With social media marketing turning into a big thing, the debate of Facebook v/s Instagram has reached a new high point. The interaction of users is different on both the platforms, with the “connecting and networking” of Facebook being very different from sharing the “best moments” ideology of Instagram.
The main thing is that they each have their own pros and cons which leaves advertisers unsure of which platform to use. What most of them don’t understand is that the real question is not choosing one platform but rather how to maximize each platform for business.
First thing is first, Facebook’s existence is much older than Instagram’s with the latter being launched only in 2010, 6 years after Facebook. Mark Zuckerburg bought Instagram for one billion dollars but only after waiting for 2 years to analyze the growth of the app. Now even though Facebook and Instagram are one, they operate as different channels with widely different purposes. A social media marketer needs to keep this in mind before deciding on a strategy to use these platforms for growing their business.
Facebook V/S Instagram- The War Begins
There is no doubt that the Facebook family is much bigger and the number of users of the platform are as a big advantage but let’s not forget that Instagram is getting better every day and gaining more reach.
- Over 2.5 billion monthly users
- 1.73 billion of these monthly users visit Facebook on a daily basis
- Facebook reaches 60% of internet users
- 80 million small business use Facebook Pages
- Over 1 billion monthly users
- 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day
- More than 63% users log into Instagram at least once a day
- Potential advertising reach of Instagram is 849.3 million users
Facebook’s numbers may look good on the outside but Instagram’s stats are very impressive and in terms of brand engagement, they are way ahead. But stats alone cannot influence your choice of platform for growing your business.
Facebook and Instagram are very different platforms and work differently for their audiences. So before deciding on your approach for each platform, it is crucial to understand their algorithms.
Facebook wants business users to understand its algorithm better and constantly works in that direction. As per Facebook’s algorithm, posts are ranked in the order that a user enjoys them and is based on different ranking signals. There are 3 major categories of ranking signals:
• Who the user is interacting with
• What type of media (video, photo) is in the post they’re engaging with
• How popular the post is
These ranking signals act as data points about user’s behavior and also the behavior of everyone else on the platform.
A lot of businesses find it tough to appear on the News Feed organically and that is the main reason one should structure the content of the post in a way that gets the attention of the followers. It is a great idea to post at different times and then track the engagement on posts to find out the time slots when your audience is active. Posting regularly and incorporating videos in those posts will enable you to rank better in News Feed.
Instagram’s algorithm is different from that of Facebook’s and revolves around 3 ranking signals:
• Relationship: Since Instagram wants its users to engage with the app, it values the user’s relationship with the posts. The posts that the user interacts with the most are bumped up on the feed for a better experience.
• Interests: Instagram’s algorithm shows posts to a user based on their interests which are determined by the type of posts the user has interacted with in the past. For example, if a user has previously liked posts about wall décor, Instagram will show them more posts like that.
• Timeliness: The posts that are more recent are showed at the top of the News Feed. Thus, it is important to post at a time when your audience is online and more likely to see your posts.
Whether it is Facebook or Instagram, the algorithms make it clear that engagement is the key for business growth on social media. Also it is important to understand that organic reach will be less when just starting out so as a business, you may have to pay to reach your target audience. Understand that businesses often have to resort to the “paying to play” method to find their feet in the world of social media.
While developing a social media strategy, an important aspect to keep in mind is the demographic data. For any marketer, user demographic statistics for social networks is a crucial piece of information.
Social networks are forever changing so as a marketer it is beneficial to revisit strategies and change decisions after analyzing on new statistics.
Even though Facebook is the biggest social media platform, it may not be the best for every audience. Age is a crucial factor on Facebook and marketers need to be aware of that. It is interesting to note that half of all pensionable adults in the UK are on Facebook and people in the age group 24-35 are the top demographic. This suggests that Facebook is no longer only for young crowd, in fact, if a service/product is targeted for a younger audience, Facebook might not be the best platform for it.
In contrast to Facebook, the demographic of Instagram shows that younger audience is more active on the platform. Majority of users are under the age of 30 which emphasizes the younger generation’s inclination towards the newest trends. For targeting a younger audience, Instagram is the best choice.
Having an older audience can be advantageous depending on the kind of business services you are offering. Plus the older crowd has more disposable income which is always a marketer’s interest.
The long and short of this is that the two platforms have different interactions with the audience. On the one hand where Facebook is all about sharing content with people you know, Instagram is more about discovery which is why it has a higher engagement rate.
Instagram has an edge over Facebook in one metric and that is engagement. Almost 40% Facebook users don’t engage with companies as they prefer the intimacy element of the platform. As per a study, the average engagement rate that brands see on Facebook is 0.09% while it is 1.22% for Instagram.
One of the best things about using Instagram for business is that the platform hosts the most engaging users. About 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram in a day with the average daily likes being 4.2 billion.
These numbers alone don’t decide you’ll get more engagement on one platform than the other. While Instagram is all about the visuals, Facebook is text centric and as a marketer you need to analyze how your target audience interacts with the two platforms. At the end of the day, specific content type and audience demographics are major key factors to keep in mind while publishing content on both platforms.
Which Platform Works Best For Your Business?
One of the top mistakes that a business can make is thinking Instagram and Facebook can be treated the same way. It is important to understand that the content that is performing well on Instagram may not always get the same results on Facebook. Testing different content types to narrow down the results of each platform can help.
The next question is what type of content you will create and the answer lies in the industry you are in, the brand and also the target audience. Contents like testimonials, e-books and blog posts work better on Facebook while videos, photos and live streams perform better on Instagram.
While formulating a social media strategy for your business, find a happy medium between the content you want to publish and what you audience wants. As a marketer, you don’t need to focus on one platform and disregard the other. The real win is to find a way to use both platforms in a way that you connect with your target audience and grow your business.