Instagram vs Facebook – Which Is Best For Your Business?


When Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012, the latter wasn’t setting the world alight with its performance. In the two years since it started, it had gathered 30 million users. That might sound quite impressive, but consider this: A few short months after Facebook bought it – for a staggering $1 billion – Instagram’s monthly users had almost trebled to 80 million. This figure reached 150 million just over a year later. Today, the app boasts in excess of 800 million active monthly users, with some experts saying it will overtake Facebook in terms of user numbers as early as the end of 2020.


But here’s the question:


Why – at the time - was Facebook so interested in such a comparative social media minnow? The answer, it turns out, was simple: It wanted to have a strong foothold in the world of mobile. Instagram gave them this – and more.


So, if Facebook owns Instagram, is it okay for your business to have a presence on just one of the two platforms? Or are there advantages to leveraging both?


These questions can only be answered by delving a little deeper into what makes each of these undeniably influential media platforms so powerful.


Instagram Or Facebook – Breaking It All Down

The two main criteria when choosing the right platforms for any social media campaign have to be reach and engagement:


Instagram Reach

With 800 million active monthly users, Instagram reaches a lot of wallets. Generally speaking, it has a stronger organic reach than Facebook, and is continually trying to consolidate this advantage with the introduction of new features. The popular “Suggestions for You” section, which shows posts your friends have liked, and being able to follow hashtags, are two examples of this.


The introduction of Instagram Business Profiles in 2016 was a huge leap forward for the platform. Latest figures show over 25 million businesses now have Instagram profiles.


In terms of demographics, studies show Instagram has more female than male users, and more women than men are active daily.  Research also shows that Instagram enjoys massive popularity among young people aged between 18 and 29. In fact, over half of all Internet users in this age group use Instagram.


Facebook Reach

As one of the oldest social media channels, Facebook may have something of a “grandpa” image about it, but there’s no arguing with this impressive figure: It has over two billion active monthly users, making it the king of social media platforms when it comes to reach. Facebook is also highly targetable – meaning you can refine that reach to laser focus directly on those people who fall within your ideal target market. You can group your audiences according to their age, gender, location, language and behaviours.


Demographically, Facebook is popular with adult users of all age groups, As with Instagram, it has more female users than male – 77 percent compared to 66 percent. What may come as a surprise to those who see Facebook as “Senior Citizens Social Media” is that Facebook has more users in the 18 to 29 age group than in any other. However, it truly does appeal to everyone, as 79 percent of all Internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use the platform.


Instagram Engagement

An impressive 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business on the app. Of those, 60 percent say they heard about a product or service via the platform. According to Instagram itself, as of March 2017, over 120 million of its users had had some form of contact – email, phone call, website visit or phone call – as a direct result of that business’ presence on Instagram.


It is, however, important to note this sobering statistic:


Although Instagram boasts the highest engagement of all the social media networks, 70 percent of Instagram posts don’t get seen. The platform has a huge problem with content saturation and overload – over 95 million photos are shared every single day, making it difficult for potential customers to find you. The secret to overcoming this problem is creating kick-ass posts! Tell unique brand stories and be different to other businesses fighting for the same space. You can also tag locations in your content, so that when people search for those places, they will find your post.


Facebook Engagement

On average, Facebook posts have a 3.91% engagement rate, while its video posts have an average engagement rate of six percent. Video enjoys the highest engagement, trumping photos at 4.81% and status posts at just 2.21%.


Facebook’s algorithms prioritise comments and shares over likes and reactions, although, all are considered “good.” Remember that engagement is a great way to boost reach, and the more engagement a post has, the cheaper it is to promote.


Here are a few more fascinating Facebook engagement stats from Mari Smith:


• Posts published between 10 – 11 PM EST get 88% more interactions than the average Facebook post.

• Image posts get 179% more interactions than the average Facebook post.

• Posts ending with a question get 162% more interactions than the average post.

• Videos are the most shared post type, with an average of 89.5 Facebook shares.

• Posts published on Sunday get 52.9% more interactions than the average Facebook post.

• Excluding images, posts with 150-200 characters performed the best, averaging 238.75 shares.

• Posting with a 3rd party tool results in 89.5% less engagement than directly posting to Facebook.

• Posts that link to long form content (2000+ words) receive 40% more interactions than those linking to short form content.


So, Should Your Business Use Both Facebook And Instagram?

If we were Forest Gump, we’d have to say that Facebook and Instagram go together like peas and carrots! But, although those two vegetables undoubtedly taste good together, they are nevertheless very different, and they each bring something different to the table.


Facebook has the numbers, but Instagram wins on engagement. Instagram is highly visual, but Facebook offers more scope for more detailed, interesting posts. At the end of the day, it’s difficult, if not impossible to choose between them. So why choose at all? Just use both! To make connections and engage with your audience, use Instagram. For more professional content, use Facebook. You can also link your two accounts, so that any posts to Instagram also post on Facebook, and vice versa.


At the end of the day, if your budget extends to using both platforms, do so. If not, pick your platform based on your consumer demographics and what you want achieve.





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