Facebook vs Instagram: How to pick your platform

by: Amy Blasco

Ask anyone you know which social media platforms they use and they’ll most likely say Facebook or Instagram. The original “social network” and its younger, cooler sibling have topped the list of most popular social media sites for the last several years, netting approximately 2.38 and 1 billion monthly active users, respectively.

While both of these platforms are lead by Mark Zuckerberg and co., it’s important to note that they each have individual rules and offer unique tools for reaching distinctly different audiences.

Facebook Business offered a fantastic, wine-centric analogy for the differences between the platforms in a 2016 article called Facebook and Instagram: A Tale of Two Feeds:

“The relationship between Facebook and Instagram makes me think of white and red wine. People love both kinds of wine, but there are times they choose one over the other, such as when eating seafood versus steak. In the same way, people use both Facebook and Instagram, but each fulfills their needs to a different extent.”

The following blog will highlight market research and Verdin’s suggestions on when to use Facebook or Instagram—or both—to successfully market your business, product or services.

Are you in the mood for red or white?

Facebook IQ, the company’s official insights and research unit, reports that people spend a lot of time on both Facebook and Instagram, but for different reasons. As its nickname suggests (“the social network,” popularized by the 2010 movie of the same name), Facebook is used for exactly that: networking and staying connected with family and friends. Instagram, on the other hand, is used for finding inspiration, following celebrities and influencers, and being transported to new places.

Again, the wine analogy comes in nicely here as a mnemonic device: Think of Facebook as the red wine (a complex blend that you’d drink at a family dinner) and Instagram as the white wine (a light, fruity Sauvignon Blanc you’d sip on a tropical beach).

But how do social media users choose between the two? Facebook IQ found people tend to opt for the red wine, Facebook, to reach out to friends and family or to sound off about big cultural events with opinionated posts and reactions. People choose the white wine, Instagram, to share personal photos that document the surprise and delight of discovering new things.

Best marketing practices for both platforms

When it comes to marketing via social media, choosing which platform(s) to use all comes down to your message and who you’re trying to reach. Facebook tends to skew older, serving mostly Elder Millennials (people born in the early 1980s) and older. Instagram is more popular among younger generations, especially Millennials and Gen Z (those born in the mid ’80s and beyond). However, these are just ballpark estimates that can vary from person to person.

Another, perhaps better, way to determine which platform to use is to consider your brand, allocated resources, and goals.

Are you selling something related to travel, fashion, or beauty that photographs well? Then go with Instagram—it’s a growing platform for e-commerce and becoming the new website for many consumers, especially younger demographics. Because of this new trend, it’s important to make sure your feed covers all the main points that a website would.

Are you raising money for a nonprofit? “Facebook Causes” is a powerful word-of-mouth fundraising tool that people can share with friends and family. And don’t forget: It’s a good idea to reap the benefits of both platforms, just make sure to plan and post content that plays to each of their strengths.

Regardless of which platform you use, it’s crucial to create dynamic, engaging content and to develop interactive relationships with your followers. An effective way to do this is to encourage your followers to share user-generated content with hashtags or check-ins. A good example of this is the Dove #ShowUs project. Earlier this year, the skin-care giant asked women across the globe to help them create a photo library that would “shatter beauty stereotypes” in media and advertising. Dove followers posted thousands of images of themselves to be used as stock images by a vast range of beauty media.

This concept can, of course, be used on a smaller scale for businesses and organizations on the Central Coast. For example, Verdin clients Visit Atascadero and Visit Arroyo Grande consistently call on followers to tag reshareable photos and videos to be used on their social media platforms and in other contexts.

Here are some key things to remember when creating social media content:

1.Be original. Put your brand’s unique spin on more general topics by sharing personal stories in bite-size portions.

2.Have a call to action. Pretty pictures and videos are great to look at, but what do you want people to do with them? Why should your audience care about your content?

3.Be accurate. No one likes being misled. Publish the facts, and when mistakes are made, fix them as soon as possible.

4.Use visuals. Social media is a highly visual medium. People are looking for something new and interesting, specifically videos or motion graphics.

5.Variety is the spice of life. Make sure to mix up your content. At Verdin, we call this the 4-1-1 Rule: For every six posts, make four of them original content, one a repost or share, and one a call to action.

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between Facebook and Instagram, the Kings of Social, it’s time to get out there and start producing unique and engaging content.

Happy posting!

Project Manager Casey Page contributed to this post.

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