Are you having a hard time deciding what platform you should use for your service-based business – Pinterest vs Instagram? Many creatives and coaches have trouble understanding the difference between the two and how each can work in a marketing strategy. In this post, I’ll explain the differences and give you a guideline for choosing the right platform(s) for your business.
Which is Right for You: Pinterest vs Instagram?
Is Pinterest social media?
Before we get into the post, let’s settle the difference between Pinterest and social media.
Pinterest often gets lumped in with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, giving the impression it is a social media platform. That is incorrect.
Pinterest is not social media, it’s a visual search engine.
To put it in perspective, Pinterest is in many ways similar to how Google operates: it relies on keywords to make your content visible and findable for your audience.
Pinterest also puts an emphasis on visuals. In order to make someone click on your content, your pin graphics have to be good-looking and include curiosity-inducing copy.
Common mistake service providers make on Pinterest is to apply social media tactics and then wonder why it doesn’t work. When your marketing goals require both Instagram and Pinterest, it’s important to approach each one correctly.
What you need to know about Pinterest
When asked about why she’s not utilizing Pinterest for her web design business, one of my subscribers said: “Pinterest? I have a hard enough time keeping up with Instagram and Facebook!”.
She explained that from what she had heard, Pinterest seemed too time-consuming to be worth it. Between social media, client work, and content creation, she felt stretched too thin to even attempt Pinterest.
“Pinterest is time-consuming” is a common misconception among small business owners.
Pinterest is very low-maintenance, especially when compared to Instagram. This is due to the fact that everything can be prepared and scheduled upfront.
I teach my clients to set aside one day every month for scheduling and batch-preparing content for the next month. That way it will run on autopilot while the client can focus on more important tasks at hand. When your account is properly set up, optimized and you have a system for keeping up, it takes around 4 hours of work per month.
Great at driving traffic and growing email lists
Pinterest is great for driving traffic to your content, lead magnets, and landing pages. It excels at growing your email list and getting your audience into your sales funnel.
That is because people go on Instagram for the community and socializing, and on Pinterest to find solutions.
Your ideal client in focus
Pinterest is for solution-seeking. When you use Pinterest to market your business, it’s important to understand that your target audience is browsing with a problem in mind and they are focused on themselves, not you.
Your personal content (things you would freely share on Instagram such as your family, hobbies, what you’re doing today, etc.) does not fare well on Pinterest. To grow your business on Pinterest, your mindset and presence have to be focused on your ideal client and how you can solve her problem.
Pinterest is about sharing great, high-quality content. It doesn’t matter if it’s yours or someone else’s.
High-quality content gets pinned and can stay in circulation for years, bringing long-lasting results years later.
The content you put on Pinterest stays there forever and can take off months or years later. Situations where a three-year-old pin suddenly goes viral are not rare at all.
Pinterest vs Instagram: Where Instagram Shines
Great for building brand awareness and creating a community
Pinterest and Instagram are both visual, but the way people use Instagram is completely different. Instagram puts the “social” in social media.
Instagram is great if your intention is to build brand awareness and engage directly with your target audience. Showing up regularly helps you stay in front of your audience’s mind and enforce the know-like-trust factor.
Instagram has made it clear it doesn’t want people to exit the app. Instagram bio’s one-link limit makes it harder for service-based businesses to share their content, lead magnets, and offers with their Instagram audience.
Therefore, if you intend to share your offers and on-site content in addition to building relationships on the platform, I recommend cutting out the middle-man (services like Linktree) and creating your Instagram landing page on your website.
More personal, casual and on the go type of content
On Pinterest, it takes a couple of days up to weeks for your content to rank and start bringing in traffic.
Instagram, on the other hand, is more in the moment, especially Stories. When you post, your content is seen and engaged with right away. The downside of that is the short lifespan of each post and story.
As mentioned before, personal content doesn’t work well on Pinterest. Instagram is the place to share your personality and life outside of your business so your potential clients can get to know you a bit better.
Start by defining your marketing goals
Sometimes business owners get it wrong and start using a platform before thinking about why they’re using it. There’s a notion that Instagram is the must-have social media for every business but that’s not necessarily true.
The way to decide which is best for your business, Pinterest vs Instagram, you need to first define your marketing goals.
What do you want to achieve? Your marketing goals dictate the platform you’ll be using.
If your goal is to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions, include Pinterest in your marketing strategy.
If your goal is to build brand awareness, build a community and increase engagement, choose Instagram.
Most businesses benefit from using both Pinterest and Instagram but as said, it depends on your marketing objectives.
Why you should focus on Pinterest first
If your goals require both platforms, I recommend focusing on Pinterest first.
I always tell my clients that when it comes to Pinterest, it takes a little effort upfront to set up your account, research keywords and optimize your profile, create your assets (graphics templates and pin images for all the content) and an efficient system for managing your account.
When you put in the initial effort to Pinterest, you create the conditions needed to drive traffic and convert it to subscribers.
But once you have it figured out and set up, you’ll spend a very minimal time keeping up with it.
Then you can spend the remaining time showing up and engaging on Instagram.
Pinterest vs Instagram: Two platforms, two mindsets
To sum up, Pinterest and Instagram are two different platforms that require different mindsets and approaches.
Pinterest is a visual search engine that excels at driving traffic and conversions. It’s a place where users seek solutions and high-quality content produces great long-term results. When set up correctly, Pinterest is a very low-maintenance platform.
Instagram can do wonders for your brand awareness and building a know-like trust factor. It’s a great place to engage with your audience and show your personality but requires more time and effort.
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