Ask anyone to name a social media platform, and the chances are their first thought will be, “Facebook”. That’s no wonder; it’s the brand leader, the “head honcho”, the top social media platform for the total number of active users. Facebook has redefined the way we use social media, particularly for business.
But, what about Instagram? Founded in 2010, it’s still regarded by some as the “new kid on the block”, but with 2 billion monthly active users, it is the fastest growing social media platform of them all and, arguably the most powerful.
So which is the “better” platform for small business, Facebook or Instagram? Despite the fact that they both come from the same stable, they have distinct differences. Here, we’ll look at some of the major differences, to help you decide whether Facebook or Instagram is the answer for your small business marketing.
Instagram For Business
Instagram is, largely, a mobile-based platform. Desktop functionality of the platform has increased over the last few years, but it remains largely made for mobiles. However, according to a 2016 report by Dun and Bradstreet, nearly 80% of social media time is now spent on mobile devices. With large-screen phones and tablets a part of everyday lifestyle for most, Instagram offers a much better user-experience than Facebook.
The average age of Instagram users is expanding, with 59% of users aged between 18 and 29 and 33% between 30-49 years of age. 80% of users say they follow at least one business account, meaning that, where your business is concerned, there is great opportunity to connect to your customer base and to get noticed.
Instagram is, of course, a very visual platform. It is vital for a brand’s success, therefore that images and videos are good quality, compelling viewers to like and comment . That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to be a professional photographer to be able to thrive on Instagram. A smartphone has more than enough capability to capture images that will grab engagement. Often, it is the “human” or real-life images that gain the most traction, helping you to build the “know, like and trust” of any successful buyer/seller relationship.
Facebook For Business
It’s a simple fact that everyone is on Facebook; there is very little difference in the various demographics of users, meaning that your target audience are out there somewhere. Facebook is a great platform for curated, as opposed to original, content, with the key to success being a variety of content, original and shared posted consistently. Facebook is great for posting long-form content, like company news. As Facebook is text-based, your audience are more likely to read the entire update.
One advantage that Facebook has over Instagram is the ability to include individual links and calls to action in your posts. This allows you to drive traffic to a specific page on your website or other platform. With Instagram, only one link is allowed in your bio, with links in post content not clickable. However, a possible work-around to this are third party apps, like Linktr.ee which can be added to an Instagram profile, allowing you to add multiple links to your bio.
Whilst Facebook was the first platform to integrate e-commerce, if you’ve ever tried to set up a shop on Facebook, you’ll have found that it can be quite cumbersome. Instagram on the other hand, has learned from Facebook’s mistakes and mastered the art of selling online. What’s more, something like 60% of users are reported to seek out and discover new products on Instagram; That’s something like 600 million people!
Facebook or Instagram for Brands?
Facebook’s algorithm has been under constant change in the past couple of years, making it increasingly difficult for brands to gain organic reach. Although Instagram is also subject to algorithm change, these changes tend to be less hard-hitting, meaning reaching your target audience is a heck of a lot easier! Thanks to its emphasis on hashtags, Instagram makes it much easier to find relevant content, too.
Summary – Facebook or Instagram – You Decide
Statistics aside, the main difference between these two platforms relate to the type of posts and your goals in using each. Facebook is a great way of keeping your audience informed of company news and events, whereas Instagram is more about creating that emotional connection – think min-blogging site and you won’t go far wrong.
It’s important to recognise that neither Facebook nor Instagram are a replacement for the other. You need to identify your audience, and where they typically spend their time on social media. Don’t just concentrate on where they are as a business, but also consider where they go in their down time; that time spent scrolling in the evening or on the commute to work. It’s also important to consider the type of posts that appeal to your audience – Do they prefer video or images more?
In the end, it isn’t about which platform is better, the question is which platform works best for your business, helps you reach your existing audience but get you in front of your target audience, too.
Which platform works best for your business? Facebook or Instagram? Let me know in the comments below.