Before you read any further, I would like to remind you that I am not a marketing expert or professional. All the advice and analysis in this blog are from other writers, past content editors and my personal experience. What worked for us might not apply to you.
I will not be held liable for the lack of results in your marketing campaign should you choose to proceed after reading the blog. It is also not a tutorial about how to set up a marketing campaign for your book. No, I will not make a separate blog for it as these sites tend to update new features regularly and the information can be easily outdated.
What I will be covering is a comparison of advertising on either platform from a writer's perspective.
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#1: Age Group & Demographic
Most people know that only 'boomers' use Facebook. However, it's not exactly true that only young people use Instagram. In fact, in certain countries, Facebook is more popular than Instagram regardless of age group.
Understanding where your potential readers are is crucial. It's easy to google up a question to see live statistics of users for each platform and even the most popular social media voted in each country.
#2: Marketing Agenda
Not everyone advertises something to get people to buy their product. Sure, it would be nice if they did. However, not everyone is able to afford it even if you shoved it in their faces.
Here, I believe that understanding your aim before creating a campaign will give you better-streamlined results in the sea of people. Both Facebook and Instagram allow the advertisement to have a call to action. Some options are to send the page or advertiser account a message, others are telling viewers to like page etc.
If your aim is to redirect a reader to your book using a link, I suggest Facebook as Instagram doesn't make it easy for viewers to be redirected in one click. That's the only real difference between the two platforms in my opinion. People are lazy, they like things that are easy and in their face. If they have to put in the effort, it's a useless campaign to host. Most people wouldn't put in so much effort for a stranger if it isn't going to benefit them in some way.
#3: Social Media Account Page
For the sceptics, it isn't unusual for them to do a data scan on the advertiser's account before they decide to give the advertised product or service a try. In this case, I'm sure some readers are similar. For reasons, some readers simply want to know if what they are seeing comes from a direct source or third-party app. Will there be options available to them if the app they have to read it on becomes incompatible with their phones etc.
Having a solid official social media account for your writing is a must before you start a marketing campaign. After all, nobody wants to invest in buying a house without first seeing that it has the right foundations.
#4: User Device
This is a little confusing. It's more common to see users of Instagram on a mobile device and a split between computer and phone for Facebook. If the book or story you want to advertise is on a phone app that they must download, I suggest that you target mobile users as a priority on Facebook or skip it and try Instagram first for your first campaign.
#5: Advertisement Format
Facebook and Instagram are rather similar. However, the user preference differs greatly between the two. Instagram audience are more visually demanding and hate to spend the time reading details. Even if you are a writer and words are your thing, your potential readers are not going to click more to read your lengthy post. They are likely to scroll and like your picture so be mindful when designing your advertisement post.
Include all the important details including your 'call to action' on the image of your post. You can elaborate a little more in the description on Instagram and a lot more on Facebook. Heck, it is even possible to add a link for the viewers to click on with Facebook. However, on Instagram, you might want to get creative by adding a link in your bio instead and getting them to click on your bio.
Hashtags are a new thing that works better on Instagram than on Facebook. Although you can spam a lot of hashtags, I suggest looking at popular tags and more niche tags that fit your content. This way, you can scope your wide and specific audience. Anything that is interactive in a post is usually a good thing. It can be something as simple as "Drop a comment for free voucher code in DMs" etc.
There is no right or wrong way of marketing. While there are plenty of pros and cons to either platform, I would suggest first-time writers explore both platforms and test the reactions several times each campaign, adjusting them accordingly until you find your sweet spot. It could be costly but if you truly are serious about getting your book to people fast and not waiting for them to come, this is the way to do it.