Facebook vs. Instagram: Should You Use One or Both

Facebook and Instagram are among the hottest social media platforms across the globe, with 2.32 billion and 1 billion monthly active users, respectively.

Given the immense popularity and audience size of these social networks, it can be tempting to spread resources across both sites.  

But is this the best strategy for marketers to effectively reach their audience?

Let’s take a look at the data to determine whether Facebook or Instagram – or both – is the right decision for your brand.

Facebook: Big Audience, Big Changes

Without a doubt, Facebook retains the most massive audience of all social media platforms worldwide. In the U.S. alone, more than two-thirds of adults say they use the site.

(Source: pewresearch)

The social network also boasts the most advanced targeting options for marketers who want to advertise. For marketers, these facts are hard to ignore.

What brand doesn’t want to get in front of that many people? Not to mention, all the right people?

The numbers also show another side: Facebook usage among U.S. teens has dropped, with the majority of the younger generation spending time on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Recently, a report suggested that  Facebook engagement is experiencing a gradual decline. While people are still using the platform, they are not spending as much time on it as they did previously.

(Source: socialmediatoday)

Then, there are the numerous scandals surrounding Facebook, from data breaches to privacy issues. (Regardless of these problems, users still seem to be logging on to their accounts.)

So, now that we’ve seen how great a marketing opportunity Facebook is, let’s look at some of the ways we can make the best of it.
First, let’s talk about Facebook Business Pages. 

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Facebook Business Pages

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These enable your brand to create an online presence for itself on the Facebook platform. All of this is for free. These pages help you:

  • Give your customers and other interested users constant updates
  • Connect people with the products or services that you offer
  • Interact with your customer, increase engagement, get feedback, and offer customer service
  • Share details on offers, deals, and other promotions
  • Build a community of users loyal to your brand 
  • Establish yourself as an authority within your niche

Now, let’s take a look at Facebook Groups. 

Facebook Groups

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Facebook groups offer a space for brands to create a community of like-minded people loyal to your brand. 

Groups can help you with: 

  • Attaining a highly targeted audience that can be advertised to 
  • Enabling group members to learn new things from one another
  • Getting honest feedback from your audience
  • Increasing engagement with your audience
  • Significantly increasing the number of conversions and potential leads

Next up, we have Facebook Events. 

Facebook Events

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Facebook events help brands or other organizations mobilize their brand while giving them the option to perform online consumer marketing. 

They can also help with: 

  • Giving you a platform for letting your audience know about essential announcements
  • Providing you a free advertising opportunity
  • Increasing brand awareness

Now, we’ll have a look at Facebook Stories. An option available for both Groups and Pages. 

Facebook Stories (Groups and Pages)

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Facebook Stories enable you to represent your brand directly from a device like a smartphone or desktop of your choosing. Stories help with:

  • Engaging with your audience with the help of relatable and personal content
  • Humanizing your brand
  • Reaching a large number of people frequently

Next up, we have Facebook Messenger. 

Facebook Messenger

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Facebook Messenger is a popular tool using which your brand can connect with people on a personal level. Messenger can help with: 

  • Acquiring new customers
  • Enabling transactions
  • Driving awareness 

Another popular and available option is Facebook Live. 

Facebook Live

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Facebook Live enables organizations to engage with their audience in real-time. Facebook Live helps with: 

  • Repurposing live videos to be used on your business pages or groups as content. 
  • Showing what goes on behind the scenes, and helping in humanizing your brand
  • Allowing users to interact with your brand with Q&A sessions, and more

Next, let’s take a look at the Facebook Shop option. 

Facebook Shop

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Facebook Shop is a business page tab application through which customers can purchase products directly from your store. It can help with: 

  • Driving new conversions
  • Engaging with potential customers
  • Providing details regarding new deals and promotions
  • Rewarding brand advocates for their loyalty
  • Building brand awareness and recognition

Now, let’s take a look at Facebook Ads. 

Facebook Ads

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Facebook Ads would help spread product/ brand awareness in the News Feed of a specific, targeted audience on Facebook. It can help you with: 

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Finding the right audience for your brand
  • Spending lesser for greater reach
  • Retargeting existing audiences
  • Increasing revenue, sales, and leads

And finally, let’s take a look at Facebook Insights. 

Facebook Insights

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It can help provide information that can help track and measure results to refine your marketing campaign. Insights can help determine:

  • Reach and engagement
  • Actions
  • People
  • Views
  • Posts, and much more.

Other additional details you can obtain are:

  • When your fans are online
  • The post types that are most successful for you
  • The top posts from pages you watch, and much more.

The Takeaway

Considering all this, should marketers use Facebook as part of their social marketing strategy?

While fewer teens are spending time on the platform than before, and overall engagement is down, Facebook continues to have the largest audience of all social media networks. Decreasing engagement is not considerable enough to abandon the site altogether.

Brands should have a presence on Facebook to legitimize their organization and reach their audience – whether organically, paid, or both.

Instagram: Growing Audience, New Opportunities

At one time, Instagram was labeled as the photo-sharing app for youth, but its audience is growing and diversifying. Today, 67 percent of 18-29-year-olds say they use Instagram, so it remains the platform’s most sizeable audience.

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults now use Instagram, up from only 10 percent in 2012.

(Source: pewresearch)

For marketers, Instagram can be an especially appealing venue, as 80 percent of users follow at least one business. Even more attractive – 60 percent of users seek out and discover new products on Instagram.

In short, users are starting to expect brands to have a presence on Instagram, and they want to be able to find their products there, as well.

Another primary consideration: Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms. This trend has its advantages.

When it comes to advertising on Instagram, brands are voting with their dollars. By the end of 2019, Instagram will account for nearly a quarter of Facebook’s advertising revenue (since Facebook owns Instagram).

And it’s expected to keep on growing.

Now that we’ve covered some of the most important stats related to Instagram, let’s look at how to take advantage of the advertising options offered by Instagram. 

Business Accounts

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A business profile for your brand would let it be recognized as a business. It also provides users with several benefits. Business accounts can help with: 

  • Providing access to Instagram Insights
  • Adding a contact button to your profile
  • Showing the industry you belong to you
  • Adding links to your profile

Now, let’s take a look at Instagram Stories. 

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Instagram Stories 

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These help you grow your brand’s engagement, build brand awareness, drive sales, and provide users with recent updates. Stories can help with: 

  • Creating an audience for your brand
  • Engaging with your audience regularly
  • Driving traffic to your websites
  • Offering you to post a variety of content

Next up, let’s take a look at Instagram DMs. 

Instagram DMs (Direct Messages)

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Direct messages can enable your brand to use Instagram’s direct messaging feature to grow your business. It can help with: 

  • Building connection within your industry
  • Increasing the brand loyalty of your followers
  • Easing lead generation and conversions

Now, let’s talk about IGTV. 

IGTV (Instagram TV)

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IGTV is a platform for viewing videos that can enable you to get closer to your audience and discover new people. It can help with: 

  • Boosting the visibility of your products/ services
  • Educating and entertaining your audience
  • Improving engagement and conversions
  • Helping build your community

Next up, we’ll take a look at Instagram Live. 

Instagram Live

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IG Live can help you communicate with your audience in real-time, improving discoverability and your connection with your users. It can help with: 

  • Getting great visibility
  • Getting immediate notifications for a live stream
  • Interacting with your followers in real-time

Now, let’s take a look at Instagram Ads.

Instagram Ads

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The different kinds of Instagram Ads that can be run are: 

  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Slideshow Ads
  • Stories Ads

Next, we’ll take a closer look at Instagram Shop. 

Instagram Shop 

ig_shop-fbvinst

Instagram Shop can help you incorporate your product catalog with your product profile. It can also help with: 

  • Easy product discoverability 
  • More sales opportunities, conversions, and much more

And finally, we have Instagram Insights.

Instagram Insights

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Instagram Insights is an analytical tool that can give you data on follower demographics, actions, and brand content. Insights can help determine: 

  • Engagement
  • Impressions and reach
  • The ratio of engagement to reach
  • Best to worst performing content
  • Profile visits
  • Follows
  • Website clicks and much more

The Takeaway

Now that you have an overall view of where Instagram is heading, should you use it as part of your social media strategy?

Maybe.

While I think there are plenty of opportunities on this particular platform for some brands, I don’t see it as ubiquitous as Facebook (not yet, at least).

Before tapping into this newer social media network, I think it wise to understand your audience fully and whether or not they spend their time there.

If they do, it could be a precious space to reach your audience with the appropriate messaging. If not, it could be a waste of your resources.

Want to test your knowledge of social media marketing? Take up answering these Advanced Social Media Practice Test Questions and find out now!

Final Thoughts

For brands with a diversified audience (older and younger generations), I can see Facebook and Instagram being a winning combination. Marketers can reach both audiences where they spend their time, with content that is relevant and effective.

If your brand’s audience is more focused (older or younger), then it may be best served with one platform or the other.

Lastly, if you still feel unsure, try out both platforms and do some testing. After all, the last thing you want to do is leave anything to chance. Learn more about social media marketing strategies and best practices with Simplilearn’s Advanced Social Media Marketing Training

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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