Organizations can gain a competitive edge by regularly promoting their best and practicing social media interaction through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. In today’s world, social media platforms are the most important channels for digital marketing, thanks to the 3.80 billion social media users as of January 2020.
A third of that number represents the Earth’s entire population! This is important to keep in mind. Businesses use social media for advertising their products and services, boosting brand visibility, and boosting engagement.
For successful marketing and to better suit your needs, most businesses need to pick one of four social media platforms. By comparing the most popular social media platforms, this post will help you overcome this challenge.
Instagram vs. Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Snapchat – The Comparison
The comparison will be drawn based on the following parameters:
- How they operate
- Global reach
- Rate of engagement
- Unique features
How does each social media platform operate?
Snapchat and Instagram are primarily picture-based, while Facebook favors recent updates. Twitter shares the latest news and updates, whereas Facebook encourages users to share fun elements.
Regardless of whether you post on Instagram or Facebook, your content will likely last a long time. However, when it comes to Twitter and Snapchat, a tweet lasts forever, though it soon gets replaced by another more popular tweet. Similarly, a snap disappears within 24 hours.
Snap offers users the ability to send videos and pictures directly to their friends, while Instagram users share their photos on their walls.
When comparing Instagram and Twitter, photos are given primary importance on Instagram, whereas hashtags and text are given precedence on Twitter. Snapchat, on the other hand, promotes private conversations exclusively, whereas Facebook encourages both public and private postings.
Which social media platform has the most global reach?
One billion people use this photo-sharing app, which is very effective for businesses of all types. Many users are from countries other than the US, even though it is the most popular. View the graph below for more information about Instagram’s geographical distribution.
How do you interpret this information?
Its global reach means that you can reach out to your target audience simultaneously, regardless of geography.
Facebook can be an ideal social media platform for small business marketing if the content adds genuine value to the community. At least 70% of your posts must be related to business tips, recent events, local news, or survey questions.
Approximately 2.45 billion users are using Facebook around the world. So, if you’re looking to gain a lot of visibility, Facebook is the one for you!
Approximately 1 – 4 p.m. is the best timeline for posting on Facebook. Shares and clicks need to be maximized.
Despite Twitter having a lower global user base than Facebook and Instagram, it remains an excellent tool for marketing your products.
Three hundred thirty million users can be targeted with hashtags to create targeted posts. Despite this, make sure that you’re posting exciting news on Twitter since it mainly serves as a forum for worldly updates.
Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social networks, with over 101 million daily active users and 400 million snaps per day.
Stats revealed 71% of Snapchat users are within the age group of 18 to 34. If your target audience does fall in this category, you should use Snapchat for business marketing as it has its users spread evenly in different countries.
Check out the graph below to see the number of Snapchat users in different countries.
Leading countries based on number of Snapchat users as of January 2020 (in millions)
Twitter vs. Instagram vs. Facebook vs. Twitter: As you can see, Instagram has the best global reach, and Facebook has the most users. So, both Instagram and Facebook are excellent choices if you’re looking to target users from several countries at once. At the same time, crisp and concise content on Twitter would do wonders for your business. And in case you can nail images, Snapchat is the one for you! So, depending upon your marketing needs, you can use any of the above platforms.
If you look at Instagram and Facebook users, you will find a vast difference. Every month, where Facebook receives more than one billion active users, Instagram receives only 600 million. On the other hand, figures for Facebook and Twitter users vary even more. Compared to a billion Facebook users per day, Twitter only has 100 million active daily users.
Snapchat is quickly gaining popularity, and the well-established Instagram draws five times more daily traffic than Snapchat.
Which social media platform has the best engagement rate?
Instagram vs. Facebook
Different facts and figures on Facebook and Instagram recently reported that the engagement rate of Instagram is higher than that of Facebook. The engagement rate of Instagram posts is 1.60%, whereas that of Facebook is only 0.09%.
When it comes to Twitter, the engagement rate ranges from 0.09% to 0.33%. Tweets encourage businesses to innovate and show only the essential facets of news and updates to their audience. However, Facebook provides ample space for businesses that want to give a detailed analysis of each event.
The app drives 6 billion views daily, and its engagement metrics suggest that an average user uses that app almost 18 times a day and spends 25-30 minutes on it. That’s enough to get your business idea through!
Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Snapchat vs. Instagram: Engagement Rate
The focus area of a business should be the target audience. Twitter can help you reach a broader audience in one go, while with Snapchat, you can reach only one person at a time.
If you compare the popularity of Instagram and Snapchat, Snapchat may be lagging, but its stories and live video features can create a higher engagement and recall rate. On the other hand, Instagram helps a business add multiple photos to one post.
If you compare Snapchat and Facebook, posts on Facebook add value to the community more quickly, while Snapchat adds value among friends and followers.
What are the unique features of social media platforms for business marketing?
There are several new features marketed by Instagram recently. Some are:
- Instagram Shopfronts: Instagram offers its users the opportunity to add a URL to their website.
- Instagram Ads: Intending to increase views, engagement, traffic flow, and high conversion rate, Instagram has introduced the ad facility through Facebook Ad Manager.
- Instagram Analytics: Though Instagram doesn’t have in-built analytics, it offers detailed analysis with the support of third-party services, like Sprout Social or Simply Measured.
- Geofilters – Instagram has introduced a unique feature, Geofilter, where users can easily share their current location without specifying their exact geographical location. Currently, it is available in selected places. It is a brilliant tool for business marketing.
Facebook has many unique features that are rarely available on other social media platforms. Some of them are:
- Facebook Cards: It is a unique marketing tool designed by Facebook in partnership with Moo.com, a printing service. In this, you can order to print a Facebook card with gift coupons or other promotional offers on 16 pt stock paper. It looks similar to your business profile and includes your cover photos, profile pictures, and contact details.
- Pages to Watch: This feature is basically to watch and keep track of the competitors’ pages. Currently, it lets you monitor five competitor pages and view the number of new likes every week.
- Invite Email Contacts: In the ‘Admin’ panel under the ‘Build Audience’ tab, Facebook has the option to invite email contacts to like the business page. Many email providers can do this and through Mailchimp, Constant Contact, iCloud, etc. The limit count set for inviting contacts is 5,000.
- Liberal ad Exchange helps Facebook and app developers earn profit by displaying ads on mobile phone screens.
- Facebook Messenger for Business: This new feature has been added to a messenger. Consumers can ask questions about anything while shopping or send notifications to the seller if the product is defective. As per the latest update, Facebook Messenger supports sharing 360-degree photos and HD videos of 1080p or more to iOS and Android users. This update is an excellent opportunity for video makers. Without video SEO, your videos will not rank on any video search engine platform like YouTube. Higher rankings of your videos will help people find your content efficiently, thus making it viral.
- Detailed Analytics: Under the ‘Posts’ tab, Facebook gives the option to get a detailed analytics report of the audience, posts, engagement, etc. This helps a brand evaluate its success rate and bring the necessary changes to the posts.
Twitter has unique features to help a business in the long run.
- ‘Go Live’ Button for Periscope: Twitter acquired Periscope, allowing seeing a “go live” button while composing tweets and broadcasting them directly through Twitter. Users can use live streaming to compile and publish long-form thoughts and responses.
- Native GIF Search: You can even share your thoughts with the help of GIFs. Posts with GIFs get 55% more engagement!
- Uncropped Image: Twitter has developed an uncropped photo update and a new view for multi-photo displays. This makes the platform more engaging and visually appealing.
Anti-harassment Features: Twitter has taken some serious steps against harassment and threats through a series of features and services so that the platform is secure to use. These features are:
- o Bold functionality for blocking, muting, and reporting abuse
- Launched Twitter Safety Center
- Clear definition of abusive behavior in Twitter’s terms of service
The most appealing feature of Snapchat is ‘Self-destruct’ – where shared elements disappear within a few seconds after viewing them. There are many more features that are exclusively available in Snapchat:
- Scores: A score will be rewarded under Snapcode after equating all the number of snaps sent and received, stories posted, and other activities. A friend’s score can be viewed when a friend on your contact list posts in the story feed or chat area. People use Snapchat just to get their scores up. You can use this to your advantage while promoting your business.
- Snapcode: Snapcodes are scannable codes. This can be used to add new friends. Once you click on the ghost icon at the top of the camera screen, you will find Snapcode on your profile screen.
- Snapstreak: It is another unique feature of Snapchat that shows different emojis next to Snapchat names on the chat screen. This denotes you have snapped with your friend within 24 hours for more than one consecutive day.
- Lenses: It helps add real-time special effects and sounds to snaps.
- Filters: Snapchat is known for its fun elements. It allows jazzing up the snaps by adding a filter to them.
Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Instagram vs. Snapchat: Unique Features
As far as unique features are concerned, each of these four platforms has its own set of features that are ideal for business marketing.
Instagram vs. Facebook
If you compare Instagram and Facebook for business, you will find Facebook has a Liberal Ad exchange feature, and Instagram Ads utilize Facebook Ad Manager to offer an ad service.
Facebook vs. Twitter
Facebook offers Facebook Live Streaming feature, whereas Twitter gives Periscope that helps you add a ‘go live’ button.
Twitter vs. Snapchat
The most significant feature of Twitter and Snapchat is that Snapchat has the ‘self-destruct’ feature for security, and Twitter has an anti-harassment feature.
Facebook vs. Snapchat
While Snapchat offers a Snapcode feature, Facebook has no QR code through which you can add a friend.
Snapchat vs. Instagram
However, while comparing Snapchat and Instagram, you will find that Instagram offers a unique ‘Geo-Filter’ feature to share the current location without specifying your precise geographical location. At the same time, there is no such feature on Snapchat.
Top Strategies to be followed for Effective Business Marketing on Social Media (Platform-wise)
While June 30th is celebrated as Social Media Day around the world, for business, each day should be social media day to attract more customers, engage them, and drive sales.
Business marketing on social media is dependent on three foundation elements: valuable content, a solid and analyzed strategy, and know-how.
Let’s check out how to develop a social media business marketing strategy using the above elements and turn your business into a known brand.
For effectively marketing your business on Instagram,
- focus on the unique qualities of your brand’s audience,
- tell a story with your caption and photograph,
- run some exciting and engaging contests,
- collaborate with popular influencers or micro-influencers of your niche, and
- use Instagram ads to target ads to your target audience.
As per the study conducted across 475+ global campaigns, ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram is 2.9x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising. Adapt the strategies as mentioned earlier so that users can recognize your images instantly and engage in liking and commenting. This will help:
- Increase traffic flow
- Improve sales graph
- Enhance brand awareness
- Increase branded hashtag mentions
As per the terms of service, anyone over 13 with a valid email address can create an account on Facebook. This is important because a business marketing strategy should be youth-centric. Teenagers are likely to spend most of their time on Facebook so that you can target your ads to them. More so, Facebook is now even more popular among middle-aged adults too.
An ideal Facebook marketing strategy should include:
- A recognizable profile pic that
- A maintained company account
- An explanatory “About Us” section on the company’s page
- Consistency among cover photos, posts, and profile CTAs
- Tailored organic posts
- Set timings of posting, without posting too often and too much
- Proper usage of multimedia posts
- Instant responses to messages and queries
- Usage of insights to analyze page performance
You must also use Facebook advertising to amplify the reach of your posts to your target audience.
Here’s what you can do to market your business on Twitter.
- Say ‘Thank you.’ 1 out of 4 profiles will follow you back if you thank them
- Search for influencers and micro-influencers, and interact with them regularly to carry out micro-influencer marketing
- Optimize your Twitter bio
- Track mentions and likes using Hootsuite – a popular social media tracking tool
- Provide special offers to followers
- Use images, videos, GIFs, etc.
- Integrate Twitter with other marketing efforts
- Tweet regularly, retweet, and like tweets
- Follow popular and relevant trends/hashtags.
- Use promoted tweets
- Use Twitter analytics to track your success rate.
By following these points of Twitter Marketing, you can grow your brand presence and community on Twitter.
Snapchat is perfect for real-time social media marketing. Here’s what you should do:
- Provide access to live events
- Deliver personalized content
- Take people behind the curtain
- Conduct contests
- Interact with influencers
Strategies adopted for each of the four social media platforms are distinctive, and none can be replicated by the other. One of them may be better for a short, engaging post, while the other is necessary to engage your audience in a fun manner.
Today, all the platforms are using distinctive features to maintain their followers, and it should come as no surprise that each of them is picking up a nice feature from its competitor and adding it to its own set of features. For example, snaps or stories, which were the brainchild of Snapchat, are now also a part of Instagram.
Similarly, both Twitter and Facebook allow posting multiple images in one post.
When collaborating with influencers or micro-influencers of your niche, all four platforms are equally important. Hashtags, sharing leads, effective CTAs, are necessary on all four platforms for better engagement.
Challenges in Social Media Platforms
Some of the most significant challenges are:
- A building or retaining the position on Instagram as the most reliable brand
- Searching where your followers are and then building a presence
- Interacting with your brand uncreating a stronger community
- Making users/followers use your services.
The greatest challenge you may face while conducting Facebook marketing is mapping the topics of the post. Choosing some boring facts or posting too many posts can adversely affect the image of your brand.
Another challenge is to meet the expectation of the consumers in terms of response time. Research shows that almost so many consumers write a complaint on Facebook and expect a response to their query within 60 minutes.
Despite adopting a proper marketing strategy, businesses may still face various challenges, such as:
- Twitter has limited operating experience. It also involves certain complexities of laws and regulations regarding privacy and security.
- Twitter often becomes the subject of bad press, so that it may affect the reputation of your brand.
- It is a race to stay ahead of user growth and meet their expectations.
- It involves a slow growth path.
It is tricky to cope with this fun messaging app, so brands face various challenges while marketing on Snapchat.
- It is difficult for users to know whether a snap has sound or not.
- The look and feel of the platform are not very unprofessional.
- It is hard to identify what and when to share.
- The platform may not be apt for your followers.
Snapchat vs. Instagram vs. Twitter vs. Facebook: Challenges
Both social media platforms and businesses using social media are struggling to retain their market positions. A business’s significant challenges while trying to master these social media platforms are mapping topics or limited characters and building a presence.
Challenges include meeting response time, slow growth, and when to share. In look and feel, Snapchat is considered less professional than Facebook and Instagram because 60% of its user base is between 18-34 years.
Instagram vs. Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Snapchat: Cost of Ads
It is a brilliant idea to use Instagram adverts on images, videos, carousal, and stories. They offer 2.5 times more clicks than ads on other social media sites.
Due to the impressive targeting capabilities and higher CTR, the cost of ads on Instagram is a little higher than that of Twitter and Facebook advertising. The estimated CPM of Instagram is $13. But, it is expected to reduce as more and more companies are using the platform. Instagram can provide:
- 97% lift in ad recall
- 16-point average ad recall lift
- 7x higher Nielsen ad recall vs. other study data
The advertisement cost of Facebook ranges from $0.16 to $1.00+ on every click. It varies from one industry to the other, based on the size of the audience and ad quality.
The cost is not too high. That is the main reason 1.5 million businesses spend money on mobile advertising, out of which 92% use Facebook ads.
Twitter has three types of advertising options
- Promoted tweets,
- Promoted accounts, and
- Promoted trends.
The cost of promoted tweets and promoted accounts ranges between $.50 – $4.00 per engagement, and promoted trends cost around $200,000 per day.
Clicking, replying, retweeting, or favoriting paid tweets and ads cost between $.50 – $2.00, depending on your targeting. For local campaigns, this figure is $1.35 per engagement.
Snapchat advertising is a bit costlier as compared to other social media platforms. However, it’s worth it as the swipe-up rate of Snapchat ads is five times more than the average CTR for other platforms. The cost for Snap ad campaigns starts from $10,000/month.
Snapchat sponsored lenses cost $450,000 per day from Sunday to Thursday, $500,000 for Fridays and Saturdays, and $700,000+ for holidays or special events.
It is essential to compare the costs among these four platforms before investing money in promoting posts.
Facebook vs. Instagram
Instagram is costlier than Facebook, though Instagram has started using Facebook Ad Manager to facilitate PPC ad services for businesses.
Twitter ads are cheaper than Instagram ads.
The unique feature of cost variation in Snapchat on different dates can be helpful while planning your ad placements in comparison to those on Twitter or Instagram.
As of today, Facebook is the cheapest platform, while Snapchat is the costliest among all.
Important Facts About Instagram
On average, users spend 53 minutes per day on Instagram. A study conducted by Simply Measured found that 85 million top brands are now using social media to grow their audience base. Most of them prefer Instagram over other social platforms.
Important Facts About Facebook
Research shows that visual content usage in Facebook campaigns can generate 65% more engagement within a month.
20% of Facebook posts promote other business events, tagging others, or sharing others’ content, and 10% of posts are promotional, displaying discounts or sales.
Important Facts About Twitter
Twitter ads containing videos are much cheaper (50%) in cost-per-engagement. 2 billion videos are watched on Twitter every day. Using videos is going to be an excellent option for you!
Moreover, Twitter users spend 26% more time looking at ads than other social media users.
Important Facts About Snapchat
Snapchat stories last for 24 hours only. These are a thread of snaps used to create a video narrative.
There are over 210 million snaps created each day on Snapchat, and almost 60% of viewers skip ads on Snapchat. So, in terms of ads, Snapchat might not be such a great idea for business marketing.
The fact is that you cannot deny the specific contributions of each social media platform to excel in business marketing.
If you look at the bigger picture, you will be able to find that:
- Twitter has the largest penetration potentiality as it is spreading slowly and steadily.
- Facebook is the largest platform to communicate with consumers effortlessly.
- Instagram is a better platform to use hashtags and post pictures.
- Snapchat seems to be a non-professional platform but has the maximum capacity to grab users’ attention.
- In a nutshell, you can choose any of these platforms but make sure that your brand’s postings follow the thumb rules of social media marketing:
- Maintain consistency while posting content.
- Maintain the right frequency. Do not bombard your followers with too many posts.
- Follow the timezone of your followers while posting.