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Is Instagram the new Facebook?

instagram 3198093 1920Facebook has not had a good year.

The aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal rumbles on, and the recent “improvements” that restricts the amount of company message shown has not pleased businesses.

Small wonder then that Instagram has seen rapid growth in membership, eager for its more direct, personal approach with the emphasis on fun, not politics or opinionated rants.

So, is it time to say farewell to Facebook and get into Instagram? Yes and no…

 Facebook and Instagram: two are one

The irony of Instagram being owned by Facebook isn’t lost on new members, but the more inspirational, less judgemental atmosphere has apparently won them over, according to a report on USA Today.

Sadly, that doesn’t mean that Instagram is free from the less savoury parts of Facebook, such as trolls spam or the inevitable ‘fake news’. Instagram itself admits to over 20 million people seeing content from fake Russian accounts. That seems a lot until compared to the 800million users who log in once a month - and the 500million who log in every day.

When Facebook bought Instagram for $1billion in 2012, the app/network made zero in revenue. Thanks to advertising, that figure will change to revenue of $10billion in 2019. Not a bad return for Facebook in just seven years.

Time to jump ship?

So, is it worth your business being on Instagram, and should your business ditch Facebook?

The answers in our opinion, are (in order) yes and no, with two big caveats.

  1. Instagram is not like Facebook. It’s all about the visual and the personal. So, if you don’t know how to use the camera on your phone, it’s probably not for you (or your business).
  2. As of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users. Looking up companies on Facebook is now considered by many THE way to check out a business online. So, if you haven’t got a company page, you could be missing out on all those users, making all those searches. But it needs to be an active page, full of interesting posts. If you don’t post to your Company page at all, or only once in a blue moon, it’ll make your business look inactive, dull and people will be actively turned off.

Which network is right for my business?

The simple answer is - both. However, you need a different approach to succeed on either for your business.

  • Facebook is about information, providing regular updates, news, offers, insights, whatever, that are primarily text-driven. Yes, you’ll use images and video to illustrate, and sometimes you won’t write a lot, but it’s ultimately a word thing. It can also link to specific pages on your website, so is great for driving traffic.
  • Instagram is image-driven to its core. Yes, you can add text under an image, and you should also attached hash tags, but in essence the photo should speak for itself. It can delight, inspire or just plain state its case, but it needs to work in isolation. You cannot actively link an image to your website, end of.

Instagram, the personal touch

Many of our clients say “Oh, but my business isn’t visual - we don’t sell anything we can photograph”. That’s actually where Instagram comes into its own. It can provide a human touch to an otherwise faceless business, or where mentioning a client, let alone photographing them, is a big no-no.

This is where you need to become creative - and nosey. Everyone likes to have a peek behind the scenes, and that includes service industries. They like to see the real people that do their accounts, host their website, or provide their insurance (yes, really). They also like to see beyond the desk and the day job, so those photos of charity runs, the team awards dinner (early on!), or the lovely wildlife you saw on your way in to work are all of interest.

You can also post stuff you and your business finds inspiring, from memes and quotes to local heroes and newsworthy images. You can also post videos to Instagram, so think of events worth capturing, especially in slow-mo or time-lapse.

Instagram in action

For a great example of how to work Instagram when you can’t show a product or even your customers, and have limited tiome available, check out the feed for UK divorce lawyers LGFL Ltd (lgflltd). They use our social media service to provide their core Instagram content, and then add extras on top as inspiration strikes. It’s only been going a few weeks but Director Rita Gupta already has 68 followers, a great achievement from a standing start. We also post on their Facebook page (link) and Twitter feed (link), so you can see how the three interact, whilst keeping a distinct channel ‘flavour’ of their own.

Instagram and Facebook Ads

If Facebook are to turn Instagram from financial zero to hero (literally), they will need to show ads. A lot of ads. In fact, they already do, as options to show ads on Instagram are available to anyone paying for Facebook Ads. In fact, you need a Facebook Page to run any Instagram ads. The difference is, you need to be more inventive and use images in a more engaging way to succeed with advertising on Instagram. (More info and demos here).

Snap happy

If you’re toying with the idea of using Instagram for your business, but have never used it, our advice is to have a go using a personal account. Take pictures that you think others might find interesting, try out the built-in tools and follow some of your competitors and see what they do! If it feels good to you, you can set up a business page with confidence.

The channels they are a changin’

Social media is an ever-shifting landscape and the chances are, Facebook and Instagram will one day be surpassed by something else. However, in the meantime, rumours of their deaths are much exaggerated. Humans are also creatures of habit, and old habits die hard.

So, whilst some may have deleted their Facebook account, they’ll still want their fix of new stories and interesting stuff in Instagram.

Your business just needs to provide it.

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