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Private or Public Instagram

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Instagram: Public for Business Private for Personal

Anyone whom has at least one friend and has ever taken a picture on their mobile phone, probably has an Instagram account. In fact, I can’t think of a brand, person, or animal that doesn’t have an account. Not sure if Instagram is really that popular or necessary for your online success? Here are a few statistics that you should probably know then.


  • 2 Billion active users. 500 million of these users are daily users.

  • 71% of users are under the age of 35

  • Instagram users spend an average of 0:53 mins a day on the app

  • 71% of US Businesses us Instagram

  • Of the 500 million users, 1/3 of the daily users view Businesses Stories feature

  • 50% of Instagram users follow at least one business account

  • Instagram generates 4X the amount of interaction that Facebook does

  • Instagram helps 80% of users make a purchase decision

  • Average post on Instagram has 10.7 Hashtags

By looking at those numbers, Instagram should be part of any marketing strategy. However, the way one sets up their account can be critical. I thought I’d cover one of the biggest questions I get asked when consulting with brands/companies on their Instagram strategy, and this is whether or not to setup a profile to be public or private.

Let’s first look at why one would want to be public:


  • Engagement will be much higher! With a public account anyone that wants to see your content, will without any barrier, be able to see your posts.

  • Your hashtags and content will appear in hashtag feeds.

  • Geographic tag feeds will show up and be searchable by that location. This is like hyper-hashtagging.

  • You can embed your content on websites.

  • Be the diamond in the rough. If someone is browsing Instagram and happens to see your post about the latte you are drinking, you may just get a book deal from your witty caption. It happens all the time.

Here are some reasons why one might want to be private:


  • Ultimate control of who can see your posts. This is by far the largest advantage.

  • Never have to deal with unwanted or spam comments. Face it, we all get some pretty unsavory comments once in a while. As a private account you’ll rarely get those.

  • Removing users. You may get a user who goes rogue, which you’ll be able to deal with easily by removing them.

  • Much harder to steal your content. When your content is shared by others, whomever they are sharing it with will also need to be an accepted follower of yours.

  • Hide that personal activity. Since nobody can search for you via hashtag, nor see your content unless you they are on your followers list, you can post all of that non-social distancing content that you’d like.

To me the dividing line of whether to be private or public is a fairly easy one to distinguish. If you are a brand and you want your product to be seen and shared easily without any restrictions, you’ll want to be public. On a personal level, if you’d like to share your content with only a select few, I’d suggest setting your account to private. Keep in mind you can switch between the two, however if you were private before and now you want to be public, keep in mind all of your activity prior to the switch will also change.

As for underage accounts, which are supposed to happen, but they do, I’d say keep those private. Kids should just be treated differently, as there are just too many online creeps out there.

Keep in mind, the idea of Instagram is to share your content with the masses. I have two accounts, one for personal and one for online consumption. My public profile can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/worthless_stuff. As for my personal, I guess you’d already know that if we are friends. I try my best not to share work life with my personal contacts and vice versa.

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