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Comparing Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for Small Business Promotion

We know you only have so much time in the day to dedicate to social media marketing. You have a business to run, after all. That’s why it’s so important to invest your time and energy in the right social media marketing plan. Without strategy, insight, and direction, you could be wasting resources and cutting into your ROI. But don’t worry - Media À La Carte is here to break down the top three social media platforms when it comes to marketing for small businesses. Let’s take a look at how Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok measure up in areas like audience demographics, content format and engagement, advertising options, organic reach and algorithm, and brand authenticity and engagement.

A Comparative Review of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok as Primary Marketing Platforms for Small Businesses

Audience demographics

  • Facebook: Facebook boasts over 2.8 billion monthly active users. That’s over a third of the world’s population! The primary demographics for Facebook skew a bit older, averaging ages 25-54.

  • Instagram: Even though we social media marketers spend so much time touting Instagram, it only has about 1 billion monthly active users compared to Facebook’s 2.8 billion. Instagram’s demographic skews quite a bit younger, averaging ages 18-34. 

  • TikTok: TikTok’s user base keeps rising at 1 billion monthly active users and counting. It’s a favorite amongst ages 26 and younger.

Content format and engagement

  • Facebook: On Facebook, businesses can share text, images, videos, and live streams.  Engagement is driven by likes, comments, and shares.

  • Instagram: Instagram began as and is still visual-content heavy with photos, videos, stories, reels, and IGTV. Engagement is made up of likes, comments, shares, and story views.

  • TikTok: TikTok features short-form video content (generally 15-60 seconds in length). Engagement is based on likes, comments, shares, and video views.

Advertising options

  • Facebook: Facebook offers precise targeting options based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Brands have access to various ad formats including image, video, carousel, and lead generation.

  • Instagram: Since Instagram is also owned by Meta, it has similar ad options as Facebook: photo, video, carousel, stories, and explore ads.

  • TikTok: TikTok offers native ads as well as more creative opportunities including sponsored hashtag challenges, branded effects, and influencer partnerships.

Organic reach and algorithm

  • Facebook: Uniquely and more recently, Facebook prioritizes content from friends and family over branded content. Still, it’s critical for brands to curate engaging content that fosters meaningful interaction so that they have the best chance at reaching their target audiences.

  • Instagram: Instagram prioritizes content based on relevance, relationship, and timeliness. It’s essential for businesses to create high-quality, engaging content to increase visibility and reach.

  • TikTok: TikTok has a complex algorithm that serves content to users based on their interests, preferences, and past interactions. Here’s an opportunity for businesses to gain traction quickly through engaging and shareable content.

Brand authenticity and engagement

  • Facebook: Facebook’s longer-form content and diverse user base enables businesses to establish more in-depth connections with their audience through storytelling and community engagement.

  • Instagram: Instagram’s visual-drive encourages businesses to showcase their brand personality through compelling imagery and storytelling. There’s also the opportunity for real-time engagement through stories and reels.

  • TikTok: TikTok thrives on authenticity, humor, and creativity. Here’s your chance to showcase your brand in a playful and relatable manner by participating in challenges and trends.

So, which social media platform is best for your small business? That depends on your audience, offerings, and objectives. If your customers are Gen Z, you’d better be on TikTok. If you’re looking for the greatest possible reach, Facebook has the largest user base. And if you sell beautiful and aesthetic products, you want to feature those on a visual-centered platform like Instagram.

We recommend focusing your efforts on at least two primary platforms (that is, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok) for optimal cross-pollination of your marketing content—though, remember, your content shouldn’t look exactly the same on each platform. It’s also a good idea to experiment on different platforms and review your analytics to see what’s working best for your unique brand. 

Still feeling lost in your social media marketing endeavors? Schedule a consultation with Media À La Carte and we can begin to help you plan out the ultimate social media marketing strategy for your small business. 

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