|Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.|
The Facebook/Instagram Connection
Whether you market your company through a Facebook Page or prefer posting to Instagram, the two social networks are inextricably linked since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012. Over the last several years, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, made big changes to connect both platforms behind the scenes as well as to the public.
Understanding how these two networks are connected and how they differ can help you leverage their combined tools to streamline your social media marketing efforts.
Differences Between Facebook and Instagram
While having Facebook and Instagram connected can seem like a convenience, there are still differences between the two that affect your social media marketing approach. One difference is in the audience they reach. Facebook skews older, attracting more middle-aged users while Instagram attracts younger ones. While there is some overlap in audiences, you should consider modifying your post messaging and imagery to fit the audience.
Posting styles are different on each platform as well. For example, Instagram posts typically contain multiple hashtags but using hashtags on Facebook is not a best practice. While using emojis is common on both platforms, they are used far more frequently and in greater quantity on Instagram than on Facebook.
Another difference between the two social networks is the image specifications for posts. Ideal Facebook post dimensions are 1200 x 630 pixels while Instagram images are typically square (1080x1080px recommended) although Facebook does accommodate square images. If you’re limited in time and design resources, using the square dimensions can be used cross-platform.
Similarities Between Facebook and Instagram
How are these two social networks alike? Both Facebook and Instagram control the way content is displayed in the feed using algorithms. Both do not display content feeds in chronological order. Instead of showing the most recent posts, they show what the algorithms deem "relevant." The algorithms instantly analyze posts, scoring them and arranging them in descending, non-chronological order for each individual user, supposedly based on each person’s interests and activities on the platforms.
What do these algorithms mean to you? Your posts will only appear to a select number of your followers because the software and computer code that both Facebook and Instagram use limits post visibility. While Meta and other social networking companies will claim they use the algorithms to serve more relevant content to each user, the reality is you will need to pay for advertising on either or both platforms to break through these limits.
Facebook and Instagram Connected Features
One major way Meta connected Facebook and Instagram is through the Meta Business Suite, the place where you can manage not only those two platforms but Messenger as well. Through the Business Suite, you can view notifications and respond to messages on both Facebook and Instagram. You can create or schedule posts, stories, and ads for either or both platforms. You can also view insights for your Facebook Page and Instagram account in the suite of tools.
Another way your Facebook Page and Instagram account are connected is through the Meta Ads Manager where you can manage ads for both accounts. You can connect your Instagram account to Ads Manager by adding it to your Meta Business Manager or connect it directly through your Facebook Page’s settings.
If you only have an Instagram account and want to use this powerful self-serve advertising tool, you will need to first set up a Facebook Page in order to access the Meta Business Suite. Once you set up your Page, you can use Ads Manager to create ads, choosing your objective from the categories Awareness, Consideration, or Conversion.
Next, you need to choose Placement to specify where you want your ads to run - on Instagram, Facebook, or both. The Meta Ad Manager will show you a preview of how your ad will appear on Instagram and Facebook depending on your selections.
Cross-posting is made easy between Facebook and Instagram. Using the Meta Business Suite for planning out and scheduling your posts, you can opt to post to both platforms or one or the other. If you are posting to Instagram, you have the option to simultaneously post to your Facebook feed.
Posting the exact same content on Facebook and Instagram can save you time but isn’t ideal because of the differences in audiences and posting styles. Posting stories to both platforms at the same time, however, is convenient and can help your content reach more people. With your Facebook and Instagram accounts connected, you can initiate stories from either platform and choose to simultaneously post your stories to one or both.
As you can see, Facebook and Instagram are linked in ways that can create convenience but also potential confusion. Take care to craft posts and ads that are geared toward each respective audience. Make time to interact on each platform to engage your followers. Take advantage of the connections between the two platforms but don’t forget to accommodate their differences.
Read other social media blogs by Aliza Sherman