Back in July I read an article by The Atlantic where they explained why some big meme Instagram pages were making their accounts private and how that going private had made their follower growth explode. I found this strategy intriguing so out of curiosity, I thought I’d like to experiment with it myself.
What is a private Instagram account?
When you make an Instagram account private, the content is hidden from public view and only your followers can see it. You can control the visibility of your account in settings. Select account privacy and then toggle on Private Account. People will then have to send you a follow request if they want to see your posts.
If your account is private, when you add hashtags to a post – your post will only show up to the people who follow you.
Why switch to private?
There are some potential benefits to switching to private – but they are only really applicable to certain types of account. If you run a general photography account or a business trying to sell products, it’s probably not the right option for you. If however, you have certain types of desirable content, it’s could be a useful strategy for you to use.
- It can help you get more followers.If you offer information (such as that on my @kistogram page) people will want access to your information. If it is on public view, they can see it without having to follow you. By making the account private, you secure that content to only those who commit to follow you. Therefore, if people really want what you have to offer, they will follow you. This is why it has been such a successful strategy for the meme accounts – which work on people sharing their memes.
- Secure your content .By making your account private, people will not have such free access to the content you are sharing and in that respect your content is a bit more protected.
- Retaining your followers.You’re more likely to keep the followers you have if the account is private because if someone unfollows, they would need to send a follow request to you again if they changed their mind. This acts as a deterrent for people unfollowing.
Private Instagram account experiment results.
On 21st July I decided I would experiment with making my @kistogram account private to see if it made any difference to my account growth. Prior to switching to private, this account averaged about 30 new followers a month (or around 1 a day). At the time of switching to private I had 953 followers.
After two weeks the account had grown to 1066 followers
After six weeks the account now stands at 1112 followers. A growth of 156 followers.
That means I’ve gained an average of around 105 followers a month or 3.78 a day. Three times the previous growth. Obviously the account hasn’t sky rocketed but switching to private is the only strategy I have changed and used.
I didn’t carry out any other growth strategies during this time – so I wasn’t being particularly active from that account in the same way I would be for my @kistography. As the account is private, hashtags aren’t effective in growth either. The only strategy I used was to announce new posts on my @kistography account stories.
I’m still deciding whether I will continue to keep this account private or whether I will switch it back to public.