Should your Holistic Business invest in Facebook, Instagram or Both?

Holistic Team -

One of the most difficult challenges that you will face as a holistic business owner is figuring out the best way to spend your social media dollars.

It is likely that one of the first names that pops into your head when contemplating social media advertising is Facebook.

Chances are you have also heard a lot of buzz about Instagram too. The question becomes one of how to spend your social media budget when considering Facebook vs. Instagram for your holistic business advertising options.

Instagram Advertising Demographics

If your holistic business caters to selling to young females, in particular, then you should take a serious look at Instagram.

Omnicore reports that Instagram reaches an engaged audience of young female users with 60 percent of those users in the 18 to 35 age range, and 72% of teenagers using the platform.

While Instagram is obviously a favorite of teenage girls and young women, that does not mean you can't sell to males on this platform.

The audience on this site is comprised of 43.7% males per Omnicore's published stats. Instagram reports 60% of shoppers use Instagram as their "Go-To" site for finding new products with over 200 million visiting a minimum of at least one business profile on a daily basis.

Granted, it is worth mentioning that not every consumer has an Instagram account, but it is hard to argue against this popular platform with Omnicore's official, published count of 849.3 million users.

Facebook Advertising Demographics

It is no secret that decision-makers analyze the strategic use of advertising dollars by evaluating conversion rates, demographics, and ROI before making a decision about advertising vehicles to use and how much to spend on each site.

With that said, Facebook demographics are also impressive and not to be dismissed by holistic business owners who have prospects that match Facebook's core audience demographic.

For example, if your company's target market is older and likely to be a college graduate, then Facebook is the place to advertise with 62% of online Seniors over 65 on the site as reported by Omnicore.

Additionally, Omnicore reports that 82% of college graduates use Facebook with 74% on the site daily, and with 75% of Facebook users earning $75K or more.

The Benefits of Advertising on Facebook

1. Facebook reaches a huge audience of over 2 billion users.

As a giant force in social media boasting over 2.5 billion users as last reported by WSI, Facebook is in a unique position to reach a much wider audience than other platforms. Business owners of holistic businesses who need to promote brand awareness should definitely consider some Facebook advertising. There is no doubt that your customers expect to see you on this platform.

2. Facebook's thumbnails drive traffic to your corporate website.

Driving traffic to your corporate website is a top priority for any business. Facebook is the perfect social media partner for this important lead generation activity. Facebook's thumbnails are especially attractive and click-worthy. This makes it easy for you to link articles and website posts to get the traffic you need.

3. Facebook is fertile ground for conducting market research.

Market research provides crucial data for any company. Since most businesses do business on Facebook, this platform provides a lot of information about your competitors that can be useful for analysis purposes. Knowledge is power when it is time to separate yourself from the pack in a meaningful way to gain market share. Be sure to review Facebook Page Insights to learn more about the prospects viewing your page.

The Downside of Facebook Advertising

1. Organic marketing on Facebook has declined significantly since 2012.

There are some definite limitations that must be considered when evaluating Facebook advertising. A 63% drop is not something to ignore, especially when you compare it to Instagram's organic marketing growth reported to be 115% by 99designs.

2. Facebook has rules that limit your company's ability to market.

For one, there is a 5000 friend limitation. Additionally, there is a 5000 number limit to the number of pages a user can "like." Groups are also limited to 250. Once your group becomes popular, it becomes harder to stay in touch as intended via members' inboxes.

Yet another problem presented by Facebook revolves around location limits. When you plan an event on Facebook, you can change details such as the name and location whenever you want to until you reach the magic 2500 number. At that point, you are cut off and can't make any more changes.

The Pros of Using Instagram's Advertising

1. Lyfe Marketing reports that one-third of Instagram users have used the app to buy something online.

Since you are in business to make sales, this fact should make you sit up and take notice.  Given the 1 billion users who are active on a monthly basis, that calculates to 333,333,333 purchases. There is no reason you can't be selling to those people and benefitting from the traffic Instagram generates.

2. The Instagram platform responds favorably to inexpensive, organic traffic building strategies. 

This proven way to communicate attracts new followers and establishes brand loyalty without paying for advertising or appearing to be too pushy.  Establishing your company as a source of good information on Instagram provides your business with brand recognition and authority.

3. Instagram makes it easy to access business account benefits by switching your personal account into a business account.

This strategic business decision means you can use the call-to-action button on your page.  Additionally, you are now in a position to use ad dollars as a way to promote your posts to attract more views and prospects. As a business account user you can use account insights to analyze your advertising results.

4. Three-fourths of Instagram users respond by taking action to ads on Instagram.

No. Unfortunately, they aren't all purchases. But, they are excellent prospects who visit your website or click on Contact Us buttons so that you can capture their information and keep sending ads to them until they do purchase.

5. People tend to engage more with Instagram's content since it is comprised of videos and photos.

The commonly quoted adage about a picture being worth a thousand words goes a long way towards explaining the appeal of Instagram.  Followers are emotionally engaged by photos. Marketers understand the importance of hooking prospects using emotional images in the selling process. While text can be used, it is not necessary.  Holistic sellers who are trading in fashion or other aesthetic products can use Instagram to attract first-time buyers with beautiful photography or videos designed to tap into a prospect's heart and head.

6. Instagram's tracking metrics make A/B split testing possible.

A/B split testing is a proven way to compare and evaluate different ads to decide which ones are most cost-effective. The way it works is that you can run different ads at the same time to provide the metrics necessary to carefully determine the best ads to run and why.  Good data can help business owners make adjustments when necessary to ensure advertising dollars are being spent where they will deliver the best results.

7. Instagram represents a relatively cheap advertising platform with less competition.

Obtaining the best advertising possible at the lowest price is always a no-brainer.   Considering the high-engagement level of Instagram users, reaching out to this group of young consumers while this platform is still affordable ensures that you will build a loyal following while the prices are still low and many of your competitors are still missing in action spending their money on other sites.

The Downside of Instagram's Advertising

While building a case for Instagram advertising is not difficult in many cases, there are some drawbacks to be assessed as you define your marketing plan.

1. Instagram users can't use links on a picture and are limited to a single link in the bio.

The obvious disadvantage represented by limiting links is that it can be more difficult to get prospects to your landing page or website. Since visuals attract Instagram's audience, this rule is a big blow that must be worked around.

2. It is difficult to edit images on Instagram.

As a platform that is known for visual imagery as depicted in photos and videos, the editing tools are limited. Many users find that they must download tools they need separately as a way to compensate.

3. The Instagram application can't be used with all devices.

Portable devices work best with Instagram. The app is compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android mobile operating systems.  While there is a web version that is used with desktop computers, the app works better on smartphones and tablets.

The Takeaway

If you know your customer well, then it should be easy to decide on an advertising strategy that makes sense as you evaluate advertising solutions that answer the Facebook vs. Instagram for your holistic business question.

The data has to be evaluated and respected when it is time to spend advertising dollars. A case can be made for spending money on both Instagram and Facebook for most holistic business owners, unless you are catering to a narrowly defined demographic.

If your business caters to older consumers, then Facebook is the logical choice. Conversely, if you sell primarily to young women who are likely to be on Instagram, then you definitely need to be taking advantage of the cheap advertising and young female audience on Instagram.

It is very important to consider certain deal-breakers that can eliminate either Facebook or Instagram. If your ideal customer is more likely to do business on a desktop computer than a mobile device, then Instagram is probably not the right answer since it is best-used on smartphones and tablets.

The other deal-breaker to consider is the age of your prospects. It is unlikely that a 67-year-old is going to favor Instagram over Facebook. It makes sense to play the odds and align with the data points based on your consumer profiles.

For example, if your products appeal to all ages, then it makes sense to spend money on both platforms.