Let's Break It Down: Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat

In our last "Let's Break It Down" blog post, we focused on Facebook and Twitter (click here in case you missed it). Today, we will be dissecting Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, three social media platforms driven by visuals. Check out the similarities, differences and figure out if your business needs them.

Instagram: A Visual Storyboard 

Launched in 2010, Instagram now has over 400 million monthly users. More than 40 billion pictures have been shared on this insanely popular app. Per day, Instagram has about 80 million pictures posted. It's a big deal. 

Instagram allows any user to go from amateur to professional photographer in just a couple clicks. Snap a pic from the app itself (or upload a picture), pick a filter you like best, add a caption and some hashtags and press post. It's as simple as that. In comparison to any other social media platform, Instagram itself is a blast to use. Editing pictures is a lot of fun and exploring other users' posts is equally entertaining. Instagram has many strengths:

  • It's easy: sign up with an email and password, and you're all set.
  • It's sleek: scrolling through your endless newsfeed or popular posts is aesthetically pleasing. 
  • It's convenient: searching for hashtags is simple and gives you insight into the most popular ones.
  • It's inspiring: it's fun to see how creative users can get and allows for you to express yourself in an innovative way.

A great feature of Instagram is its ability to be linked directly to your Facebook and Twitter pages. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram have partnered to make advertising on both sites more accessible. On the Facebook Power Editor, you can now make ads for Instagram - a big plus for companies! 

So all that information is well and good but maybe you're unsure how you would use an Instagram account for your business effectively. Seeing other business accounts is inspiring yes, but it may leave you feeling lost. It can be hard to stand out on a platform filled with such gorgeous images. The truth is you're going to have to get creative. Posting pictures of products, facilities, employees and projects are all good places to start out. You could also post about a sale or an upcoming event, inspirational quotes and even pictures from when your company first started with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday. Remember - Instagram itself is a resource. Make sure to check out other accounts (including your competition) to see their posts. Don't be afraid to experiment! Sometimes the best social media posts come from stepping outside your comfort zone.

Pinterest: Not Just Your Mother's Pinboard 

It's where your sister got her recipe for that amazing coffee cake. It's where your mom got that inspiring quote she posted on Facebook. It's where your best friend first saw that necklace she can't stop wearing. No - it's not a magical book that holds the key to the universe. It's Pinterest and it's taken social media by storm. 

In basic terms, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where users "pin" things to categorized boards. You can customize your boards specifically to you and your business, as well as search the platform for key words. Pinterest has several strengths:

  • It's growing: A recent article on Sprout Social stated that Pinterest is growing rapidly, particularly on mobile devices. 75% of people use the app on their phones.
  • It's informative: There is a TON of information on Pinterest and there's ample opportunities to learn about pretty much anything.
  • It's fun: Pinterest really is a blast to use. It's pretty, funny and inspiring. 
  • It's simple: Pinterest is incredibly user-friendly. Search for pins and either pin them to a board, like them or send them to someone. 

One of the best things about Pinterest is its visibility. You could pin your own content and a month later still be getting interaction from it. With Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram you won't get much engagement on past posts because their timeliness has run out. The life of your posts last much longer on Pinterest. Another great thing about Pinterest is exposure. Say you pin a blog post of yours and one of your followers pins it to their board. And say that person has 200+ followers. Well, your original pin is now exposed to a whole new audience because that one person re-pinned you.

So how do you use it for your business? Unlike Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using Pinterest can be tricky. You are allowed to upload and pin your own content but that's not necessarily going to get a good reach. Chances are if you only pin things your company has produced, you aren't going to get many followers or much engagement. Instead, try pins that directly relate to your business.  You could pin useful resources for your audience to know or see, as well as things that inspire you and your company. It's all about balance. Pinning good content (along with posting some of your own) will help engage your followers and show that they have something to gain from following you. 

Snapchat: Show a Different Side 

According to company statistics, more than 60% of 13-34 year olds who have a smartphone use Snapchat. Today, they have nearly 100 million users, with that number growing every single day. Snapchat started off as a way to send pictures or videos to your friends. Depending on how long you allowed it to be viewed (1-10 seconds) it disappeared after, which was massively appealing to younger demographics. Around 2014, Snapchat introduced stories, a way to post updates without sending it to a specific person. When you send a picture or video to your story it allows for anyone following your account to view it within 24 hours - think like an Instagram profile or a Facebook timeline, just with an expiration date. This is where the business-side of Snapchat comes into play. It's advantages are:

  • It's new: people (especially businesses) are still getting used to this platform so there's room for experimentation 
  • It operates in real time.
  • It's unique: It's totally different from any other social media platform

One thing that scares many businesses from Snapchat is that it's not curated content; it lives in the here and now. You can't really schedule anything on Snapchat. However, that can be used to an advantage and set you apart from your competition by showing a side of your business people normally don't see. Taking customers behind the scenes or offering exclusive content only available on Snapchat gives people an incentive to follow your account. You could show a typical day in the office through pictures or cover an event. Snapchat can give your business a much more human feel. While Snapchat may not be right for your business right away, it's important to keep it on the back burner. You may have to channel your creativity in order to see results but sometimes that's when things really take off. 

Social media is a tool and should only add to your business. It's better to start off with only a couple, well-managed site platforms than to be on every platform possible and post inconsistently. Once you get the feel for what works, expand your options and take a chance on a new social media platform. 

Contact Sammie Janik, Content Specialist at [email protected]

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