If you are a small business owner, you have probably found yourself asking “should I be using Instagram or Facebook for my business?”. With over 4.62 billion social media users globally, social media is a tool you can't ignore. It is known that Instagram and Facebook are the most popular social media platforms.
Even though Instagram and Facebook are both owned by Meta, it doesn’t mean that they are the same. Each platform has its own strong points, unique benefits, and uses that differ from one another. When figuring out which will suit your business the best, there are distinct differences to look at. When talking about Instagram vs Facebook for businesses, we will take a look at 3 main differences between these two platforms in this blog post.
The biggest difference between Facebook and Instagram is the age of their audience. Instagram has more of a younger audience with most Instagram users being under the age of 34, see source. This makes Instagram an attractive tool for marketing to a younger audience. Facebook has more of an older audience. According to Statista, the biggest age group on Facebook are people between the ages 25 and 44. This is why Facebook is the perfect platform if you are looking to sell to an older audience who are likely to have higher incomes and more money to spend.
Take a look at these two graphs to see the current (2022) user statistics by age:
Even though Meta owns both Instagram and Facebook, the functionality of each app is very different. Facebook is detail-driven. The text of a Facebook post comes before the image, so the user’s attention is drawn to the text first and the image after. Thus, business owners use Facebook to communicate information about their business such as business hours, address, upcoming events, price changes, sales, etc. Since Facebook is text-based, there’s a better chance that your customers will read the entire post, even if they don’t engage with it. While Facebook is mainly informational, it still has many other features such as photos, videos, a marketplace, and groups which makes it a really versatile platform.
Instagram’s functionality is the opposite of this. Instagram is a very visual platform that focuses on images and videos rather than text. When scrolling through your Instagram feed, an image is what grabs your attention first and then you normally look at the caption after. Your customers are not visiting your Instagram to find out your business hours, they want to engage and visually see what your brand has to offer. So although it's not a platform to communicate information, visual features such as posts, stories, and reels drive a lot of engagement in comparison to Facebook.
Studies show that Instagram has higher levels of engagement in comparison to Facebook. This is probably due to the younger audience who want to engage with one another and even businesses on Instagram (e.g. responding to stories, commenting on posts, sharing images, etc). But it also depends on the context. For example, if your post is mainly text then it will probably perform better on Facebook and if your post is an image then it will perform better on Instagram. So even though Instagram has higher engagement, it is important to consider the content of your post and how your audience uses each platform.
Another thing to consider is why your customers are going onto either Facebook or Instagram. Why are they going there? What are they wanting to do? An example of this is Generation Z and Facebook. Younger people don't usually open Facebook to post, engage or shop. More often than not, they are on the app just to see what their friends and family are up to. So it would be most effective for marketers to advertise to them on Instagram rather. Understanding why your audience is using a specific platform is important so that you don't waste time or money creating content and running ads on the wrong app. It can also help you learn more about your customer and what strategies work best ways to attract them either on Instagram or Facebook.
Which is best for your business?
In the end, it is up to you as a business owner who can make this decision as both have many benefits as we have seen. A lot of brands are on both, but it comes down to deciding which features suit your business the best. If you are looking to sell your products and services visually and to a younger audience with higher rates of engagement then Instagram is for you. If you are wanting to sell to an older audience, on a platform that prioritises information but still has other interesting features, then Facebook is for you. Even though there is less engagement on Facebook, it is still important to have it, especially if you want to run ads. However, since Meta bought Instagram it is very easy to use both Instagram and Facebook for your business as you can control both accounts through the Meta business suite.
If you would like to learn more about creating and running a Facebook ads account then check out my blog: How to Navigate a Facebook Business Ad Account ←