Facebook vs. Instagram

As most of you know, I also have a website called FloridaSwimNetwork.com. In addition to blogging about and promoting competitive swimmers from the state of Florida (think Olympian Ryan Lochte), we also livestream the University of Florida home meets and other major swim meets across the state.

Reaching our fans is a major component of monetizing Florida Swim Network, and so I am obsessed with our social media stats. With over 11,000 fans on our Facebook page (and yes, those are authentic fans who came to our page and “liked” it) I am increasingly frustrated with our limited reach on there.  I understand Facebook is now in it to make money and therefore limits reaching our fans in order to force us to pay to “promote” our posts to those fans, but it is so exasperating!

I have frequently tweeted screen shots where we had many more “likes” on a photo than the total people Facebook claims saw the post, so I don’t entirely trust their analytics. Take this screen shot for example:


Only 4 people saw this post? Really?

Sigh. What’s a girl to do? Enter my teenage son.

The Social Media Experiment

My son saw my recent frustrations and announced Facebook is dying and that Instagram is what he and his friends use now. So, eureka! I would do a social media experiment. Now, this is far from scientific, of course, but I double posted 4 photos; putting them both on Facebook and then on Instagram to see the results.

Now, remember, we have over 11,000 fans on Facebook and just 380 fans on Instagram since we just really started experimenting with it.

After 40 minutes:

Facebook likes = 3

Instagram likes = 17

After 2 hours:

Facebook likes = 7

Instagram likes = 91

After 3 hours:

Facebook likes = 7

Instagram likes = 124

After 5 hours:

Facebook likes = 9

Instagram likes = 136

After 24 hours:

Facebook likes = 10

Instagram likes = 154

My Observations


Most of our fans are between 13 and 25 years of age – competitive swimmers. (Although their parents and grandparents are often fans, too.)  So, perhaps it is just our particular demographics that likes Instagram better.

Time/Day of Postings

Saturday morning is not the ideal time to post on Facebook – we generally see better response in the late afternoons on week days.

Shelf Life

I’ve seen different times reported for the average shelf life of the different media, but it appears our Facebook posting had a very short one – less than 2 hours. Instagram’s definitely lasted much longer. Is it the nature of the medium? Does it have a great reach because there is less clutter?

My far smarter marketing friends in the Social Media Club of Orlando surely will have better insight on the results of this experiment. And, yes, I am aware that Facebook likes text updates better than photos, but our fans just love those photos! We have had other Facebook photos get hundreds of likes, so maybe these 4 photos just weren’t that spectacular… but then again they sure went over well on Instagram.

So, will we abandon Facebook? Of course not, but we will definitely be increasing how we utilize our Instagram campaigns.

How about you? Any experiences with Instagram? Which social media channel gives you the biggest engagement for your postings?