When it comes to business promotion and customer interaction, social media is the hot place to be for any aspiring entrepreneur. But with so many different social media services on offer, it can be confusing to know which platform is best suited to your business.
Taking into consideration the two biggest visual platforms, we will compare Instagram and Pinterest to discover which one of these social media giants will be benefit your business.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media site which focuses on the sharing of visual media in the form of photographs and videos. The site offers a great search feature in which users can find accounts and posts which will spark their interests. In order to make posts more visible in searches, users can add hashtags. These are the hashtag symbol (#) with a word or phrase directly next to it which enables posts to show up in any search performed using that word or phrase. For example, if you run a business that sells shoes, you might use some of the following hashtags to show up in searches:
What is Pinterest?
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a site which relies on visual content. However, this visual content differs from Instagram because on Pinterest the visual is attached to a link which displays further content, such as a blog, online store or other type of website, away from the platform itself.
Pinterest is in simple terms, an online pin board where users can stick up links to things which they find interesting or relevant to their brand, personal life or other hobbies.
Instagram also has hashtag usage just like Instagram so that users can draw attention to their posts through the search feature on the site. The idea is that users select an intriguing, attention-grabbing image as their link visual and this will encourage other users to look further into the content.
Pros and cons of Instagram
As with anything, there are good and bad points about Instagram. One of the best things about it for those who are running a company, it that the platform offers a business account, which is completely free of charge. This provides some great benefits.Pros
Business analytics allow users to monitor the impact of individual posts and trends over time.Social media relies heavily on story telling which is a form of sharing on a platform which is visible directly from the users profile image and is available for a set period of time. With a business account on Instagram, you are able to embed links into your story, directing potential customers right to where you want them-your website.Instagram enables business users to have direct contact with clients over email, phone and postal address, all of which are easily accessible through your profile by clicking on a simple button.You can link your Facebook page to your Instagram account to encourage followers to engage with you on both platforms and enables cross sharing.Cons
It is notoriously difficult to build up a loyal following on Instagram that will stick around. If you are a small business that is just starting out, the chances of gaining a large following from the get-go are slim. This is a platform which, unless you are a high profile brand, will take a lot of work and dedication to grow.Due to the algorithm, business profiles on the platform appear to get less exposure on their followers timelines, with Instagram preferring to show it’s users posts from their personal, real life friends and acquaintances.By using an Instagram business account, you are more likely to be targeted by the site to use their paid advertising features.
Pros and cons of Pinterest
Pinterest has it’s good and bad points just the same as Instagram. With this platform, there is once again the option to turn your profile into a business account and the website offers this service totally free of charge. Let’s look into some of the pros and cons of using Pinterest for business purposes.
With your business account, you are able to see your analytics. You will receive notifications of your most popular posts which allows you to create more of the same content, that you know your audience will love. You will also be able to see exactly how many weekly views your profile is receiving which is a great way to monitor engagement with what you are posting.Driving traffic from Pinterest to other sites is extremely easy due to the nature of the platform. By posting images which are directly linked to your business website, you will notice your click rate skyrocketing.Sharing from Pinterest is also very easy which means that your followers will easily be able to repin (post your content to their own profiles) or share externally, giving you more exposure.Everything that is posted on Pinterest is automatically made public. With some other social media sites, users have the option to make their content visible to only a selected audience but on Pinterest, even if someone does not follow you, they will still have access to the things that you post.Cons
Pinterest does not currently allow links to a Facebook page so if you run your business from Facebook or if that is your primary website then you will not be able to link to it through this platform.Followers on Pinterest are shown content on their homepage that is from both accounts that they follow and accounts that they don’t. If someone follows you, the most likely way that they will see your content is if they go to view your profile separately. This means that exposure is limited. That being said, your content will be shown to people who do not follow you.It is very rare on Pinterest that you will receive any comments on what you post which makes the platform less than ideal for interacting directly with the customer.In order to get noticed on Pinterest, it is vital that users post multiple times per day. The ideal amount of posts is said to be between five and twenty per day however there are some users who will post around fifty times per day.
Which should I choose for my business?
If you are looking to choose between Instagram and Pinterest for your business, looking at the above points will help you to decide. Both platforms are based around a visual concept but Instagram is more focused on building a more personal relationship with the customer. So if you are looking to engage closely with your customers and create a more personal relationship with them in order to drive sales, then Instagram is a good place to do that.
However, if you are looking to drive more traffic to your website, the nature of Pinterest will be of more benefit to your business. By allowing users to directly click through to your site via your posts, traffic will be greatly increased.
If you are using Facebook alongside one of these other social networking platforms then Instagram will enable you to link in with that whereas Pinterest will not and this is an important factor to consider if Facebook plays a big part in your online presence.
If you aim is to have your content spread further around the internet then Pinterest is the way to go. With other users being able to eaily repin and share your content, the sky is the limit when it comes to sharing on the platform.
Instagram is the better platform if you are wanting to have a way in which you clients can contact you directly. With the addition on the email or phone call buttons on the business profile, customers can easily reach your business without endlessly searching the internet.
Finally it is worth considering your target audience. Both platforms have a different range of users and so depending on who you are wishing to target can play a huge role in which site you choose.
Users on Pinterest are more likely to be female.Pinterest users are usually older, with an average user being in their 30s.Instagram has a much younger audience, with most users being between 18–30.Instagram has a more global network with only 50% of its users in the USA.
Both of these social media platforms can offer many benefits to business users and each have their own pros and cons when it comes to advertising a brand and engaging with the customer.
It is vital that businesses carefully consider what it is that they wish to gain from using these sites and what is important to them when posting on social media. These decisions will enable a business to choose the right social networking platform for them.