Facebook vs. Instagram: Which Is a Better Fit for Your Marketing Efforts?

As anyone who uses Facebook and Instagram will tell you, the two platforms are quite different. That’s why so many users still maintain accounts on both of them.

You may already be aware of the fact that Facebook owns Instagram. The fact that the world’s largest social media platform is Instagram’s parent company has caused some marketers to view them as a single entity.

While it’s certainly true that you can target Instagram users from within Facebook’s campaign-building interface, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re one and the same.

As anyone who uses Facebook and Instagram will tell you, the two platforms are quite different. That’s why so many users still maintain accounts on both of them.

They share certain features in common, but they each have unique strengths and weaknesses from a marketing perspective. Strategies that work wonders on Facebook might fall flat on the photo-sharing platform, and the reverse is also true; Instagram successes might not translate well to Facebook’s mechanics.

Both platforms can be used to connect with friends, family, celebrities and brands, but advertisers would do well to formulate separate yet complementary marketing strategies for each.

Facebook is huge, but is it hip?

There’s no denying Facebook’s mass appeal. The site boasts nearly 1.3 billion users who are active on a daily basis. That’s more than four times the number of people who use Instagram every day–a still impressive but comparably paltry 300 million.

Your clients and prospects spend an awful lot of time on Facebook. So what do they get out of it? According to studies, people turn to the social media giant for news, but they also use it as a way to connect with friends and family.

Facebook posts tend to have a pretty opinionated bent, whether they’re about politics, traffic, the weather, a new restaurant or a recent ex. That’s not all bad, by the way–users say Facebook offers more exposure to bold new ideas and unexpected ways of thinking.

Instagram: A picture is worth … you know

Instagram is primarily focused on images, and while there may be captions or locations shared along with the pictures, it’s a platform of few words. Here, art rules the day, so it should come as no surprise that users turn to Instagram to get their creative juices flowing.

Instagram also has the potential for native-like brand executions within the platform itself. To put that into simpler terms, it’s easy to showcase a product or service in a visual context that makes perfect sense, doesn’t feel forced and creates positive feelings around the brand.

And while Instagram users like the platform for its capacity to connect them with friends, family and celebrities, they’re just as likely to use it for fashion and beauty cues, interior design inspiration and cool do-it-yourself project ideas. Instagram is all about arresting images and following your muse, so it’s no wonder that so many young creatives get excited about the platform.

Use the right tool for the job

So, which is best for your brand: Facebook or Instagram? Well, that depends on your brand, the nature of your offerings and the purpose driving your push for engagement.

Let’s say your product is some high-design object of desire that you want to show off to an audience of youthful beauty seekers. Instagram might be the platform of choice.

On the other hand, if your brand requires more than just a pretty picture to really convey its value, then you might be better off creating deeper content and sharing it via Facebook.

In the end, there’s really no reason why you can’t do both. The best strategy for many brands is to maintain a presence on both platforms, and to use each when the time or project is appropriate.

Preston Paynter is a paid social account analyst for Elite SEM.

Image courtesy of tanuha2001/Shutterstock.