With photographs, illustrations, diagrams and infographics – small businesses like yours can use visual media to incredible effect. For social media heavyweights Pinterest and Instagram, usage has soared over recent years – and they are now firm favourites for individuals and companies alike. But, if your business is small, you probably don’t have the time needed to use both social networks. So, which visual platform should you use? We put Pinterest and Instagram up against each other, to help you decide.
Pinterest and Instagram – an Overview
Let’s start with a quick look at the facts. Both networks began life in 2010 – Pinterest in March, and Instagram a little later in October of that year. Since then, they have grown to become behemoths of the social media world – revolutionising the way we create and digest visual content in the process. Pinterest now has 70 million users, while Instagram weighs in at an impressive 150 million.
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard, allowing users to create and pin content to ‘boards’, centred on particular themes (‘wedding’ and ‘our home’ being popular examples). Logging in from your PC or mobile device via the Pinterest app, you can search existing pins, view recent pins from the people you follow, or pin afresh from your browser. The result is a curated bulk of content, represented via visual pins and organised via boards.
In contrast, Instagram is quite simple – it’s all about creating content on-the-fly by taking photographs and filming short video clips. Centred entirely on a mobile app, Instagram centres on real-time activity documented visually, and viewed by your followers via their home feed. Comment and like features allow for discussion and interaction between users.
But Which is Best for Small Businesses?
There’s no quick answer to which of the two networks is best for small businesses. It depends entirely on your industry, working habits and preferences. Here we explain the pros and cons of Pinterest and Instagram, so you can decide which is best for your entrepreneurial venture.
Pinterest – the Pros
• It’s varied and detailed. If you have a wide or complex set of products or services, Pinterest allows you to categorise these in a neat and digestible way. Each board can centre on a specific service, perhaps linking back to your company blog (therefore increasing traffic), or to an interesting third-party article.
• Pinterest is more than just visuals. While content is represented in a visual way via pins, Pinterest links to all kinds of content – blogs, articles, resources, videos, how-to guides, online retail stores to name just a few. If you want to convey a complex message or provide a resource for your customers, Pinterest is the way to do it.
• It’s about curating, not creating. If you struggle to come up with ideas for creating your own business-related content, you can simply repin from other users. Curating is the name of the game.
Pinterest – the Cons
• Dominated by females. Depending on your target audience, this may be a pro! If you run a wedding boutique or a homeware store, your demographic is mainly female and this will play into your hands. But if your market is 50:50 or more masculine, Pinterest may be wide of the mark.
• Time-consuming. If time is short, you may find organising your boards, creating pin-friendly content and repining from other users slightly onerous.
Instagram – the Pros
• Highly engaged community. If you value discussion and opinion, Instagram is the network for you. Take a picture, invite your followers to comment, and enjoy a lively discussion with your potential customers.
• Focus on lifestyle. If your brand is strengthened by showcasing your lifestyle and a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at your business, Instagram can provide fascinating insight into your working processes that potential customers will buy in to. Strong, interesting personalities are well represented by Instagram.
• Instantaneous results. If you’re constantly on-the-go, a few quick snaps with your smartphone or your tablet and you’ll be able to keep the stream of pictures flowing with relative ease.
Instagram – the Cons
• The user base is young. Again, this could be a pro – but it depends entirely on your target market. Instagram is famed for being a social network that is very popular with younger ‘Generation Y’ users – so if you want to communicate with an older population, Pinterest may be preferable.
• Content has a short lifespan. Once you have added a picture to Instagram, its lifespan will be relatively short. As a real-time network, users rarely revisit historic pictures.
If you still can’t decide if Instagram or Pinterest is the visual network for you, give both a go! Trial them for a short period and stick with the one most closely aligned with your business goals. Good luck!
About the Author:
Simon Bowers – www.bancmedia.com
Simon has been with Banc Media since March 2013 working on our clients building content & links with bloggers and relevant partner websites. He has worked in the SEO & digital industries since 2010. Simon is also a blogger in his spare time, writing about fashion, restaurants and anything else that he finds interesting!