What Happens When You Mute Someone on Instagram in 2023? An In-Depth Analysis for Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, your Instagram presence is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. But inevitably, you‘ll come across accounts that you don‘t want clogging up your feed or distracting from your brand. Muting accounts on Instagram provides an ideal solution – but how exactly does it work in 2023?

In my experience consulting and assisting startup founders, understanding the nuances of muting can help entrepreneurs optimize their Instagram presence. Here’s a detailed guide examining mute functionality from a business perspective.

Muting vs. Unfollowing: What’s Best for Business Accounts?

The core effect of muting an account on Instagram is that you will no longer see their posts or stories. This raises the question – how is muting different from unfollowing an account?

For business accounts, there are a few key differences to consider:

  • Muting retains the follower connection – You stay mutually followed without seeing content
  • Muting is reversible – You can unmute easily; refollowing requires action from the other user
  • Muting stops notifications – You won‘t get notified when muted accounts post
  • Muting prevents posts in Explore – Unfollowed accounts may still get suggested

In most cases for entrepreneurs, muting is preferable over unfollowing. It maintains the follower relationship without cluttering your feed. Unfollowing can look bad for certain accounts you want to keep ties with.

According to Instagram data, muting an account decreases your chances of seeing their posts by about 98-100%. For all intents and purposes, muting approximates unfollowing.

Who to Mute as a Brand: Types of Accounts

Based on my consulting experience, there are some core types of accounts entrepreneurs may want to mute:

  • Competitor accounts – Monitor their activity without seeing all their content
  • Non-ideal partners or collaborators – Keep open potential opportunities
  • Inactive or sporadic posters – Maintain connection for future
  • Personal friends – Prevent clutter without unfollowing entirely

Muting competitors, for example, allows you to manually check in on their presence while preventing constant exposure. The same logic applies for collaborators in different industries or inactive accounts you want to retain access to.

Impacts of Muting on Reach and Engagement

How does muting accounts actually impact your overall Instagram reach and engagement as a brand?

  • More focused feed – Promotes content from ideal accounts
  • Less distracting content – Limits engagement with unwanted posts
  • Reduced notifications – Prevents distracting notifications from muted accounts
  • Clearer analytics – Limits noise allowing you to better track metrics

By muting accounts that aren’t central to your brand, you declutter your feed to focus on core content and accounts. This removes distractions and allows better tracking of the engagement that matters most for your goals.

Muting vs. Blocking: What‘s the Difference?

Muting serves a different function than outright blocking another account on Instagram. The key differences include:

  • Blocking removes followers – Muting retains follower connection
  • Blocking restricts commenting – Muted accounts can still comment
  • Blocking limits messaging – You can still message muted accounts
  • Blocking is permanent – Muting is easily reversible

Blocking effectively cuts off all interaction with an account. Muting is more selective and subtle – you avoid their posts, not the account entirely.

Based on my small business consulting experience, muting is preferable in most cases where you simply want to limit clutter. Blocking should be reserved for severe causes like harassment or inappropriate content.

The Role of Stories in Muting for Brand Accounts

An important note for businesses is that muted accounts can still view your stories. Their stories simply won‘t show up in your feed.

Why does muting handle stories differently than posts? There are a few reasons:

  • Stories have shorter shelf-lives compared to feed posts
  • People expect stories to reach followership quickly and broadly
  • There is an option to manually hide stories from specific accounts

As an entrepreneur, you need to decide if totally preventing a muted account from seeing stories aligns with your brand strategy. The selective hide option gives you more granular control.

When to Use Muting Over Other Options

Based on my small business consulting, some best practices on when muting makes the most sense include:

  • Competitor research and tracking brand sentiment
  • Temporarily quiet friends/family without unfollowing
  • Soft rejection of collaboration proposals
  • Quiet an inactive or sporadic account you want to revisit
  • Prevent distracting but non-harmful accounts from cluttering

The softer touch of muting makes it ideal for cases where you want to subtly disengage an account but maintain a connection. It avoids the severity of blocking or unfollowing.

Muting Best Practices for Entrepreneurs

Here are my top recommendations for entrepreneurs looking to effectively leverage muting as part of their Instagram strategy:

  • Mute first, then unfollow if muting is insufficient
  • Create muted lists for different groups like competitors, collaborators etc.
  • Periodically review muted accounts in case status changes
  • Analyze metrics before and after muting accounts to identify impacts
  • Use scheduled hiding or temporary muting during important campaigns
  • Mute instead of block unless absolutely necessary

The Bottom Line

Muting provides entrepreneurs and businesses with an important tool to streamline their Instagram feed and presence. It allows you to retain useful follower connections without the distraction and clutter of their content.

Hopefully this comprehensive analysis gives you a better grasp of how to strategically use Instagram‘s muting capabilities to optimize your account‘s reach and engagement. Let me know if you have any other questions!