Social-Media-InstaPinsIf you’re able to regularly produce photographs and marketing images for your business, you can further extend and cultivate your social media marketing outreach with Instagram and Pinterest pages. These social media services are different from other social media services in important ways, and not everyone has the time or resources to sufficiently engage in these unique social media services. Could your business benefit from Instagram and Pinterest profiles, and are you willing and able to product the content needed to effectively engage users on these networks?

Visual Content Is Paramount

Instagram and Pinterest are both smaller, more niche social media networks that are different from one another in important ways, but both share one important quality – content posted, promoted and shared through these networks is mostly visual, most often photographs of people, products and events. Regularly producing visual content may be easy and convenient for some businesses but difficult and potentially cost-prohibitive for others. Whether or not it is a practical and beneficial for your business to join these networks may depend on how easily you can produce good visual content on a regular basis and whether or not the user demographics of these networks fit your overall marketing strategy.

What Is Instagram?

Instagram is a defined as “an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service” for mobile devices. When first launched in 2010, Instagram users needed an Apple iOS mobile device, such as an iPhone or iPad, in order to join and use the service. Since then the service has exploded in popularity – users still need a mobile device and an Instagram app, but can now use Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry mobile devices.

Digitally Social

In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram, but the two social media networks are independent of each other and require separate accounts. With the Instagram app, users can take photographs and short videos and reformat them using digital filters – users often use these features to make their pictures appear “vintage” and similar to old Polaroid photos. The service is very popular among women, adults living in urban areas, and those under the age of 35.

Using Instagram For Your Company

In order for a company to effectively engage Instagram users, visual content will need to be produced on a regular basis. This content can include professionally-produced marketing material and more casual content produced with a mobile device. To successfully engage these users, the content should be fresh, creative and engaging through humor or design. It is not a good idea to post more formal imagery, such as employee portraits, standard catalog-style product photography, and images of documents or text-heavy marketing materials. For a good example of effective visual marketing, check out Coca-Cola on Instagram.

An Introduction To Pinterest

Pinterest is a referred to as a “visual discovery tool”, although many use and describe it as a social media network. The service is intended as a way for users to collect visual content in the form of bookmarks called “Pins”, collected on “Boards” that can be shared with other users. The service is intended to imitate a real-life cork bulletin board with content “pinned” to the board to be shared with others. Businesses pages are described as “virtual storefronts”, specifically intended to profile products and services. Like Instagram, Pinterest was first launched in 2010, although it remains an independent company. As of 2012, 83% of Pinterest users were women.

Pin It To Win It

The majority of Pinterest users are interested in finding unique and interesting products and services and sharing those discoveries with other users. Many Pins focus on do-it-yourself home projects or on food and meals. Pinterest content also often includes lush product photography and other promotional images. High-resolution images are a must, and generally businesses choose to use very rich visual imagery to promote their brand and their products and services. Clothing retailer The Gap has a Pinterest page, and their Pins are an excellent example of great Pinterest content.

Find Your Niche

In order to properly utilize both of these social media services, you must establish ground with a niche target market. In other words, you must make your brand appealing to the users of these services if you want to market through them. If you are unable to connect with any of their target markets, you can still post your content, but it may not be found or engaged with in a meaningful way.