In marketing today, there’s no greater currency than a strong online presence on social media. And of all the apps social media offers, Instagram continues to separate itself from the pack as the most valuable platform, especially among the big fish demographic of 18-35-year-olds.
If you’re in marketing, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Instagram (if not, you’re probably out of a job). But you might not be aware of the platform’s latest trend: the Instagram creator account. And if you’re not familiar with it, you should be, seeing as it’s about to change social media marketing as we know it. Read on for everything you need to know about Instagram creator accounts and how working with an influencer who has one could take your business to the next level.
A Brief History of the Instagram Creator Account
Countless companies today are hiring celebrities or “influencers” (i.e. people who attract a mass audience on social media) to advertise products on their individual Instagram pages. In fact, influencer marketing recently became a multibillion-dollar industry. But because Instagram was created before anyone could conceive of the concept of influencing, it obviously wasn’t designed to be influencer-friendly.
When Instagram first emerged in 2010, influencers had extremely limited resources available to them for tracking their following. Despite having upwards of millions of followers, influencers didn’t have access to any audience engagement metric other than new follower notifications. That’s the same resource your grandma has on her social media account.
The app first attempted to combat this glaring problem in 2016 by introducing business accounts. These feature specialized growth tools that generate detailed audience metrics. Many influencers enjoyed successful transitions to business accounts but lamented the fact that they weren’t geared toward individuals. So, in an attempt to form the perfect marriage between individual and business accounts, Instagram began beta testing on creator accounts in 2019.
So, What Exactly are Creator Accounts? And What do They Bring to the Table?
Like business accounts utilized by large companies, creator accounts offer influencers a myriad of user-friendly tools that help them track their audience’s growth. Some of these tools include:
Whereas business accounts only provide users with weekly metrics to track their audience growth, creator accounts provide influencers with audience metrics on a daily basis. That way, influencers can track how many people followed or unfollowed their account on a given day, and check on all activity pertaining to their feed, story and IGTV videos. And all this data is conveniently organized in one place.
Being able to trace a post back to a specific date and time illustrates for influencers which content resonates with audiences and which doesn’t. It can also help them identify why audience engagement shifts and course-correct their future postings accordingly.
Creator accounts make it much easier for users to not only track their metrics but also share them with different brands. This helps brands make further informed decisions when choosing which influencers to partner with.
Desktop Access to Analytics
In addition to their increased specificity, audience engagement metrics in creator accounts are also easier to access, as influencers can now pull them up on their desktops using the Creator Studio feature.
The Creator Studio eliminates the need for a third-party analytic tool, enabling influencers to view each of the following right from their laptops:
- Published Content – Users can type in keywords or set a date range to pull up any of their past content. Each post will include correlating insights and can be sorted into categories based on the type of content it is
- Content Library – This provides influencers with key details on the likes and comments a post attracted, as well as the date it was published
- Activity Tab – This shows influencers how many times people visited their profile page and website, as well as how many times someone clicked one of their “Call to Action” buttons
Multi-Tiered, Optimized Inbox
With individual accounts, there’s no way of sorting direct messages. That means, whether it’s a message from a Fortune 500 company offering a multimillion-dollar deal or a bot account phishing for someone naive enough to click spam, it all gets lumped into one inbox. The most recent message received is the one that will sit atop the inbox, even if the message itself couldn’t be more worthless.
The direct message inbox featured in creator accounts, on the other hand, allows influencers to prioritize their messages into either a “primary tab” or “general tab,” and easily drag them into “read,” “unread” and “flagged” sections. This helps influencers separate messages related to business opportunities from messages sent by family and friends.
Additionally, creator accounts offer a third option with the “request tab,” which simplifies the tracking of message requests (i.e. direct messages from senders that the influencer either doesn’t follow or doesn’t recognize). Influencers can sort them by relevance and when they were received. This may prove to be detrimental to smaller brands trying to connect with major influencers but represents a huge leap forward in making creator accounts user-friendly.
No Need for Labels
With Instagram’s business accounts, the required category label in the business’s profile is the same label that appears on the business’s Facebook page. The problem with this is that most of the business page labels Facebook offers are naturally designed for businesses, and oftentimes aren’t as applicable to individuals.
But with an Instagram creator account, influencers can choose their own category label from a list compiled with individual users in mind. And if none of the available labels capture their brand appropriately, the label can be nixed entirely.
Contact Info and Call to Action Buttons
Creator accounts also enable influencers to turn their contact info on or off as it suits them. So, if a creator is getting swamped with cold calls and email solicitations, they can simply turn off their contact info to remove it from their personal profile.
But leaving contact info on has its perks. Creators who make their contact info available can complement it with CTA buttons, including:
- Directions to the influencer’s location
Just like the metrics that accompany posted content, daily statistics are made available to inform creators how many times their listed CTA buttons were clicked. There are, however, two downsides:
- Creator accounts don’t have the “Reserve” or “Book Now” CTA buttons that come with business accounts
- Creators can’t turn the category label off but leave the CTA buttons on, or vice-versa. It’s all or nothing
Here’s the new feature that could boost revenue for influencers and brands alike in unprecedented fashion. Influencers partnered with select brands can use their creator accounts to tag their favorite products in posts, which creates a link that followers on instagram can then click to shop for the same products.
Instagram is currently only offering this feature to a small, exclusive list of outrageously famous celebrities and top influencers. But if Instagram chooses to push it beyond the testing phase and make it more widely available, it could permanently shake up the way brands conduct and manage business.
How to Get a Creator Account?
Anyone with an Instagram account that’s connected to a Facebook Business page and has at least 10,000 followers will be eligible for a creator account. For those who meet both requirements, getting a creator account is a relatively quick and simple process that doesn’t impact their algorithm in any way. Here’s how influencers can get a creator account:
- Open their Instagram profile
- Tap the button with the three parallel, horizontal lines in the top-right corner
- This will prompt a “Settings” icon to appear at the bottom of the screen. Give that a tap
- In the Settings menu, choose the “Accounts” option
- At the bottom of the screen will be two options: “Switch to Personal Account” and “Switch to Creator Account.” Hopefully, it’s obvious what to do from here
At this point, influencers will be guided through a series of screens that allow them to set up their account features, choose the category label that best describes their personal brand (or opt not to include a label), and decide whether to turn contact information and CTA buttons on or off.
Once this set-up process is complete, the Instagram creator account is ready for use.
Things to Address Once a Creator Account is Ready
The first thing that will happen for anyone who opens a creator account is that they’ll automatically begin receiving follower insights. Past messages, however, will initially be grouped into the primary inbox. So, it’s on the user to go through messages and filter them accordingly. It’s also smart to sort new messages that come in immediately to avoid getting overwhelmed.
Additionally, it’s important to note that general tab notifications will automatically be set to “off,” but can be flipped on easily in the account’s inbox settings.
Because creator accounts are a brand-new feature, it’ll take some time before anyone will know the impact they’ll have on the Instagram marketing landscape. But based on their tremendous improvements in user-friendliness and virtually limitless potential to drive sales, creator accounts could not only remain pervasive but could change the nature of Instagram marketing entirely.
1) “Instagram Creator Accounts: What Marketers Need to Know” by Jenn Herman https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-creator-accounts-what-marketers-need-to-know/
2) “What You Need to Know About Instagram’s New Creator Account” by Syed Balkhi https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/334982
3) “New Instagram Creator Accounts Can Increase Your Brand Awareness” by Arielle Gnann https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/instagram-creator-accounts