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Pinterest vs Instagram: Which one is better for small businesses?

Discover which platform your ideal users prefer and how do you know if it’s right for growing your business.

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Visual aggregator platforms for social media marketing really boil down to the two majors: Facebook-owned Instagram and Pinterest.

Both have their own way of presenting images and allowing users to compile images they like, but they also have limitations that may push your ideal users towards the other option.

Growing your business with Instagram is a great idea but don’t count Pinterest out.

The main appeal of Instagram is the images are supposed to be unique and even candid. Overly corporate posts seldom do well, and users don’t want to see traditional advertising methods employed.

Pinterest allows users to curate images from anywhere online and on the platform.

The images are often very polished and professional. Traditional advertising methods are also seen a lot more on this platform such as how-tos and DIY posts.

pinterest

© Susan Friesen

Demographics will play a big role in your decision. Is your product or service more appropriate to women?

If so then Pinterest is for you. The most recent stats show within Pinterest user demographics that women make up over 70 percent of Pinterest users.

Pinterest also draws in a slightly older, domestic demographics.

What about services that are better promoted through a discussion? Are you a speaker who wants to show off a recent speaking engagement and create a dialogue around your expertise?

These make you an ideal candidate for using Instagram to promote your small business.

Remember this audience is a fair split between men and women and Western vs. International users. They like to see photos and videos of what you do or sell in action and they like to engage the poster if possible through the comments section.

The best business Instagram accounts show off your core brand identity.

instagram

© Susan Friesen

Are you hoping to sell items through a post that links back to the page on your site with that product or service?

Instagram only allows one place a user can click through from. With IG you get one link in your profile bio. Whereas with Pinterest, you can link from the actual post like a traditional ad.

The big difference is how you intend to start your customer experience.

If they start with you at a brand level and you intend to use the entire account to create the first step in your conversion, Instagram is great. For anything where the user starts at the actual post level, Pinterest is going to be better for you.

It’s something you can plan for if you haven’t already.

Look at your ideal client as you defined them and evaluate the demographic information in your analytics. If you deal locally or even nationally to women and you’re selling a product, then Pinterest is obviously the best option.

If your online marketing is about building a brand around your expertise and location isn’t as important nor gender then you would be better served by Instagram.

If you can’t nail down which would serve you better you can always try both!

Having the capacity to create content suitable to both platforms and manage both profiles is great.

If you do elect to use both a good rule of thumb is: Pinterest for images of what you’re offering and Instagram for images of you creating those images.

If you make a Top 10 list with a polished image you can use that on Instagram as well but get lots of video and images of you creating the image that goes with that list and post those to Instagram!

Once you see better traction on one you can then focus your efforts on it.

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for many businesses but if your business is your brand and you’re building your online reputation, Instagram is going to be a better option.

Vary your content but remember when users do follow you, they do so for a reason so don’t stray from your core brand identity.

Let us know if you need any help at all building your small business with Instagram or Pinterest. Our social media experts are always happy to work with you on building your presence on either platform and we’ve been doing it since these platforms were launched so you’ll be in good hands!

(Featured image by David Howie via Flickr. CC BY 2.0.)

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence. As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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