In a perfect world, we would have unlimited budgets and time to invest in whatever social media projects we wanted for amazing results. This world is...more complicated. And while using several different social media platforms at once can be very effective, we understand if you only have enough resources to concentrate on one or two. Which leads us to the pressing question: If you can invest in the ultra-popular Facebook or the ultra-popular Instagram, which should you choose? Here are some factors to help you make the tough decision of Facebook vs. Instagram for your time investment.
1. Look at the Numbers
It's very difficult to say how many B2B prospects are on Facebook or Instagram. If you want to find out, we suggest that you send out a survey to current clients and ask them what they use (or find a survey that was already done in your industry). Demographics tend to favor Facebook here, but actual numbers are hard to come by.
What we can tell you is the total reach of each choice. According the latest study, Facebook has around 1.94 billion monthly active users. That's incredible. That's so high that the second most popular platform, YouTube, doesn't even come close. Instagram tries hard at 700 million monthly active users, but at the end of the day, more people in your area will probably be on Facebook, at least for now.
2. The Content Question
Facebook is for text, Instagram is for photos? Not so fast. Facebook has excellent support of photos and video clips as well, and Instagram has caption sections for text posts. Of the two, Facebook is probably slightly more flexible. However, Facebook also tends to have one of the busier feeds, so it may be easier for your photo or post to get lost in the mix. Instagram used to be far better at this, but its latest algorithm changes have made it much more like Facebook, based on interaction and follower preferences.
However, there are other types of content to consider. Remember, Facebook can also link to a blog or website with support for plenty of formatting so your post still looks nice. It also encourages Business profiles (which can help out SEO), livestreaming, and Groups. Instagram just isn't there yet when it comes to alternative forms of content, although it does make an impressive effort with Stories (photos that last a day) and Carousels (slideshows).
3. Social Signals
All right, let's say that you are most interested in engagement. You aren't too worried about reach and you already understand the content limitations, but you'd love to see your social signals on the rise – more likes, more comments, and more shares. If that's your path to success, then Instagram is the choice. It turns out that people like to look at Facebook, but they aren't as likely to interact with any particularly post. On Instagram, however, engagement actions are much higher. People there are more willing to throw you a like, make a comment or give you some emoji post love.
4. Target Audiences
We mentioned numbers, but what about the sort of people that use Facebook vs. Instagram? Facebook is one of the most evenly split platforms between men and women (still favoring women by a bit), and is used by adults of all ages, with some of the highest numbers for older adults. Instagram favors women more than Facebook, and is more popular with younger adults and teens. Here, it really depends on what kind of people you want to reach and hire.
Facebook gets a lot more eyeballs, so its ads tend to have better numbers – and a whole lot of click-through as well, typically better click-through rates than other online ad options. However, Instagram ad services are more or less based on the Facebook model, and may provide an easier way to stand out if everyone in your industry is buying Facebook ads.
Facebook and Instagram have a lot of synergy. Particularly with scheduling software, it's really easy to post photos on both platforms. But if you just can't tackle them both, we suggest going with Facebook, especially if you can utilize some of the advanced streaming and sales tools to increase your return on investment.