At the end of 2016, Instagram reached 600 million monthly active users, growing at a faster rate than ever before, while in the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook enjoyed 1.86 billion monthly active users (statista.com). But choosing which platform works best for you is far more than just a numbers game!
Most of you will probably be well aware that Facebook owns Instagram and that both platforms can be used to connect with people far and wide, from clients to celebrities and other brands.
But that certainly doesn’t mean that they are one and the same. Far from it, each have their unique strengths and weakness from a marketing point of view and there are valid reasons to use each one of them, albeit in a slightly different fashion. Action Digital outlines some of the most important points that you need to keep in mind!
1. Instagram for creative industries
It’s clear that Facebook has a huge audience and offers your brand huge amounts of exposure. Just about anything and everything goes – whether you want to share an article from your company’s website, feel like rousing attention with insights into new industry research, or just want to share a behind the scenes video from your company’s premises.
Chances are that your target clients and future prospects spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, so it’s certainly not a channel that can be overlooked. BUT (and this is a big but), Instagram draws in a massive audience interested in creative imagery; that means few words and mass visual appeal. People turn to Instagram for real inspiration and if you’re in a creative industry and your brand has a big visual appeal – whether that’s beauty, food, design, fashion, art or travel – then your target audience is likely to spend far more time browsing Instagram than Facebook.
2. Facebook for distributing info
All that being said, if you need to share more wordy content and analysis, Facebook is absolutely key. If you wish to share blog posts and any information related to your business, Facebook is the way to go. Even if you want to share a photo that then links back to a blog post or article, Facebook is key because Instagram has huge limitations when it comes to linking. Instagram allows you to share a link in your bio, but that’s about it. You can’t share clickable links to your blog/website with a photo (unless your post is sponsored and you want to link it back to a specific landing page through a call to action button.) Facebook, on the other hand, gives you great freedom to share unlimited links, so it really is King for sharing written content!
3. Instagram to reach a younger audience
Are you offering a service or product geared towards a cool younger crowd? Then Instagram needs to become your new best friend. The best platform to engage a younger customer base, 2016 statistics show that Instagram use is especially high among young adults, with approximately 6 in 10 online adults aged 18-29 (59%) active on Instagram (http://www.pewinternet.org).
4. Facebook for higher overall visibility
If you want the highest overall reach possible – we’re talking across all ages, backgrounds and interests without specifically honing in on the creative field or younger crowd – then Facebook should be at the top of your list. Hardly surprising, with over 1.8 billion monthly active users!
5. Instagram for greater engagement
Now this is where things start to get really interesting – brands may have a massive audience on Facebook, but the engagement rate is actually higher on Instagram, with brands that use the photo and video sharing app alongside Facebook really seeing the difference. When average likes for two posts are compared across both networks, Instagram often wins. So what’s special about Instagram? People really love pictures, and they love to like (or heart) photos! More than that, Instagram is about discovering new brands and people, while Facebook is more about online interaction with the people/brands you are already connected to.
We’re not saying that advertising on Instagram won’t prove fruitful (especially if you’re targeting A younger crowd) but when you look at things spherically, Facebook tends to be regarded as the best social media network for promoting your business with paid or boosted content. What really gives it the upper hand are the wide variety of options you can use to reach your target audience successfully. And let’s not forget that although we do live in a mobile generation, Facebook allows for ads to show up in the desktop news-feed while Instagram only allows them to show via the Android or iOS app. So again, if you’re targeting a slightly older crowd, or office workers who often browse Facebook on their computer, Facebook ads are likely to have a greater reach.
While both Facebook and Instagram clearly have their unique strengths and weakness when it comes to marketing your brand/business, there is no reason why not to use both, maintaining followers on each platform while using a slightly different tone of voice for each.
Facebook and Instagram offer different experiences but they do complement each other! Share your blog posts, content and analysis on Facebook, while you can get really creative on Instagram by attracting followers with catchy photos and visuals that show off your brand or service in the best possible light. Be even more active on Instagram if you’re targeting a cool, creative, hip young crowd, but don’t forget that Facebook is better for overall visibility and getting that paid content to really resonate far and wide!