The difference between Facebook & Instagram

One of the most common questions asked about social media is “What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?


On the surface both social media platforms, though different in appearance, might seem to accomplish the same goal.  Indeed “way back when” the two companies were competitors of sorts vying for the same customer base few people understood the differences between the two.  But things changed when Facebook purchased Instagram and began building two very different platforms that are designed to accomplish two very different goals.



In Facebook’s own words:

FACEBOOK: is a place for personal discovery. People come to Facebook to share their lives and connect with friends and family. 

INSTAGRAM: is a place for visual inspiration. People on Instagram follow their passions and explore the world through images.

Simply put, Facebook is primarily for expanding personal relationships within your circle of friends and family and for finding new friends. Facebook uses a words to communicate feelings about another person’s thoughts or ideal.  Facebook is mean to be personal, emotional, and relationship based.

Whereas, Instagram is primarily for exploring and expanding oneself.  Instagram is mostly a visual experience and so it helps a person explore the world around them through pictures.  Instagram presents concepts and ideals in a non-verbal visual format and doing so encourages freeform personal interpretation of the thought.  In this way Instagram encourages personal growth.

As both platforms mature the differences will become more obvious.

Is Instagram For You?

Time was when social media was simply a way to make a relatively personal connection with like minded individuals.

While that is still the case, it turns out that like minded individuals can also be your customers.  In this context social media is a business too. So how do you choose which (or all) social media platforms are correct communicators for your business customers?

The concept behind Instagram is that pictures, not words (as was originally in FaceBook), are the primary communicator in the post. Generally words being added only to give the photo more context to facilitate understanding.

The Instagram company is now owned by FaceBook.  FaceBook had come to realize the growing role that photos (and now video) played in user response so they purchased the company.  In a recent address to FaceBook stockholders, founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that video was the future of Facebook.  And, what better platform to prove that out than Instagram?

To decide about using Instagram in your business you need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Are you trying to drive sales or visits to your website?
    If your brand is already on Instagram and you’re looking to drive followers, then Instagram ads are a no-brainer. Or if you’re looking to drive site traffic and sales on mobile, then Instagram is for you.
  2. Does your customer demographic line up with Instagram’s user base?
    Instagram now has a community of more than 700 million users worldwide, with 100 million of those users joining in recent months. Instagram’s user base is also global, with the majority of those users living outside of the U.S. And according to a 2015 Pew Research study of U.S. residents, more than half of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Instagram, followed by 28% of online adults ages 30 to 49. Women are also more likely to be Instagram users (31% versus 24%). So there’s a great chance that your users are already on Instagram.

Ask yourself if the following list describes the customer demographic you would like to have for your business?  If so, then Instagram is right for your business.

  • Global reach.
  • 36% of the people between 18 and 49 use instagram.
  • 31% of all women are instagram users.

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