make it difficult to track creator follower growth and engagement over time and that existing business tools weren’t designed with them in mind.”
So, will the new Creator Profile finally give influencers the answer to this long-running issue? Or does it create more problems than it solves?
Exclusive Features Available to Instagram Creators
Switching to the new profile option and making yourself an official “Instagram Creator” grants you more perks than finally allowing you to correctly label yourself as an artist, model, actor, etc. (although that is a welcome change) and a new contact button. It also offers a whole host of improved capabilities and features specifically tailored to improving the influencer experience:
Finally, it’s what we’ve all been waiting for! Influencers have long been asking for a better way to track changes in their following, and the Creator Profile gives them just that.
Prior to the introduction of the Creator Profile, users with a Business Profile could only track the change in their audience from week to week. Now, however, Instagram Creators can view day-by-day updates, including follower losses and gains along with an option to view the specific posts that were published on that day. With this change, users can better gauge which content has led to significant fluctuations in their audience.
Access to the Creator Studio Dashboard
The Creator Studio is a desktop dashboard management tool that allows you to view content and insights from Facebook and Instagram directly from your computer. While the tool does not grant you any additional information that you wouldn’t find in the Instagram app, it does act as more accessible way to retrieve that information when you’re working on a desktop.
Through the dashboard, you can view your Content Library and Insights. The Content Library includes engagement statistics for your posts and stories and allows you to easily search for content using a date or keyword. The Insights tab is divided into two pages: Activity and Audience. The Activity tab gives you data on website visits, action button responses, profile visits, and profile reach for the previous 7 days. The Audience tab breaks down demographic information, such as age and gender, and tells you when your audience is most active on Instagram.
Unfortunately, you cannot use the Creator Studio to post content from a desktop computer.
Greater Control over Message Inbox
If you’re in charge of any account with a large number of followers, you’ll know how difficult it is to keep track of messages on Instagram. Messages from fans, friends, family, and brands are mixed together with no option to organize or filter their messages.
The new Creator Account attempts to mitigate this issue by introducing a new tab in the direct message inbox. In addition to the General tab and the Requests tab (which is used for messages from accounts you have not interacted with previously), Creators will also have the Primary tab. The Primary tab can be used for messages you designate as important (e.g. messages from friends, family, and brand partners).
When you switch to a Creator Account, all your messages will remain in Primary, but you can manually move them to General. This may not be especially helpful for clearing out your already-cluttered inbox, but going forward, you’ll be able to filter new messages as they come in. Message notifications are, by default, turned off, but you do have the option to enable them to ensure that you never miss a chance at a new connection.
Access to Shoppable Posts
Shoppable posts, which allow users to tag specific items in their posts and link them a product page, have already been available to businesses for some time. This is the first time, however, that influencer partners will be able to link products from partner brands in their own posts. This is probably the #1 incentive for influencers to switch to a Creator Account, as it will allow them to drive more sales from partner posts and increase their earnings.
This option, for now, is only limited to only a select group of influencers.
Benefit of Creator Profiles to Brand Partners
While the new Creator Profile is mainly aimed at improving the influencer experience on Instagram, it also has related benefits for brands that work with them:
- Easier to Find and Reach Out to Influencers: With the new Creator Account, anyone can easily glance at a profile and tell exactly what that user does. Additionally, the new Contact button allows brands to reach out to influencers for potential partnership opportunities without having to worry about their message getting lost in the DM inbox.
- Access to More Detailed Analytics Helps Brands Weed Out Fake Influencers: An important part of choosing an influencer for a marketing campaign is due diligence. Some influencers will do anything, including buying fake followers, to artificially inflate their metrics. With the introduction of new Insight tools, however, brands can request detailed engagement information to help them make more informed decisions when it comes to influencer partnerships.
- Shoppable Posts Allow for Better Influencer Advertisements: Shoppable posts allow influencers and brands to directly link to products that are used or mentioned, which drastically cuts down on the number of steps that users usually take to find and access that product from a post.
The Downside of Instagram’s Creator Profiles
The new features offered by the Instagram Creator Profile are undeniably attractive, especially for users who have long been wishing for a way to better track engagement and interact with their followers. Though, unfortunately, I can’t end this article on a high note because there’s one more thing we need to talk about in regard to IG’s new Creator Profiles, and it could be the deal-breaker for many considering making the switch.
Creator Accounts are not connected to the Instagram API, which means that third-party tools will no longer be compatible if you switch to Creator Account. That means you can say goodbye to any auto-publishing, analytics, or content creation tools that you rely on to manage your brand on Instagram. If you rely heavily on one or more of these tools, it’s unlikely that the Creator Account’s new features are enticing enough to sacrifice this functionality.
It’s possible that that Instagram will fix this problem in the future and open the API to third parties, but there’s no guarantee that those developers will want to recode their programs to allow them to function with Creator Accounts.
So, we’ve finally arrived at the question we asked in the beginning of this article: “Should you switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?” Honestly, at this point, it’s probably not worth it to most influencers to lose access to third-party tools in exchange for a few extra features. However, I’m optimistic that Instagram will add improvements as the profiles become more popular, including additional exclusive features and, hopefully, the inclusion of Creator Accounts in the API. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.