What if we told you that having a private Instagram can actually help you grow your following?
You'd probably think we're out of our minds, right?
But to the surprise of many, private Instagram accounts do actually help some Instagram accounts grow their followings faster than if their accounts were set to public.
In fact, we've seen an uptick in the number of private accounts with large followings over the past year.
So in the post below, we'll take a look at why having a private Instagram account may be good for some Instagrammers. And to round things out, we'll also touch on what accounts should and shouldn't be set to private.
Sound good? Let's hop in!
Why keeping your Instagram account private could help growth
Let's start with the good stuff: reasons why setting your Instagram account private could boost its follower count or otherwise benefit said account. Here's our short (but sweet) list:
Creates a sense of exclusivity
When an Instagram account is private, it's content feels more exclusive. People may be intrigued when they see an Instagram account with a huge following
People need to follow you to see your content (think private shares)
The main reason Instagram accounts go private is that their content is frequently shared via private message. And when an account is private, people must follow them to see the content when it's shared with them—even over a private message.
The most popular example of this is memes. So if a friend shares a private account's meme with you alongside a bunch of 😂emojis, chances are you'll follow the private account so you can laugh along with them.
Your followers will stick around
Another reason why an account on Instagram may go private is that it helps keep their followers from hitting the unfollow button. When you unfollow a private account, there's no guarantee you'll be able to follow it again.
Additionally, there's a pop-up window that asks the unfollowing user if they really want to unfollow. This makes the user think twice (and go through one extra step) before unfollowing.
Content is less likely to be reported
Some people use private accounts to shield themselves when posting raunchy or otherwise terms of service defying content. Since the content isn't publicly accessible, it's less likely to be reported to Instagram.
These types of accounts benefit from being private
So as you can see, there is a number of good reasons to keep your account private.
But let's be real: those are pretty niche reasons. Chances are most accounts don't need to worry about follower retention or having images and videos getting taken down. On top of that, most Instagram accounts get very few private shares.
With that in mind, what accounts should be private? Here's a quick list:
Yeah, you probably saw this one coming.
Last summer, Instagram saw tons of huge meme accounts go private. Some of these accounts have follower accounts in the millions and have not seen their growth slow at all since moving to private—in fact, they've seen their follower counts skyrocket.
Meme accounts often embrace private accounts for two reasons: private shares and raunchy content. Like discussed earlier, this boosts their follower count as Instagram users must follow their content when it's been shared
And frankly, meme accounts are also known for posting raunchy and offensive content. Being private gives these accounts more freedom to post this content (though we don't recommend breaking the rules) without repercussion.
Brands that are truly exclusive
Some super exclusive brands may also try and experiment with private accounts.
Like discussed earlier, being private adds a lair of secrecy to their posts, and give their followers a sense of exclusivity when they accept their follower requests.
But in order for this to work, the super exclusive brand must already be well-known and have a sizeable follower count. Otherwise, its just another private Instagram account that people are likely to brush off—so tread lightly.
But most people can't (and shouldn't) pull off a private account
Most brands and influencers shouldn't have a private Instagram account.
Nearly all rands and influencers need a public-facing Instagram account to show off their products and build a brand. And unless you're getting a ton of private message shares, chances are your growth will stagnate compared to a public account.
One of the main reasons for this is— when you set your account to private—your content is removed from the Explore page.
This means near-impossible for someone to find your Instagram content organically. This is an especially big concern for influencers and businesses that post eye-catching content that performs well on Explore.
So unless you run a super exclusive brand or popular meme page, you're still best off with a public account.
But don't fret, there are other growth hacks you can use to grow your Instagram account in 2019. Take a look at some of our favorites in our growth hacks roundup!
In this article, you learned why some Instagram accounts perform better with private accounts. Additionally, we discussed what types of Instagram accounts should and shouldn't be private.
But now we want to hear from you.
What are your thoughts on private Instagram accounts? Do you think they help Instagram accounts grow, or is it just a fad for meme accounts? Sound off in the comments below!