It’s no surprise that Facebook, the most universally recognizable social platform, has tons of marketing benefits.
And at this point, you would have had to have been living under a rock to not know that Facebook also owns Instagram – the second most frequented social network in the world. This too, of course, adds to the marketing reach of this powerhouse duo of social connections.
Considering the organic exposure opportunities alone, you’d be silly to ignore these platforms for a business with any sort of visual appeal; and even those without.
To effectively run a business in the digital age: you need to have a social presence, relevance is essential, and paid promotion is a plus. At the very least, you need to be genuine and be present where your audience hangs out. That being said, Facebook and Instagram are leaders in the “hangout” space.
Let’s dive right into why these platforms should matter to you, and everything you need to know about marketing in the Facebook ecosystem.
Why marketing on Facebook and Instagram matters
The easy answer is that these are the biggest social platforms… ever. Facebook with 2.23B monthly active users, and Instagram with 1B monthly active users. In the US alone, over 68% of adults use Facebook, and 35% of adults use Instagram.
Arguably, YouTube is the second largest social network in the world with 1.9B monthly active users, but it’s not really used as a social network. That doesn’t mean you should ignore everyone’s favorite video platform as a marketing medium – but that’s a whole other topic. It would just be inaccurate to say that people use YouTube in the same way they use other social networks. For the sake of this discussion, let’s say Instagram is the #2 “pure” social network.
So why do these platforms matter so much? Well at the very least, having a social presence is a crucial step to being relevant online. And on the other end of the spectrum, social marketing is critical to brand awareness and greatly contributes to your legitimacy in the modern world.
Now, epic potential for brand awareness and effectively adding to your credibility is obviously important – but that’s not all. You can also look forward to these benefits when using Facebook for marketing:
- Free, if not cheap marketing - Creating a Facebook page is as free as it gets, and as we’ll touch upon later, organic content can be more lucrative than paid promotion. That, and Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive compared to all other forms of traditional ads.
- Lead generation - Page likes are great and all, but the most effective thing you can do with Facebook is to gather leads via contests, giveaways, newsletters, and lead gen ads.
- Advanced audience targeting - Social ads aren’t just inexpensive compared to traditional ads, they’re also way more targeted. This comes full circle, as the more targeted your ads are, the more effective and the cheaper they’ll be.
- Built-in, useful analytics - No need to get fancy or technical with how you measure your social marketing on any of Facebook’s properties. Facebook Insights does all the work for you and reports it in the most user-friendly way possible.
- Increase site traffic - This is more relevant to Facebook, although not totally invalid for Instagram. Link sharing on Facebook is incredibly easy; you can include links on any post, basically all over your page. On Instagram you can only do so on your bio – but you can get tactical with this limitation. A lot of brands tie many of their posts to the link on their bio, switching it up as necessary.
There's no shortage of reasons to be on these platforms. Facebook and Instagram are two free mediums full of priceless opportunities.
But let's get back the core of it all, the people.
Who uses these platforms has a lot to do with age, but also platform functionality. The main demographic difference being that Instagram is extremely popular for the under 30 crowd, especially teens, and Facebook is popular among those over 30. It’s also important to note that many people are on both platforms, and that plenty of those users frequent one and largely ignore the other.
Why the split? Well, that’s a rabbit hole of fairly unimportant common knowledge – what really matters is that this demographic divide continues to blur as we progress further into the future.
Demographics aside, these platforms serve different purposes. This functionality split ends up affecting your marketing on both.
Facebook functions best as a general connection medium between people and their friends and family, and Instagram functions best as a visual connection medium between people and their friends and family… and the rest of the world. That’s not to say Facebook doesn’t link people to the rest of the world, people just tend to use the platforms differently.
Instagram is a social spectacle that places more emphasis on discovery and visual stimuli. Whereas Facebook aims to be more about personal interactions and sharing content with those in your close circle.
Marketing on Facebook and Instagram
Because Facebook and Instagram are used differently, proper expectations needs to be set. An ecommerceSEO study found key data on what you can expect from the users of these two networks:
- Even though Instagram places more emphasis on discovery over interaction, Instagram’s engagement is much higher. The study found that brands receive 58x more engagement per follower on Instagram than Facebook. A lot of that has to do with Facebook’s algorithm and also how Instagram users often look for product recommendations, while Facebook users are known to actively ignore them.
- Instagram brands reach nearly 100% of their audience per post, but that number drops to 6% on Facebook. This is primarily because of the platform’s respective algorithms.
- Over 40% of Facebook users don’t like engaging with companies at all. That does leave the majority of users open to business-related engagement, but those users don’t actively engage with business posts. According to the study, 32% of Facebook users regularly interact with brands, while 68% of Instagram users do.
Regularity is definitely important here, but a business-receptive third of the world’s most popular social platform is nothing to scoff at.
Earlier I mentioned three areas of social marketing – presence, relevance, and paid promotion.
The least you can do is have a presence on the top two social networks of all time. If that sounds grandiose, it kind of is. By having a developed profile with minimal activity for your business, you’ll instantly add credibility to your online presence. It’s free, easy, and it’s the foundation for the next step up: relevance.
When it comes to being relevant on any social network, the answer is also fairly simple – albeit, easier said than done – make good content.
Brands don’t usually acquire a mass following overnight. Followers come over time, and with more frequency, the more engaging your content is. Put yourself in the position of your audience. What would you want to see from your brand? Why should they listen to you? It’s a simple question with a wide range of content potential.
Then comes paid promotion. Before getting into that though, it’s important to remember that marketing doesn’t only come in the form of paid promotion. Play your cards right, and your organic content will push you further than some brands and their paid promotion. That being said, Facebook and Instagram offer a multitude of ad options – all of which can be approached differently for a range of results.
Facebook ad options span a broad range that isn’t limited to just Facebook and Instagram. These ads are surfaced across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, as well as the Facebook Audience Network (a dense network of 3rd party apps that surface Facebook ads; similar to the Google Display Network). Best of all, since these are all Facebook properties, there's only one ad management hub: Facebook Ad Manager.
Here’s the full range of ad formats you can go with when using Facebook Ads:
- Video - Show off product features, and draw people in with sound and motion.
- Image - Drive people to destination websites or apps through high-quality visuals.
- Collection - Encourage shopping by displaying items from your product catalog.
- Carousel - Showcase up to 10 images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link.
- Slideshow - Use motion, sound and text to tell your story.
- Instant Experience - Provides a full-screen, mobile-optimized experience instantly from your ad.
- Lead Generation Ads - Presented using an image, video, or carousel, these ads help you collect info from people interested in your business.
- Offers - Presented using an image, video, or carousel, these ads promote a discount to share with your customers on Facebook.
- Post Engagement - Most page posts can be boosted to deliver more views, likes, comments, and shares.
- Event Responses - Presented using an image or video, these ads can be used to promote awareness of an event and drive responses.
- Page Likes - Using a video or an image, these ads can be used to drive users to like your page.
There are virtually no presentation limitations when opting to go with paid promotion. Facebook offers a wide range of flexible options, and they’re always innovating for their marketers.
For ad specs, and more information, reference Facebook’s Ads Guide.
What to do from here
There’s definitely no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to marketing on these platforms. The only thing that can’t be overstated is how important simply being involved in the Facebook network is. If you don’t already have a free Facebook page for your business, you better get to it – same goes for having a Instagram Account for your business.
Having a presence on both of these social mega platforms is essential to being relevant online, even if you end up focusing more of your energy on one. What you choose to do from there all depends on your audience, the nature of your business, and your marketing strategy.
Play to the strengths of these platforms. Facebook remains best for visibility with older age groups, as long as you’re using paid advertisements, and the platform also makes it easier to funnel users to a third party site. Instagram prohibits link sharing in posts and comments, only allowing it in your profile bio, but the platform’s style make it better for: spreading awareness, showcasing new products/services, influencer marketing, comparison shopping, and engaging with customers.
Ultimately, Facebook is great as an all-around business hub, and Instagram is great to promote the visual elements of your business.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being on the top two social networks. Your audience is on both – maybe disproportionately so on one, but you don’t want to count the other out.
The least you want to do is have a presence on both Facebook and Instagram, aim to create solid, engaging content, and consider investing in some ads. There's no shortage in presentation styles, and with the reach of these networks, your ads will definitely be seen – there's no question about it.