Instagram wants more businesses to engage with its platform. The social network is testing in-app profile pages for local businesses.
Similar to Google's local knowledge panels, these profiles show a company's address, hours, phone number, URL, price range and type of business. Business owners can "claim" a profile page, and if you manage a Facebook account for that same business, you can then edit any inaccuracies.
The rollout isn't official yet, and no schedule to do so has been announced. But there are reports from SearchEngineJournal that some users are seeing an update to their business pages. Stay tuned for more details as they are announced.
Editor's note: Looking for information on social media management services for your business? Use the questionnaire below and get quickly connected to our vendor partners to learn more about a customized strategy and pricing for your business:
Google My Business offers additional features that it's not clear yet if Instagram will replicate. For instance, on a Google business profile, you can view images others have added about your business and add your own. The Google Bookings feature lets prospective clients book appointments directly from the profile. Google offers an analytics dashboard to see whom you're reaching. And you can create posts to promote sales or other special events.
Perhaps the most important feature is the ability for business owners to respond to user reviews. That seems an unlikely feature to make it onto the Instagram platform, but the platform does support direct messages, so we'll have to wait and see.
Instagram launched in October of 2010. It was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, and by that time, it had attracted 30 million users. The platform introduced advertising on the network in 2015, and there are now 2 million monthly advertisers. There are currently more than 1 billion monthly active users, 121 million of which are in the United States. More than 60 percent of those log in daily, making it second in social networking engagement, just behind its parent brand Facebook.
The most followed brand on the network is National Geographic, but there are 25 million brands on Instagram. Engagement on the social network is 10 times higher than on Facebook, so it will be interesting to see the effect business profile pages might have.