Instagram and Facebook are two wildly popular platforms that most businesses can benefit from in both an earned and paid capacity. While it’s generally recommended to have a presence on both Instagram and Facebook, depending on your industry, demographics, resources, and goals, it may be beneficial to focus your energy (and potentially your money) on one platform over the other—or at least approach them differently.
Facebook vs. Instagram: The Basics
With 2 billion monthly active users, you can pretty much guarantee your target customer is on Facebook. Facebook is great for:
- Sharing links and directing people right to your website or online store
- Reaching the older crowd. 65% of adults ages 50-65 use Facebook
- Text-first content
- Creating different types of ads
With its visual nature, Instagram is a go-to for beauty, fashion, and design content. Here’s where Instagram shines:
- Displaying visual content
- Reaching the younger crowd. 71% of 18-24-year-olds use Instagram
- More opportunity for free or almost-free exposure, such as Influencer Marketing
- Engagement. Customers are more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram than any other platform
When should I use Facebook?
Facebook’s mission statement “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” shows their brand is going to focus on community building, and studies have shown that their algorithm supports that statement. Posts from friends and family are prioritized over branded posts—this also supports Facebook’s business goals by charging brands for user views.
When it comes to paid ads, Facebook and Instagram work fairly similarly since they’re both operated by Facebook Ads. One difference is that there are many more types of ads and ad placements you can create for Facebook placement than Instagram, and as a result, more available ad objectives. For example, with Facebook you can create a Page Ad, encouraging users to like your Facebook Page.
Facebook also has the ability to reach users viewing the site on a desktop, whereas Instagram only has mobile ads. If you’re trying to direct customers to a text-heavy website, for example, it might be helpful to target users on a desktop.
When should I use Instagram?
Instagram users are more likely to be looking for new products, trends, and recommendations. As long as your content is entertaining or helpful, users will happily follow brands and influencer accounts filled with brand partnerships. In general, branded content is seen as regular content, and users engage, whereas on Facebook, ads are seen as ads, and often avoided or hidden.
With the “Discover” section and the ability to follow hashtags, Instagram encourages users to find new content and accounts to follow, making it easier for brands to get free exposure. In short, if you want to create content for social media without paying for it to be seen, you can. Following brands is more commonplace on Instagram. For example, lots of people follow Pop-Tarts on Instagram for their fun content.
All in all, having a presence on both Facebook and Instagram is worthwhile for most businesses—and the two platforms can really work together to help brands grow. Before diving in, however, it’s helpful to consider your demographics, industry, budget, and goals to create a plan that will maximize your efforts.