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How to Decide Between Instagram & Facebook For Your Brand

How to Decide Between Instagram & Facebook For Your Brand

In the past few months, there have been some pretty significant changes to both Facebook and Instagram. These changes have made it pretty confusing, especially for business owners, to decide where to focus their energy. With so many social media platforms out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed—but our advice is that you should focus energy where it matters most.

But with two of the largest platforms in the world constantly changing, it’s difficult to know if it’s worth focusing energy there.

Don’t worry; we’re here to help make that decision. We’ve written about both Facebook and Instagram, as well as Instagram Stories, before. But as we mentioned, significant changes to both platforms recently have got us thinking it’s time to take a long look at both of these platforms—and set standards for where to focus our energy.

First, let’s talk about those recent platform changes.


Facebook


In January, Facebook announced that they would be altering the news feed algorithm to prioritize what they call “meaningful interactions” (aka the posts of family and friends) and limit content from brands and publishers. This is an important shift because Facebook users have long complained about how any pages they like, as well as ads, take over their News Feed, hiding important posts from their friends and family.

For brands, this is a change that can seem a little scary. As it is, Facebook has the largest reach out there, being the most popular social networking site, and has almost 2.2 billion monthly active users (according to TechCrunch).

It’s difficult to know, with such a recent change, just how this will affect brands and their Facebook pages, as well as sponsored posts and paid Facebook advertising.


Instagram


In the last year, Instagram has added 100 million users in 5 months (again, according to TechCrunch). And of those users, most of them are under the age of 30. 55% of all 18- to 29-year-olds who use the internet are on Instagram, while only 28% of those aged 30-49 and 11% of those over 50. This is important data depending on your target demographic.

But let’s talk recent changes to Instagram. As we noted in our last blog post about Instagram, Instagram essentially borrowed (or stole, really) the concept of timed photo stories that disappear from Snapchat—and not only did they steal the idea, but they did it better. Instagram also now offered Story ads, so brands can advertise between stories of their friends and family.

As well, 53% of Instagram users follow brands. Compared to Facebook, those are impressive numbers. As such, Instagram is better for brand engagement than Facebook, even though Facebook has significantly better reach. A recent study compared Facebook and Instagram engagement apples-to-apples for large brands—and found that, on average, the same post on Instagram received about 3 to 3.6 times more engagement than on Facebook.

As well, Instagram had recently added features that encourage brands to link to specific items, allowing users to shop directly within the app, such as the swipe up feature in Stories (for those with more than 10,000 followers).

One significant change that Instagram made recently is the Graph API. Before, Instagram’s API was closed, which meant that social media scheduling tools could not automatically post to accounts. (Any apps that claimed to do so altered the API, which was against Instagram’s Terms of Service.) Now, apps like Hootsuite, CoSchedule, and Later are able to publish automatically to Instagram. For those running brands, this is a welcome change. Having to have an app and your company’s Instagram profile attached to your personal smartphone was often an annoyance!


Do You Have to Choose?


If you’re already posting consistently on Facebook, but think you could broaden your reach, it might be time to consider Instagram—especially if you start noticing significant dips in your reach and engagement.

It doesn’t have to be a scenario where you choose just one, however. It might be worth experimenting with Instagram while maintaining your current Facebook content. If you use Facebook ads, it might be worth it to try adding Instagram ads.

Facebook owns Instagram. And despite Instagram’s growth and superior engagement, it has several considerable downsides. Let’s talk about Instagram’s weaknesses for a moment.

Instagram made a serious miscalculation a few years ago by changing the Instagram feed from chronological to an algorithm similar to Facebook’s. Most small- and medium-sized brands are still very critical of this decision.

As well, Instagram is well-known for having an abysmal response to help requests and reports; many users report not receiving updates to the app (despite updating the app multiple times), which appears to be random, but a widespread bug. It’s not just those reports; reports of issues with Instagram users, hashtags, random IP address bans, and more are frequently ignored by Instagram support. Many Instagram users report being shadowbanned by Instagram, and when they report the issue and ask for assistance, their emails and support requests are ignored.

While Facebook might not be perfect in some respects, they at least respond to support requests in a timely manner. As well, Instagram is still significantly smaller than Facebook, generating a fraction of Facebook’s ad revenue.

Ultimately, deciding which platform is best for your brand boils down to your target demographic; if you want to target all ages, especially with different ads, Facebook is still the way to go. But if you want to start posting content for younger users, Instagram is an ideal platform for doing just that.

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