Unlocking the differences between Facebook and Instagram users

by | Jul 21, 2016

Facebook or Instagram, which one does your audience check first? If you’re a small business owner, you should assume the answer is both. Here’s why. While there’s no doubt about the appetite for both social media platforms, users are actually connecting on these apps a little differently for different perspectives. Yes, in a sense, Facebook and Instagram are complementary and supplementary to each other. So it’s not so much important to know which app comes “first,” rather, it’s important to understand the dynamics at play with both.

Thankfully, Facebook, ever so curious, dug a little deeper with a study to understand the exact habits people have when they open up the popular photo- and video-sharing app and its flagship social network site. Here are the findings, according to Facebook’s People Insights, and takeaways for small business owners.

Time spent on Facebook and Instagram

People spend a lot of time on both their Facebook and Instagram feeds. In fact, a whopping 20 percent of the time Americans spend on mobile is eaten up by Facebook and Instagram. Facebook maintains that people are flocking to its social media sites for more than just news, family updates and inspiration.


For this reason, marketers and small business owners ought to know how the different demographics engage with each of the platforms.

Facebook and Instagram

The relationship between Facebook and Instagram

Facebook offered an interesting analogy to describe this dynamic partnership: “The relationship between Facebook and Instagram makes me think of white and red wine,” the author wrote on Facebook’s blog. In other words, people who love wine are sometimes drawn to red or white – but it won’t stop them from trying the other on any given night. Each one fulfills a need. As you may suspect, Facebook tends to attract users who want to satisfy their need for empowerment, recognition and connection, whereas Instagram is geared toward fun, relaxation and discovery, including ideas for do-it-yourself projects or new places to travel.


Find out what your clients like and need in the moment and use their appetite to offer your own message.

What people gravitate toward

When there’s a big event happening, users will open up each app for different reasons. On Facebook, people look for reactions and opinions while they may flock to Instagram for an insider’s perspective.


In a nutshell, Instagram’s window reveals a more intimate portrait of the world around us while Facebook’s window can take us into a more chaotic and fiery place. Your business may experiment with sharing reactions on Facebook while offering behind-the-scenes content on Instagram to garner the most attention.

What millennials do on these platforms

As you can imagine, millennials are fluent in social media. But they have a particular appetite for video, and are more likely to view content that revolves around fashion, beauty and interior design on Instagram than on Facebook.


Experiment with more video on both platforms to engage your clientele base. And try to make it beautiful. If your product is very visual or is based on the concept of beauty, have a strong Instagram campaign that highlights it. With social media, it’s always important to work toward your strengths and niches, but as you can see, close attention to the interest, needs and expectations of the Facebook community and the Instagram community is a great starting point for mixing things up with your own experimentation and capturing an audience.