Lots of people ask me, “Is Instagram or Pinterest better for my business?” I always wonder why this question is posed as “either/or.”
Truth is, many times the combination of Instagram AND Pinterest can be better for your business. Let me explain how these two platforms can work to benefit each other and your marketing goals.
Instagram and Pinterest 101
To better understand how one social channel can scratch the other’s back, let’s review the basics of Instagram and Pinterest.
Instagram is a real-time photo sharing network. Instagram posts have no hyperlinks — and because of that, user interaction can be measured only by likes and comments. Posts often get found through hashtags used in the posts’ photo captions.
Pinterest is an image-based network that leads users to Websites through clickable or tappable hyperlinks. Posts are grouped by topic, not chronology. Posts are often found through a Google-ish search engine that uses real word descriptions (not hashtags).
Build on the Strength of Both Platforms
Now that we know the basics of Instagram and Pinterest, how do we leverage the best of Instagram and the best of Pinterest to do something great for your business?
Instagram + Pinterest = Website Gold. If you write a blog or have an estore, you’ll most likely want to be on Pinterest. Again, this platform’s marketing juice is through clickthroughs. But don’t discount Instagram. It can help you write a better blog that will get you more referral traffic from Pinterest.
Because of Intsagram’s emphasis on likes and comments, this platform is considered “the King of Social Media Engagement.” Why not use that instant feedback source to cull ideas for great, upcoming blog posts or ecommerce displays?
Here’s how Nomsy asked for feedback on future blog articles.
If you manage an ecommerce site and you have the ability to highlight a particular item, why not find out what your marketplace might like to see featured in that space? MoStyles asked its followers for their two cents about these three necklaces.
Nomsy and MoStyles can now create something noteworthy on their Websites based on this Instagram feedback. This “pre-vetted” content by the marketplace should increase this content’s chances of being pinned and searched for on Pinterest.
Pinterest = fountain of youth for Instagram posts. Again, Instagram is all about real-time images. So that means there’s a small window in which people will see the photo or video you so lovingly created. But since Pinterest is not categorized by time, your Instagram images might have an extra lifeline on a Pinterest board. Consider these ideas:
- Did you have a bunch of well-performing Instagram posts from a live event? Consider making a board out of them.
- If you’ve found a slew of Instagram posts that you’ve liked on a particular topic, consider gathering them into a thematic board. This process of taking Instagram likes to a Pinterest board can be automated through an IFTTT recipe, by the way.
- There’s a chance your brand has run an Instagram contest to collect user-generated content (UGC). And you’ve probably collected some real winners. Don’t let them fade away — add the pins to an appropriate Pinterest board. This is also a nice way for entrants who didn’t get the grand prize to feel like they’ve “won” something.
Do you still think it’s either/or when it comes to Pinterest and Instagram? Or can you see the benefits of combining the two channels for better Web traffic and brand awareness?
Pinterest is now available to link to the online app IFTTT. This means you can automate a bunch of Pinterest processes in minutes … and for free! Let me give you a few examples.
First, it behooves me to explain IFTTT for the uninitiated. It’s a tool that links to online channels, causing one channel to impact another based on a “recipe.” So for the purposes of this article, I’ll show you how another channel can do something on your Pinterest account AND how an action you take from your Pinterest account can impact another channel.
For example, if you want to keep archives of your pins and likes going forward, select recipes on IFTTT to pull data on your Pinterest activities into a spreadsheet or other handy file. Here are two related recipes I like.
1. Keep a record of your pins in a Google Spreadsheet.
Here’s a recipe to keep pins from your public boards (including group boards) in one handy location, in this case, a Google spreadsheet. But if you’re partial to Evernote or Dropbox, other Pinterest recipes will allow you to import the same data into a notebook or text file, respectively, in those tools. This is handy for social media analysis if you want to search your pins by keywords or have a sortable list of your pinning activity. It’s also helpful for the spreadsheet geeks in your group to relate to an overtly visual platform like Pinterest.
2. Get a weekly email with the pins you’ve liked on Pinterest.
Yes, it’s 2015 and I still love Duran Duran.
This recipe allows you to analyze what you’ve liked on a weekly basis. Such data is particularly handy when you have multiple administrators on your Pinterest account. Finding what teammates have retweeted is easy because they appear on your boards — but until this recipe, pulling what you and others have liked in chronological order has proven a bit more elusive.
Liking others’ pins is a great tactic for community management on Pinterest, especially if you want to spread goodwill with other pinners but you’d rather not repin their images to spread such cheer. Getting a weekly report on liking activity gives you sense of how well you (or a team if you have one) are doing in terms of giving nods to other pinners.
This new batch of recipes also makes it infinitely easier to populate Pinterest boards from your other social channels. Here are two of the many recipes that now enable you to automate content on your boards and keep your pins fresh.
3. Pin liked posts from Instagram.
Marketers have come up with manual, crafty ways to share images from Instagram photos on Pinterest. But with IFTTT recipes, you can let such sharing happen on its own. I particularly like the ability to share Instagram likes on Pinterest. Since Instagram is not an app set up to natively repost others, you can simply run this recipe and have your Instagram likes “repost” on *Pinterest* instead.
To maximize the search power of these images on Pinterest, you’ll want to go into the descriptions of these post-to-pins and convert any Instagram hashtags into Pinterest search-friendly keywords. (Unlike most social channels like Instagram, Pinterest disfavors hashtags.)
4. Pin items for sale from Etsy.
If you’re on Etsy, you undoubtedly know the role Pinterest plays in getting your store some well-deserved traffic. Well, now you no longer have to rush to create a pin each time you add a new item to your store — an IFTTT recipe will take care of that for you.
Which new IFTTT recipes do you plan to use for your Pinterest account?
Do you use Instagram for your business? Do you also use Hootsuite? You can combine both — seriously! Let me show you how you can do all sorts of Instagram monitoring on this social media dashboard.
Hootsuite offers its free and Pro users four great apps to monitor Instagram hashtags, users, and posts. If you’ve never used a Hootsuite app before, go to the left-hand navigation bar of your dashboard. Look for the puzzle piece icon. Once you click it, you’ll have the chance to type in “Instagram” to see these apps.
1. Instagram Integration (free)
Instagram has its own app with a few useful monitoring options. You can check the status of your own posts, view the most popular posts of the moment, and find a stream of posts based on any hashtag or user with a public account.
2. Iconosquare ($4.99/ free for Enterprise users)
The popular Instagram Web viewer Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) easily integrates into a simple Hootsuite stream. Its strength on Hootsuite is its ability to analyze various slices of your audience. For instance, want to see the users you like on Instagram who haven’t had the sense to follow you back? You can get this info by clicking on the people icon.
You’re also able to see who recently followed (or unfollowed) you. Maybe you can foster a relationship with your new followers by liking or commenting on one of their recent posts?
Another group you’ll want to keep in your good graces is those who take the time to like and comment on your Instagram posts. Iconosquare gives you a list of your most active followers within the last 30 days.
3. Vidpiq for Instagram ($3.99/ free for Enterprise users)
I like the options Vidpiq gives me to monitor Instagram. As with the Instagram and Iconosquare apps, I can search through hashtags and users. But Vidpiq also lets me search locations that have been geotagged on Instagram. Here’s a stream of recent posts that Instagram users have tagged at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Another great feature is its saved search option. Here I can easily monitor all my go-to searches for users, hashtags, and locations in one handy drop down list.
4. TrendSpottr ($4.99/ free for Enterprise users)
TrendSpottr, like its name implies, monitors popular trends on Instagram. It dives further and seemingly more quickly than the “popular” search capabilities on the Instagram, Iconosquare, and Vidpiq apps. During the 2015 Australian Open, TrendSpottr listed this tennis championship as a hot category. I selected it and was then given options of these related hashtags to follow.
Each hashtag (and related post) has a “Trending Score,” which according to TrendSpottr is “an indicator of the relative trending velocity and predicted viral growth of the content.” Translation: as an end user, I will never know how the score is calculated. But this ranking is one way to find the hottest posts on Instagram if I, in this case, had a business in athletic apparel, motivational speaking, or Australian tourism.
What kind of Instagram monitoring do you already do for your business? Can these Hootsuite apps help you do it more easily?
If you haven’t logged into Pinterest for a while, you should. There are heaps of new ways to find inspiration and conduct better market research. But let me guide you through some new things you’ll find — or not find — in this latest iteration of Pinterest.
1. The “Add a Pin” Option
While Pinterest allows you to upload a new image or to pin something that hails from one of your favorite Websites, it sure doesn’t make it easy. With the recent redesign, the add-a-pin buttons are now what my mom calls “a white bunny in a snowstorm.” The button went from the top navigation bar to waaaaayyy down here, next to the steel cut oatmeal.
As it stands, fewer than 15% of all pins on Pinterest are new, “direct from source” images. Could this percentage go down as a result of this button shift?
2. The Log Out Option
Another option that used to drop down from the top navigation bar was the Log Out option. Have you found it yet? It’s now a two-step process to log out.
First click on your name to get to your profile.
Once you’ve landed at your profile, you’ll find the log out option under the “Settings” icon.
Why has Pinterest made it more difficult for users to log out? Could it be to track off-Pinterest activity to better personalize the ad (or sponsored pin) experience for users?
3. Your Recent Pins
The idea of Pinterest is that users pin according to themes, not time stamps. Because of this thematic thrust, pins have a long repin lifespan as compared to more “real-time” social networks like Twitter or Facebook.
But every once in a while, you might need to know what your most recent pins are. Or how many pins you shared in the past month. And you don’t want to hunt and peck through all your boards for time stamps. That’s where this “recent pin” function comes in handy.
Simply go to your profile and click on the number of pins. You’ll then be shown the pins you’ve shared, starting with the most recent ones.
4. Follower Growth
In late August, Pinterest upped its game and began providing users a slew of free, analytical data on their accounts. Here’s an example of what you can get about your audience.
But you know what metric they left out? The number of followers a user has from month to month. And for many of my clients, that’s the only audience data point they care about. Until Pinterest includes follower count, I’m using a dashboard called Cyfe to monitor top-of-the-month follower counts.
5. Your “Pin Twin”
About two weeks ago, I was monitoring the chatter on one of my client’s accounts. Look what I found.
A “Pin twin?” I felt like Queen Latifah in “Bringing Down the House” when I saw this. (Here’s what I mean if the movie reference is too obscure.) I clicked on this pin twin’s profile — and by golly, her tastes were remarkably similar to that of my client.
According to Pinterest Content Strategist Evany Thomas, this feature is something he’s “worked on.” Pinterest’s algorithm is already fine tuned to pull up pins for users to discover. Evidently, they’re working on pulling up people for us to connect with as well. I hope this feature doesn’t stay hidden for much longer. Seems like great potential in finding a twin.
Is there anything else you can’t (or can no longer) find on Pinterest? Ask away!
Earlier this year, I suggested that those using Facebook best practices but not seeing results should explore other social channels. One business, nearly 10,000 fans strong, did just that.
iHomeschool Network admittedly came to this realization without reading my post. Jimmie Lanley, co-owner of this online network for homeschool parents and content creators, explained to me that she saw a dramatic drop in organic reach in January 2014 — just about the time Facebook began releasing fan page posts to fewer and fewer fans. With this new Facebook change, posts sent from the iHN fan page reached only 1-3% of its total fan base.
Any attempt to “spread the word” or drive Web traffic from Facebook seemed like an exercise in futility. So Lanley and her business partner decided to leave Facebook for more productive venues.
When iHN decided to go public with this news, the messaging was celebratory in nature. Instead of whining about Facebook’s move to limit the reach of fan page posts, it chose to acknowledge that people use Facebook to connect with family and friends — and not to connect with online networks like iHN.
Are you wondering how that announcement went?
“We had pushback from people who felt our choice was an indictment on their own choice to invest in Facebook,” Lanley admits. “But we have never made an across-the-board recommendation to companies or bloggers to abandon Facebook. It was a very personal decision. We looked at the data for our own page, compared it to our own goals, and decided that we didn’t need a Facebook page to run our business.”
So where did iHN go? How did it corral its existing fan base to a new channel?
“Our main goal was to get people to sign up for our email list to stay up to date with our work,” Lanley revealed.
This pin is one method that iHomeschool Network has used to encourage email signups.
Her business encouraged signups through a landing page with a variety of graphics. The iHN blogger network was then encouraged to spread the move-to-email word by posting these images to Pinterest. They also tweeted the news, shared the information on GooglePlus, and yes, posted to Facebook. A few key giveaways also prompted people to make the leap to email.
Not all 10,000 fans migrated to the iHN newsletter, but those who did were much more engaged than they were on Facebook.
iHomeschool Network also invested more time in its Pinterest and GooglePlus efforts.
“Everything we do at iHN has Pinterest in mind,” Lanley mentioned. The majority of her audience is female, and they love Pinterest.
Her bloggers went through their pre-Pinterest posts on iHomeschoolNetwork.com and added pinnable images to them. “It’s amazing how an old post can be resurrected through the power of pinning and repinning a brand new, Pinterest-friendly image,” admits Lanley.
GooglePlus’ live video feature, Hangouts on Air (HOA), has also done well for iHN. It holds a weekly, topical Hangout on Air. These HOAs are recorded as YouTube videos, which not only give people a chance to see these videos in their own time, but also give iHN a great inbound search opportunity. (Remember, GooglePlus and YouTube are both Google properties — and YouTube is the Internet’s second largest search engine!)
Homeschooling parents can access these topical YouTube videos at any time.
The “Hangouts” are also converted to podcasts for those who prefer to listen to conversations. “Just like good teaching involves many different instructional methods,” Lanley pointed out, “our content is delivered in different ways to reach a broader audience.”
iHN’s post-Facebook initiatives might take more effort than simply posting a link or fun photo to Facebook, but this effort has yielded greater results. There’s no chance iHN will return to Facebook.
“We don’t need Facebook at this point. It doesn’t offer us anything we can’t get in G+, YouTube, Pinterest, or email marketing,” Lanley concluded. “I can’t imagine that we would ever return [to Facebook]. It’s like dumping a bad boyfriend. It hurts at first, but once you get a little distance, you wonder what you ever saw in him in the first place!”
Is your business thinking about investing its time away from Facebook? What non-Facebook, online marketing channel makes best sense for your business?
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