Instagram's popularity is no secret. With more than 800 million users, 25 million business accounts and two million advertisers, it's one of the leading social channels and known for its diverse audience. So it comes as no surprise that most marketers assume Instagram is one of the best tools in their marketing arsenal.
It might not be smart, though, to focus all your marketing resources on Instagram. I've started using Pinterest a lot more these days--yes, Pinterest--and it's become a shockingly useful tool for me. I actually prefer it to Instagram now.
Here's why, and the killer marketing strategies I've discovered using it:
Instagram is great for uploading personal content and to share your own photos/videos of your brand. You create your page, gain followers and connect; always giving off a more personal experience and Instagram users crave this.
At my agency, which specializes in employer brand, it's important the content we share demonstrates our business's authenticity to our audience. It sounds swell and doable. Just be yourself, right? But I remember what it's like starting out new; having limited employees, the time, resources and having to prioritize tasks.
Instagram does help us do this. But having Instagram to promote your brand, your profile requires a certain level of attention for it to be noticed and reach success. As a new business, you might not have authentic content to post just yet.
With Pinterest, you curate, share and collect quality content, mostly uploaded by others. It's a great tool for distributing content that doesn't need to be your own, users just want to be inspired and find ideas.
When my brand was starting out we created a profile based on things we love and built a visual portfolio through pins and boards. This way we were sharing who we were, building expertise, entertaining and connecting with our audience through similar passion.
The platform allows you to segment products and services into tailored groups, which if tagged correctly, can hit multiple target personas. It doesn't have to be personal to gain engagement and this means there's no pressure for you as a start-up to get creating content. To establish a following, Pinterest is more practical.
Social media will only get you so far. You need those leads to get to your site and convert into sales.
Don't underestimate the power of image search, Pinterest makes it easy for an image to direct the user back to the source as most pins should always include a link. Instagram is famously difficult with links.
I found this useful trying to increase awareness of our blogs and case studies. One simple but effective image could result in major traffic to our website, where users would find both resources and a list of all our services available. This reduced the steps from discovery to conversion, consumers like convenience.
Instagram doesn't have the option to insert links into comments, posts or stories--unless it's a paid ad, which isn't always necessary or financially possible for your business. You can have a link in your text which you can direct users and your followers to, but this assumes a lot about the engagement your content is receiving.
Since the launch of IGTV, we've found that we can upload up to an hour of video content--which is a great way of showcasing what we can do. It means Instagram remains good for brand discovery--but you need to have the amenities to get your brand image up to scratch before you can take advantage of it.
The biggest reason I use Pinterest is the shelf life of pins. Pins get discovered a long time after they're born and continue to drive visits to your sites.
We created one of our most popular boards years ago, and it still gets re-pinned. On other platforms, like Instagram, content is updated as a live feed and posts expire unless users search for your content directly. If you don't have a big presence on the platform yet, that kind of shelf life unlikely to happen.
Sure, in an ideal world, you'd like to have presences on both platforms. But when you're first starting out, it's tough to find the resources and time to simultaneously manage them effectively. Consider which platform can offer you the most value in your current position--and go from there.