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Adding to Your Social Media Campaign

Facebook has become a mainstream word and if you ask somebody what it is they are most likely able to tell you.  Pinterest and Instagram on the other hand are a little less well known, but they both can pack big punches when it comes to improving your subscriptions.

Pinterest is an online “pinboard” where users can “pin” things from the Internet in order to organize them and share the things they love with friends and family. Instagram on the other hand is an online mobile photo and video sharing networking service that allows its users to integrate their pictures and videos into a variety of other social media platforms. There are many reasons to use one or both of these platforms, and the best part is, they’re free!

Pinterest, Instagram, Both, or Neither?

So you have decided to bring your advertising one step further into the social media world. While you may even use Pinterest of Instagram for your own personal use, using it to promote your business is a whole different ballgame.  So how do you get started? And how to do you choose which platform (or both) will be the most beneficial for you?

First of all, keep audience in mind.  Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks, currently has around 70 million regular users, has an audience that is predominately (~70%) female, and tends to cater to ages 18-34.

Instagram is more popular with the younger audience, has 200 million active users, and has a fairly even ratio of male and female audience members (45% and 55% respectively).  When comparing these two social media platforms to each other, two thirds of Instagram users use the platform daily, while only one fourth of Pinterest users are engaged daily.

Secondly, keep modality in mind. While Pinterest is accessible and useable through both a home computer and a smartphone, Instagram is almost exclusively a mobile application.  While both can be viewed on a desktop or laptop computer (and for the uneducated actually look pretty similar) material onto Instagram can only be uploaded via a mobile device, whereas the content for a Pinterest page can be modified on a home computer, or through their mobile app on a phone.

Third is content.  The main difference is in the content you can generate onto your personal and business Pinterest and Instagram accounts. Specifically, Instagram promotes original user content, and encourages users to create photos that they can edit with filters and other photo altering tools on the application.

On the other hand, Pinterest allows users to curate other users’ content onto their own profiles as they wish, so long as they keep the sources.  With both platforms hashtags can be used to categorize content and lead consumers to your business, increasing subscriptions.

How to Use These Platforms to Increase Your Business

Knowing how to use these two social media sites to your business’ advantage is key to making them essentially do your advertising work for you.  Just as with Facebook (when someone “checks in” at a business that business is promoted), with Pinterest and Instagram the thought process is similar.

A consumer will take a picture of your product and post it on Instagram, and every time that photo is shared you are gaining more advertising.  Some companies use Instagram to run contests of submitted user images, having the consumer’s upload their photos (and usually include a hashtag) of a particular brand or product in order to win a prize.  Even if the prize offered is huge, the cost of advertising is zero and the effort that the company itself has to put forth is also minimal.

Advertising via Pinterest hasn’t been proven to be as effective as advertising with Instagram, but there are certain advantages that Pinterest can offer and Instagram cannot.  First of all, you can receive recognition as a profile that only posts valuable pins.  This makes it easier to take users to other media platforms.

Another way to promote your business on Pinterest, ironically, is to pin tips, products from other companies and interesting relatable news. Of course you can also pin your own products/services, but Pinterest users will quickly become aware of this and may not be interested in seeing the same things over and over again.  Pinterest is best used to show the personality of your business and building yourself as a tastemaker.

Both Instagram and Pinterest are mainly used in conjunction with Facebook or Twitter.  You post on either Instagram or Pinterest and if you have adjusted your settings, that post will also pop up on your Facebook account, which in essence doubles (or quadruples if you use both) both your presence and your advertising.

In addition, both Instagram and Pinterest allow (and encourage) the use of hashtags as well as have the ability to “tag” or mention other users by adding @username.  These can be used in a few ways: promotionally, to run contests, to challenge a competing business or just to see how often the hashtag gets used or your company gets mentioned!


Long story short: there are many different reasons to choose Pinterest over Instagram or Instagram over Pinterest, choose both or neither, so ultimately that decision is up to you as a company owner.  How much of your time are you willing to invest in social media as an advertising outlet?  Is your product or service even catered to the audiences that these social media platforms attract?

Once you have decided on which platform(s) to use, make sure you are incorporating all possible strategies in your posts.  If you’re already using Facebook to advertise, it doesn’t take too much additional effort to use Instagram and Pinterest and as mentioned above, it can double or quadruple your advertising presence and direct more traffic to your website and/or storefront. Don’t forget to do the opposite as well.

Make sure to mention on your website (and provide links) that you are on Pinterest and/or Instagram.  This can also be done in-store by putting up signage asking customers to add your company to their Instagram or Pinterest accounts.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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