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For Businesses, Pinterest vs. Instagram: Which Makes More Sense?


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It’s no secret that photos and videos are an important part of social media. It makes sense–people love photos, and social media is all about people.

But when it comes time to expand out of the realm of Facebook and Twitter, many companies get hung up on the choice between Pinterest and Instagram.

Both are very popular platforms that are heavily photo-based, leading many businesses to wonder which platform they should use. Is Pinterest better? What about Instagram? Why don’t I just do both?

As with anything else on social media, being clear about your strategy is essential, so sitting down and thinking about these decisions is worth taking the time to do.

When it comes to Pinterest vs. Instagram, there are a few things you need to know:

  1. Both are great for photos and videos. This just in: Pinterest and Instagram are great for photos and videos. This much should be inherently clear in any conversation about these two platforms.
  2. Both attract similar audiences. Though this may be less obvious than point one, it’s still fairly self-evident: Pinterest and Instagram attract very similar audiences. Both platforms are incredibly popular in terms of user base, and there’s no shortage of audience members and followers to be had on either.
  3. If you’re looking to post original content, Instagram makes more sense. Original content is king on Instagram. There’s little to no tolerance for curated content on that platform–there’s a sort of implicit assumption on Instagram that the content you post is coming from you.
  4. If you’re looking to curate content, Pinterest is the way to go. On Pinterest, though, curating is accepted (in fact, it’s encouraged). Feel free to post away any content that you curate to Pinterest (cite your sources, though!). In that sense, it’s almost like Twitter for photos. Any interesting, easily-accessible photos are great content for Pinterest.
  5. Finally, if you’re a B2C looking to generate revenue, Pinterest is the way to go. If you’re looking for actual, tangible generation of revenue, Pinterest is without a doubt the way to go. You could very well see indirect revenue generation from Instagram (social media does still have ROI, after all), but there’s no comparison to the massive amount of eCommerce sales driven by Pinterest. For B2B, the direct benefits are less clear, but if you’re B2C, there’s no reason for you not to give Pinterest a shot.

Aside from the whole direct revenue generation thing, the biggest consideration when choosing between Pinterest and Instagram is whether you’re publishing original content or curating content from around the web. Curating is accepted on Pinterest, but the same can’t be said for Instagram. As long as you’re aware of that distinction, you should be able to avoid most trouble.

In discussing Pinterest vs. Instagram, too many people assume that, “Hey! Both of these platforms are great for visual content–they must be pretty much the same,” when in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Being clearly aware of their differences is essential to getting the most out of each platform.

So before you go starting up a Pinterest or Instagram account, take a minute to sit down and make sure they’re actually right for you. The end result will be a much better executed presence on social media, and really, much less heartache and time wasted for you.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Jason Howie

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About the author: John Darwin

John is a recent college graduate from Creighton University. He earned his B.A. in English, specializing in British Literature, and is currently working as an editor at Social Media Contractors.

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