Why I prefer Instagram over Facebook to promote my business.
As is the case with many small business owners, I don’t have a lot of spare time. I fill many roles within the business, wearing many hats and my days are filled working on my client’s projects. I also don’t have a huge budget for marketing. So, when I look at promoting my business, I want to ensure I get the biggest and best return on my investment – that investment being my time.
While I am lucky to have the expertise and tools available so I can do it myself, social media marketing takes time and that is a “cost” to me. If I’m working on my business then I am not charging my time to someone else. I typically have to maintain my social media accounts after work hours or on weekends – time I am not spending with family and friends. That’s also a “cost” to me.
Any time or money I spend marketing my business must have a significant investment return for me to consider it worthwhile.
Secondly, I founded RAM Marketing 20+ years ago so am fortunate to have a large stable of regular clients. I don’t need to attract dozens of new clients each week.
And that’s why I prefer to use Instagram over Facebook to promote my business.
Why Instagram and not Facebook?
The overwhelming majority of new business enquiries I receive come from organic Google searches and, thankfully, referrals. Social media is not a big driver of new business for me.
Maintaining social media accounts properly is time-consuming and I simply don’t have the time to dedicate to it. Secondly, because the reward (i.e. new business enquiries) is low it doesn’t motivate me to dedicate hours each week to it. I want bang for my buck!
With all this in mind, the reason I prefer Instagram over Facebook is that I can use hashtags on Instagram to indicate what my posts are about. Think of hashtags on Instagram like keywords are to Google.
Using hashtags on Instagram like keywords on Google
Below is an example of how a small business might use hashtags on Instagram like keywords:
Mary is a keen organic gardener. She follows the hashtag #organicgardeningtips on Instagram in the hope of picking up some tips and tricks. The company Organic Soil Goodness specialise in a natural soil conditioner created specifically for organic gardens. Whenever Organic Soil Goodness post on Instagram they should add the hashtag #organicgardeningtips to their posts in an effort to get noticed by a potential customer like Mary.
This is exactly how I use Instagram. I tag posts with relevant hashtags I think potential customers will use to search for ideas, information and examples of the services I offer. I can’t do this on Facebook. Facebook is not an easy platform to attract new customers unless using paid advertising (which it’s assumed is Facebook’s goal).
When is Facebook better for small business?
In my opinion, Facebook can be a great way to communicate with existing customers, particularly via Facebook Groups. Although, it must be pointed out that the organic reach of business posts on Facebook are extremely low (I’ve heard less than 4%) – read this article for more information. When communicating with my clients I prefer direct email marketing. At least I know my email will be delivered to their inbox. There is no certainty any of my followers will see be shown my post on Facebook (or Instagram).
I still manage several Facebook accounts on behalf of clients. After the major Facebook changes in January 2018, we have noticed a drop in our organic reach. Fortunately, it didn’t have a marked effect on any of my client’s businesses (read why below).
It is important to mention that Facebook is still the largest social media platform in the world with over 100 billion active users and it is still an effective marketing tool for businesses across many industries. Care just needs to be taken to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment – whether it’s your time, staff time or the cost of employing a social media marketing manager.
But Facebook owns Instagram…
True, and that’s why I offer this word of warning to all small business owners :
My recommendation to all small businesses is to NOT rely on any social media platforms as a means of communication with your customers. The Facebook changes in January 2018 and Cambridge Analytica data sharing problems are a testament to how the rules can change, quite literally, overnight.
As a business owner you don’t have ownership over the contacts you have accumulated on social media nor do you have control over how the platforms operates, shares your information or shows your posts. The rules can change at any time – and they do!
Recent media reports indicate that new subscriber levels on Facebook have stagnated. The Cambridge Analytica data security breach saw people unsubscribe from the platform in droves and teenagers consider Facebook “uncool”, preferring Instagram and Snapchat.
Want more information about which social media platform(s) are best for your business?
For the untrained, social media can be extremely time consuming and yield little results. Sometimes it works, but more often than not, it doesn’t. I estimate that approximately 80% of businesses aren’t using social media properly. Before launching your business on social media, it is important to first device a social media marketing strategy. If you don’t have a purpose or know what results you want to achieve. If not, your social media efforts will be disjointed and unlikely to gain traction. This is why social media doesn’t work for many business owners. They fail to plan. If this is happening to you, or perhaps you’re not even sure where to start, my social media training courses and consultancy services will give you the understanding and confidence to use social media successfully.
No time to manage your social media accounts in-house? Not getting the results you want? Followers not even seeing your posts? Sick of tie-in contracts and ongoing fees? With some insight into your business, I can advise you what social media platform(s) will best suit your products and services, thereby attracting the attention of your customers. I can work with you to device a strategic social media marketing plan that will reap the results you want – all within your budget constraints. And, if you’re too busy to manage your social media in-house, my social media management services provide the perfect solution. No tie-in contracts or ongoing fees – just flexible social media management services tailored to your specific requirements. It’s simple and affordable.