As a businessperson that understands the influence of social media in this day and age, you and your company have probably begun or have been using the most popular social networks Facebook and Twitter to help in your marketing efforts. But as important as these two platforms are, the two of the fastest growing social networks Pinterest and Instagram are also worth investing in as marketing tools.
Both Pinterest and Instagram focus on the visual aspect of social networking, capitalizing on the natural preference of people towards images and the admittedly shorter attention spans of the current generation. Although these two share that fundamental idea, the way they tackle it differs greatly, so you must be able to know which approach will benefit your business the most.
Pinterest and Instagram for Business
Essentially, it is a digital bulletin board where users can “Pin” pictures of whatever interests them, hence the name.
Be it a pair of the latest trending shoes, a poster for a critically-acclaimed indie film, a cover for a hit multiplayer videogame, or a still from a photo-op of a famous rock band, they can share anything and everything they’re into for others to see and possibly make a connection through Likes and “Re-pins”.
This concept takes off from the old “dream board” idea, and it has taken off online. Pinterest reached 11.7 million unique monthly visits from the US back in February 2012, and it was only launched a little under three years ago. This accomplishment made it the fastest growing independent site in the US.
Although only a quarter of the total online population knows about the site and only 3% use the site, the people who do use it use it a lot. According to Social Media Today, 50% of its user base logs on daily, and 60% look forward to using it more often in the future. 41% also pin brand-related content, and the company has even opened new tools and features to businesses.
Coupled with its fast growth rate, these facts make it a very promising avenue for your business’ marketing campaign.
Compared to Pinterest, Instagram keeps its image-sharing core much simpler. It started as an app for iOS devices that lets users add all sorts of cool filters to the photos they’ve taken with their gadgets and share them instantly on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The principle has remained the same even when Facebook bought it for $1 billion, but it has since branched off to Android devices as well. Also, it now lets users create profiles on the Web that have a similar look to Pinterest boards.
It has more than 15 million users who’ve uploaded more than 400 million pictures, and there’s no stopping anytime soon. Compared to Pinterest though, only 31% of Instagram’s users log on daily, only 40% wants to increase their usage in the future, and just 35% share brand-related content.
Pinterest vs. Instagram
As the numbers say, Pinterest seems to hold an advantage over Instagram for businesses. However, numbers alone don’t tell the whole story as to why this is the case. To get the full picture, you need to understand how both of their processes work.
- Pinterest operates on people’s desires to define their selves through a myriad of images of things they either have or want to have in the future. People who go to Pinterest can immediately see all numerous pictures in a format that’s suited for browsing through, leading to longer visits as they look for others who share the same interests.
- Instagram deals with a more personal touch with users uploading pictures of the things they do as a sort of glimpse into their lives. Other users can like a photo and comment on it, and they can follow the users they like so they always get updates.
Unlike Pinterest, images show up one at a time in a feed based on chronological order, and there is no “Re-sharing” between users’ Instagram accounts. This lends to shorter visits where people just upload a photo, look at a few, Like and comment on what interests them, then move on.
These differences show that Pinterest allows for more flexibility through a wider reach, while Instagram leans toward the intimate and the individual.
Understanding and Utilizing the Differences
Because these two social platforms work differently, you have to know which one you can use more effectively for your business.
- Pinterest allows for more obvious product marketing because of its “dream board” concept where people pin stuff they’ve been dreaming to get. Of course, there’s a limit to shameless advertisement, as users can get tired of just seeing your business’ merchandise all the time. They still want to see something that speaks to their identities that isn’t a potential purchase.
Once they notice that your brand “gets” their sensibilities with valuable pins, you’ll find your brand spreading like wildfire throughout the Internet.
- Instagram can help give your company a more human face to your customers. Do this by sharing exclusive pictures of your personal anecdotes that still relate to your industry, stuff that goes on in your office and with your employees, what all of you do for fun, and other similarly cool things.
That’s not to say you can’t also post pictures of your products, but do so in a context that is relatable to your audience and not just in a hard-sell way.
You can also launch contests that ask people to upload pictures of them in some enjoyable activity with your product in hand, and share them through their networks with an awesome reward for most Likes, Shares, Retweets, etc.
It’s all just a matter of knowing your target audience and what you as a business can deliver, whether it’s a huge catalogue that echoes a desired lifestyle or a special connection that relates to the everyday happenings of your consumers.
Jillyan Scott is a content specialist for Salehoo.com, an online community for online traders and retailers. They offer a wide range of products from online sales training and their leading product a wholesale directory.