Social media marketing is no longer an optional choice only made by hip businesses with young audiences. It’s now essential for every business.
Data from the Pew Research Center shows that roughly 70% of Americans say they have used social media of any kind. The majority of users on major platforms like Facebook and Instagram check in at least once a day. In 2022, if you’re wondering where the bulk of your audience is, you can bet it’s on social media.
In fact, 55% of consumers say they learn about brands on social media, according to a recent poll by Sprout Social. And 78% of consumers say they’re more willing to buy from a company after having a positive interaction with it on social media
There are so many different social media apps out there now. But, while each app has its own distinct advantages, Facebook and Instagram have proven to have some of the best staying power for business marketing. Let’s take a look at why these two platforms are so important and how to use Facebook and Instagram to promote your business.
Why You Need Marketing Strategies for Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are the giants of social media. Other than YouTube, which only focuses on video content, they have the largest audiences. According to Pew, 69% of U.S. adults use Facebook and 40% use Instagram. Among younger adults, Instagram is particularly popular, with 71% of those aged 18-29 using it.
According to Hubspot, Facebook has the highest return on investment (ROI) for paid advertising of any paid advertising platform. Ninety-three percent of businesses are active on Facebook, and 78% of U.S. consumers purchase goods and services they’ve discovered there.
Businesses also get a lot of mileage from advertising on Instagram. Survey data from Hootsuite shows that two out of three users say Instagram helps them interact with brands, and 50% of users report being more interested in brands after seeing their ads on the platform.
Pros and Cons of Using Facebook for Business
Using a Facebook business page to promote your brand has many advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of the biggest ones.
- Easy to use: Most people are already familiar with Facebook. This makes it relatively easy to set up and use for your business.
- Inexpensive: Facebook is one of the cheapest social media networks for business advertising. Its average cost per click is only $0.97, compared to $3.56 for Instagram and $5.26 for LinkedIn. Only Twitter is better, at $0.38.
- Versatile: It’s hard to beat Facebook in terms of sheer flexibility and versatility. Unlike Twitter, your posts don’t have a character count limit. And unlike Instagram, it’s well suited for virtually any kind of post. It’s a great all-around social media platform.
- Requires a lot of time: You can’t simply set a posting schedule and let it run. With Facebook, you need to stay engaged with your audience. Negative comments build up if you don’t address them. Customers reach out with questions, and you have to be prepared to respond quickly.
- Much of the audience can disengage: Outside of the vocal minority, it can be difficult to know just how much of your audience you’re really engaging. Users can unsubscribe from your posts even if they still count as a “like” on your business page.
- Fake accounts and spam: Facebook has had its share of problems with fake accounts and spam, so this is something you’ll have to watch out for when conducting business on the platform. Anyone who likes your page can comment, so you have to stay vigilant.
Pros and Cons of Using Instagram for Business
Like Facebook, Instagram business accounts have many of their own pros and cons. Here are a few big ones to consider.
- A visual platform for your business: Instagram is almost entirely visual. That makes it a great place to enhance your brand image by sharing high-quality images and videos that fit your aesthetic.
- High engagement rates: Instagram boasts substantially better levels of engagement than other social media apps. Posts on the platform have engagement rates 4.3 times higher than those on Facebook and 16.5 times higher than Twitter.
- Engages a younger audience: As we mentioned earlier, younger audiences, especially those between ages 18 and 49, heavily favor visual platforms like Instagram.
- Advertising is expensive: We mentioned the costs of Instagram above — it’s nearly four times more expensive to get clicks on there than on Facebook. Many businesses avoid buying paid ads and opt instead to try for organic traffic.
- Platform has some limitations: Its visual strengths aside, Instagram is a much more limited platform. It’s not a good place for detailed communication or posts that aren’t focused on images or video. It can also be clunky to get people to your website from the platform.
- More demographically limited: If your audience has a broader age range or simply doesn’t connect with a highly visual medium, Instagram may not be a good choice.
The Most Important Part of Social Media Marketing: Know Your Audience
Now that you know the pros and cons of using Instagram and Facebook for business, you may have a better sense of which of these platforms is right for you. More often than not, both can be an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
Before we get into specific tips about how to use each platform to promote your business, let’s get one thing straight. Regardless of which social media tool you’re using, you must take the time to understand who your audience is. Social media is a very direct form of audience engagement. It’s meant to be interactive, and people won’t engage with content that’s not interesting to them.
Before you start creating your Facebook business page or Instagram business account, clearly define the audience you’re trying to reach.
Tips for Advertising on Facebook
Think you’re ready to dip your toe into the world of Facebook advertising? Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Create Your Facebook Business Page
The first thing you need to do is set up your business page. The company offers a handy guide on how to create a Facebook business page, so we won’t get into the weeds here. What’s most important is that you choose the right business category and customize the page to meet your needs.
Facebook has six business categories from which you can choose, and each one comes with specific page features. For instance, if you want to emphasize your physical location, you should choose the Local Business category.
Once you have the right category, you’ll want to make sure you customize the sidebar and call-to-action (CTA) button. The sidebar showcases different sections of your page you want to highlight, and the CTA button emphasizes what you want your customers to do. Do you want them to sign up for more content? Or shop your products? The CTA should clearly define this.
2. Use Professional Profile and Cover Photos
Facebook may not be as visual as Instagram, but visual elements are still important on the platform. Your profile photo and cover photo (the banner image behind your profile photo) should both be high quality and professionally done.
Think of your Facebook business page as an extension of your website. The visual quality and style should be up to the same brand standard so you’re communicating the same visual story and feel to your audience.
3. Experiment With a Variety of Content
Again, Facebook is a highly versatile medium. You can post great pictures with little copy, or you can write lengthier posts when you have something valuable to say. You can add to your story, share events, promote products, or post compelling videos. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Use this versatility to your advantage. Try paid advertising on Facebook along with organic posts. Use video, photos, and thoughtfully worded copy. Sure, sell your products, but also share educational content or posts that celebrate something that’s happening in the community.
Your audience will tune you out if you’re always sharing the same type of content — especially if that content exclusively talks about your products and your business.
4. Time Your Posts Strategically
Because it’s so direct and immediate, timing is always important on social media. If you share something on Facebook at the wrong time, there’s a good chance most of your audience will miss it.
According to Sprout Social, Facebook has the highest user engagement between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays. Engagement is moderate on weekday afternoons and evenings but drops off precipitously on weekends. If you want to get a conversation going with your audience or spur them to shop your latest deal, post during the times they’re most likely to be paying attention.
5. Be Responsive
Facebook is an incredibly conversational tool. Not all of your audience will comment on your posts, and not every customer will share their thoughts. The ones that do, though, expect to hear back from you. Facebook’s own research shows that users who reach out to businesses via Messenger expect a near-immediate response. If you don’t respond — especially to negative feedback — you may lose a customer.
Tips for Advertising on Instagram
Ready to try your hand at an Instagram business account? Follow these tips to get going.
1. Create an Instagram Business Account
Instagram offers two types of accounts for professional users: creator accounts and business accounts. Creator accounts are designed for influencers and others who have a lot of content to share — and may be doing so for a business — but they’re not personally selling products on the platform.
In most cases, you’ll want an Instagram business account. This allows you to sell products and gives you full access to important business analytics. Setting up your account is quick and easy, and Instagram walks you through it here.
2. Perfect Your Profile
Even if you’re using a business account, Instagram is the realm of creators. Your profile needs to reflect that you belong among them. This is no place for stock images, clip-art logos, or shoddy brand copy. Everything should be dialed in.
Your profile copy is limited to 150 characters, so be direct, clear, and concise. Showcase some brand personality and use the space to direct people to your website and other places where they can learn more about you. It’s also common for businesses to use this space to highlight URLs related to recent posts since in-post links aren’t allowed on Instagram.
3. Think Visually
We keep mentioning it, but it can’t be overstated. Instagram is a visual medium. Users expect compelling visual content. Your main posts should be high quality and always consistent with your brand. If you have something you want to communicate to your audience, you have to think about how to do it visually, whether by photo, illustration, or video.
For less-curated visual content, Instagram Stories are a great option. These allow you to share quick updates about an upcoming product or event, or maybe a behind-the-scenes look at a work in progress. They disappear after 24 hours, which means they don’t always have to fit the precise visual aesthetic of your main feed.
4. Promote Your Products
Instagram is a great place for advertising and promoting your products. Eighty-one percent of users say it helps them research products and services, and 130 million users tap on shopping posts each month.
Businesses use Instagram to advertise products, tell stories about how products are made, and even provide tutorials on how to use them. The Instagram Shopping feature makes it easy to try selling on Instagram and allows you to post ads with product tags and other details.
5. Choose the Right Times To Post
As with Facebook, it’s important to know about the best times to post on Instagram. Although there’s overlap between the two platforms on weekdays, especially around lunchtime from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Instagram has higher levels of engagement on Saturdays.
That means you might share complementary posts on Instagram and Facebook during the week but then focus your weekend strategy on Instagram for the highest levels of engagement. Here again, Instagram Stories can be a great tool for immediately connecting with your customers when they’re online.
Be Sure To Measure Your Success
Whatever social media marketing strategies you try, it’s critical to monitor your progress. Both Instagram and Facebook have robust analytics tools in their business accounts. Any time you try a new strategy, you should use these tools to measure how it’s going.
For instance, maybe you have a specific campaign goal to get more Instagram followers. You can easily use Instagram’s analytics to see how much engagement your posts are getting and whether they’re generating new followers. Or you can track how many sales are tied to a specific Facebook post. it’s all there to help you improve your social media strategy.
Instagram and Facebook are by no means the only platforms you should use to promote your business — they just offer a great starting point. Once you have some success with these, you can add other platforms like TikTok or Snapchat into the mix. Before you know it, your brand will have a digital presence everywhere.