Open Story Book or Hidden Treasure Chest? The Instagram Story

So first and foremost, which one are you? Is your Instagram open up for the world to see and Double Tap, or are there security measures in place rivaling Fort Knox?

It starts with personality. When you first create an Instagram account, a large influence in determining whether to keep your profile open or locked is who you are as a person. If your innate self is a discrete individual, chances are that you’ll swipe right to privatize your account regardless of the type of content you will post.

Type of content. There are perfectly valid reasons to privatize your account even if you’re a social butterfly who loves to share on social media. Here are several reasons:

  • You simply want to know who is viewing your content
  • You don’t want people stealing your content (I have personally had pictures taken from my account via screenshot or third-party repost app, and seen other user’s post it as own. Weird.)
  • You don’t want select family members judging your shenanigans on Instagram
  • You don’t want a potential or current employer finding out about your wild stunts
  • Ladies (and perhaps even the fellas), you don’t want the Toronto mans double tapping every picture, and sliding into the DM’s. You’re simply tired of being addressed as a “sweet ting” or a “baddie”, with the conversation getting progressively worse from there. Not familiar with the “Toronto mans” term yet? These 30 tweets describe the new breed perfectly…

Aforementioned are a short list of valid reasons one may choose to privatize their account, there are more based on personal preferences.

Let’s switch over to reasons why we should allow open access to our Instagram account:

  • Increase engagement. If you’re one to use hashtags, then it’s a good idea keeping your account open. Hashtags help you find content posted by other users who also keep their account open, and vice versa others can find you. Being a car enthusiast, I have used “#S60R” for the last 4 years to connect with other car enthusiasts on Instagram who own/owned the same car. As such, I have made many friends over the years, some whom I have met in person around North America at car-related events.
  • Business accounts. Would it make sense to privatize an Instagram business account, when the main objective of a business is to promote itself throw showcasing value that it will provide to followers? No it’s not. Fortunately, almost all businesses understand that, and don’t expect you to follow first before being able to view their products and services.
  • Combining the last two points, there are those who turn to Instagram as a personal branding tool. You might not be selling a product or service, but you are building your portfolio as a credible information source or a valuable person to follow. Let me explain. Through “#S60R” on Instagram, and use of various social media and online car enthusiast forums, I was able to build a reputation for myself as a friendly knowledgeable owner of a Volvo S60 R. A company that manufactures and sells parts for said car among other vehicles approached me to help them grow their business through social media after they saw that I am a trusted contributor for Volvo content and use social media effectively. I agreed on this partnership, and for the last three years I have been creating and managing the social media profiles of EuroSport Tuning, an aftermarket performance parts supplier for European vehicles. Three years of social media management and additional roles have allowed me to gain tremendous experience within the automotive industry, in which I am looking to pursue a career in post-graduation. The use of Instagram has been a vital component of growing my self brand. Ps. Not to toot my own horn, but the current Top Post out of 20,000+ posts for #S60R is a video of me driving my car that I posted on EuroSport Tuning’s Instagram.

There you have it, my opinions on why or why not you should have an Open or Privatized Instagram account. I personally have an Open Instagram account due to the fact I use it as a personal branding tool. I do mix it up frequently with posts about about family, friends, events, school, traveling, and other hobbies, as I feel comfortable with sharing those details out in the open for the world to see. What I don’t feel comfortable with, I don’t place it on social media, period. Mashable has a good read on whether to open or privatize your Instagram account.

Remember, privatizing your account on Instagram or any social media platform isn’t the end all be all answer which will help you keep things to selected eyes. You have very little control of who sees what once you post on social media. Terms of Agreement on any social media platform indicate that your content will also be owned by the platform for marketing and research purposes. Furthermore, your picture or video is a screenshot away from being public even in the hands of those you trust to view your profile.

Act Smart :)