At times, the presence of various social networks can be more baffling than clear-cut. Especially in a world where there are more social networks than ever, and their functionality is starting to appear so uniform.
I was recently asked to explain the difference between Facebook and Instagram by an entrepreneur who is trying to figure out how to best utilize the platforms. Being that we’re in a rather unsettled world right now, it may not be long before this article is made completely obsolete (just scan Facebook related headlines and you’ll see what I mean).
That said, here are some thoughts on how to best leverage each platform for promoting your projects.
Why Facebook & Instagram?
Facebook and Instagram are among the most popular and effective channels for generating traffic and engagement.
Their business value is a little suspect unless used with strategy and extreme intention. But you can stimulate engagement, build a following, grow your email list, and even generate sales, if you’re patient, consistent, and calculated in how you approach these platforms.
Facebook still sends more traffic to my website than any other social network.
Instagram is much tougher, and that has a lot to do with how the platform is set up. But we’ll get to that.
What to Share on Facebook?
When sharing to any social media platform, paying careful attention to your Dream 100 and modeling their activity will help you streamline your own posting efforts (this tells you most of what you need to know).
With that established, Facebook allows for a variety of content types.
Some of these post types may not apply to your specific project or business, and that’s fine.
Creating Variety in Your Content
At minimum, rotating through text, images and graphics, links to blog posts or curated content, video and lives helps create variety for your audience. This drives up engagement.
Short-form video is all the rage on trendy platforms like Instagram and TikTok. But Facebook is trying to become a little more like YouTube, and users generally tolerate longer videos. So, even if short videos are part of your content plan, it would be worth considering creating longer videos too.
Targeting Your Audience
You can create a more sophisticated content strategy if you wish. But this should always be done with your audience in mind. What do they want? What do they respond to? How do they like to engage?
Ongoing testing can teach you a great deal about your audience, which is one of the reasons you should begin posting without having all the answers.
Profiles, Pages & Groups
Unless you have a page with a big following, I’m sorry to say, pages are dead.
Use your personal profile or groups to promote your projects. You’re bound to get more results and leverage this way.
I get far more engagement posting to my profile than my pages.
What to Share on Instagram?
Instagram is a visually oriented platform. Pictures, images / graphics, and videos or lives are the only types of content accepted.
Text Based Content?
For the most part, you won’t be creating huge walls of text or blog article style posts for Instagram.
You will be creating text for your image and video captions, though, so you can engage users in this manner too. Add plenty of emojis to your captions, keep it light and fun, maybe inject a bit of curiosity or humor. Also add hashtags (more on this later).
Yes, depending on the target audience, longer captions can work. But test this out before dedicating all your time and energy to it. These days, I’m seeing a move towards short, title-based captions.
And, of course, as with most visually oriented platforms – quotes, memes, comic strips, and other content containing textual hooks – still work.
Commenting & Interacting
As with Facebook, on Instagram, you can follow other users and comment on their posts. The Instagram comment section in most posts, though, in my observation, is a cesspool of stupidity, self-promotion, and trawling for business (Instagram influencers looking to take your money in exchange for exposure). So, you will stand out if you add genuine value to the conversations.The Instagram comment section is mostly a cesspool of stupidity, self-promotion, and trawling for business. Click To Tweet
Another major difference with Instagram is that hashtag use is encouraged. Add about 21 hashtags to each post for maximum effectiveness. You can add hashtags to your Facebook posts, but they are less effective, and it is recommended that you keep to three or fewer hashtags on Facebook.
Also be sure to utilize the stories function on both platforms. You can share your own (and other people’s content) to your stories and this gives you a gentle boost in the algorithm and gets you more visibility with your followers.
Link in the Bio
This, at least to me, is Instagram’s weakest link. You can’t add hyperlinks in your captions. So, if you want to take your followers on journeys outside of the platform, you’ve got to encourage them to “click the link in my bio.”
The goal of marketing isn’t likes, shares, comments, or follows – it’s income. And generating income from Instagram without being able to turn your followers into subscribers – at least – is going to prove a tough job. Not impossible, just tough.The goal of marketing isn’t likes, shares, comments, or follows – it’s income. Click To Tweet
You can take advantage of tools like Linktree and SleekBio to create simplified landing pages where you can direct users to specific links, but sadly it doesn’t change the fact that you still need to get people to click the link in your bio in the first place.
Can I Repurpose Content?
As much as possible, create content that’s tailored to the platform.
For instance, 1080 x 1080 images might work well on Instagram, but the recommended size for Facebook posts is 1200 x 630.
Short-form videos might be all the rage on Instagram, but you might want to experiment with long-from videos on Facebook.
And so on.
This isn’t to suggest you need to reinvent the wheel every time. But you can, and should, repurpose where it makes sense to do.
When using social media, I pay attention to three things – traffic generated to my website, email subscribers, and sales. Engagement feels good, sure, but I’m clear it’s not going to do anything for my business.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take advantage of social media. Just beware of falling in love with the addiction machine when it is delivering no real business value.