Both Instagram and Pinterest offer amazing opportunities for businesses to showcase their products and services. However, with limited time and resources, it can be difficult for small business owners to know which network to invest in. Which one to choose? Instagram or Pinterest for your small business?
I will cover the basics of each, including which ones work best for various types of businesses and where/how each platform really shines!
The Basics of Instagram for Small Business
Let’s first look at who typically uses Instagram, and how they use it. Typically, you will find teens and millennials are the primary demographic of the platform. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 26% of online adults use the platform, and those in the 18-29 age group are the most active users.
Women are more likely to use the platform than men (29% of online women compared to 22% of men), and African Americans and Hispanics make up 72% of the user base.
Instagram allows users to share photos taken on a smartphone; this means more personal and impromptu photos, but may also inhibit users who mainly access social networking sites via their computer. While users can view photos from their computer, they cannot add photos without a smartphone.
Where Instagram shines: Instagram allows you to show the personal side of your business. Small business owners can share behind-the-scenes photos, candid shots and of course, my favorite, image quotes (these are the BEST for getting reposts!).
Hashtags are HUGE on Instagram, as they allow you to find and attract new followers, monitor mentions of your brand and allow for highly specific audience targeting.
For guidance on using Instagram for your small business, check out these helpful posts:
The Basics of Pinterest for Small Business
Pinterest is essentially an online bulletin board that allows you to share and curate topically-based photos related to your business. By creating ‘boards’ that target particular topics (for instance, “Living Room Decorating Ideas”), you can attract users who are searching for topics related to your business or products.
As of January 2015, 28% of adult internet users were on Pinterest. Women were far more likely to use the platform, with 42% of online females being active on it, compared to just 13% of online males. Users were most likely to be in the 18-29 age group, followed closely by the 30-49 age group. The 50-64 user base grew significantly over the previous year, with 27% using the platform as compared to only 14% in 2013.
Where Pinterest Shines: For businesses targeting women, or in niches commonly catering to women, Pinterest is an absolute must. This includes businesses in the retail sector, as well as those related to food, crafts, jewelry, home-décor, blogging, etc.
Where Pinterest really shines is in its ability to drive significant amounts of website traffic: Shareaholic reported that in December 2014, Pinterest drove just over 5% of all webpage visits (it is second only to Facebook in terms of referral sources). Instagram users tend to stay on Instagram, while each Pinterest image links back to a website. This means that as your images get repinned, you have the potential to drive massive amounts of traffic back to your site.
For helpful tips on using Pinterest for your small business, check out the following posts:
When it comes down to it, it is important that you choose the platform that is the best fit for your business and audience. Where does your target market hang out online? Where are they looking for you? What are your goals: engagement, humanizing your brand, referral traffic? These are all important considerations when choosing which network to invest in.
Do you prefer Instagram or Pinterest for your small business? Why? Please share in the comments below!