Facebook and Instagram – Can you compare at all?



The statistics for Facebook in areas of total users (over 1.8 BILLION) reach, engagement, results, etc. are well known and phenomenal.  Facebook owns Instagram, everyone knows that.

There are many small businesses in the Cowichan Valley (and very likely around the world) that have embraced Instagram for a variety of reasons.  Many will report that they receive better interaction (engagement) and better response, and it’s more ‘fun’ than putting their efforts into Facebook.  I hear this consistently in my Social Media Marketing world.

But it’s hard to let Facebook go, eh?  Facebook, to me, is sort of like Starbucks.  I had never heard of a cappuccino, frappuccino, or low fat, high fat, no foam, extra foam, etc. etc. etc. until Starbucks opened in my home town of Vancouver.  To this day, I judge all hot beverages against the Starbucks experience and no wonder it’s been hard for other coffee chains to get into the market because Starbucks was the leader and they ‘taught’ a whole country what specialty coffees should taste like.

In the Facebook case, the whole process of interacting with customers online instead of face to face, of developing clients, customers, and friends without meeting them initially was brand new.  The features of original Facebook and as they have changed them constantly over the years, have been learned and become the ‘common’ way to do things online.  No wonder they remain the runaway leader in so many categories, including number of fans per Business Page.  They were first out of the gate, we learned what we had to learn to embrace Social Media for Business and we are reluctant to try to start over again on another social network.  The best example is Google + which is a fine social network, but obviously owned by Google.  How many of us wanted to start all over in gaining followers and fans?  For sure Facebook wasn’t going to allow Google + to just click a button and have fans move from Facebook to Google+.  We compare new social networks against Facebook because it’s where we learned social media, whether for apersonal or business basis.

Being the leader has downfalls, however.  When Facebook introduced ‘algorithms’ which meant that all fans would not receive all your posts into their newsfeed unless they had interacted with you recently, (liked, or shared, or commented on your Business Page posts) this made using social media for marketing purposes much, much harder to navigate.  The reality is that with the unspeakably huge number of users on Facebook, and just so many servers on this planet for all that data, and indeed just so much room in any person’s newsfeed, Facebook decided to just feed info to people who demonstrated by interaction that they really wanted to see the posts from this company or that company.  That’s presumptuous in the extreme, but that’s the tactic Facebook took.

So why has Instagram become to many local businesses, the social media platform of choice?  Perhaps some despair that they will never reach enough customers with all of Facebook’s algorithms?  Some understand that boosting posts or using Facebook for advertising is effective, but hard to consider who is the ‘target’ audience.  Very probably, for many small businesses, Instagram is more about the owner of the business, the great picture of a fabulous food dish or a new sweater or a wonderful table setting, etc.  It’s a little more personal, and for those who are accustomed to constant use of a mobile device, it’s the only real way to execute Instagram correctly and with success.  It’s all about the images, it’s all about you, and it’s surely all about capturing a local audience.

So, should you abandon Facebook and turn into an image creating guru to ensure you are staying in the loop with social media marketing??  This is a bigger topic than I originally planned.  I think it will take 2-3 blogs to help folks decide if one or two or both or more social networks can work the best for them.  The next blog will continue on on this theme with Facebook and Instagram with more Instagram emphasis, and the next one will talk about the real value LinkedIn can provide.  We won’t be talking about SnapChat.  SnapChat is certainly not designed for my target audience.

Any comments between this blog and next week’s blog – on Thursday – would be very happily received!




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