Once regarded as just online photo collections of food, cats, hipsters, and photographer wannabes, Instagram and Pinterest are now the fastest growing social networks, growing 9% and 7% respectively over 2013. That’s faster than LinkedIn (6%), Twitter (5%), or Facebook (0%).
Data from the Pew Research Internet project released January 9th revealed that for the first time over half of all internet-using adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram. Half of that number uses the site daily. It is important to mention that these findings do not include the teen demographic, heavy Instagram users in their own right, and data is U.S. only.
While these numbers are all nice and shiny, the importance of growth lies in the attention it generates. Now advertisers, brands, and users who hadn’t paid much attention to these visual channels before are perking up their ears (and eyes) to see what the hype is all about. For Klick’s perspective on Instagram specifically, see our recent POV.
Not all image-centric channels were created equal
While Instagram’s strength lies in its engagement capabilities, Pinterest has grown into a more diverse platform where the connection to marketing and sales is uninterrupted.
Let’s have a look at some of their differences:
|Audience||High-income, female-heavy audience. Tablet users.||Urban youth, slight female majority. Mobile users.|
|How they use it||Discovery. Users create boards to organize/plan their life.||Showcase their life. Users follow brands/friends whose ‘story’ matches theirs.|
|Best for||Brand equity, promoting traffic, SEO, sales, infographics||Brand equity, brand engagement, creating trust|
|Content types||Creating or curating visual content with links back to (or from) brand website.||Creating original visual content with artistic value and ‘personality’.|
|Drawbacks||SEO spam links and copyright protection issues.||All mobile. No API access – can’t post using third party tools. No working links allowed.|
|Notes||Estimated at 40 million active users. Content is more about quantity than quality.||Owned by Facebook. 300 million monthly active users. Content is more about quality than quantity.|
As with any social network strategy, the decision to use either Pinterest or Instagram is a complex one. Brands need to go back to the beginning and ask themselves the following questions:
- What are our objectives?
- What is our story and how do we want to tell it?
- What type of content better resonates with our fan base?
Marketers should note that both platforms have a strong female demographic. If you’re trying to promote a premium service/product to the healthcare decision maker in the household, you may want to target Pinterest’s high-income female audience with a strong infographic. In contrast, if the goal is to ‘humanize’ your brand by creating personal experiences then a behind-the-scenes shot targeting Instagram’s younger, more diverse demographic may be your best bet.
The healthcare connection
While some healthcare players may not be ready to fully integrate Instagram into their social media strategy, it is hard to deny that Instagram is generating growing number of opportunities for healthcare.
While there are some pharmaceutical companies with active Instagram accounts, there are some in other healthcare industries who have taken stronger first steps. Hospitals and clinics realized that you don’t need to have visually appealing products to make Instagram work for you and are using Instagram to tell their brand story and promote community engagement.
We will look at Pinterest more closely in an upcoming post. For now, here are some examples of successful Instagram posts:
Behind the scene shots
Promoting patient stories
Boosting fundraising efforts
If Instagram numbers continue to impress, it may not be too long before we see these tactics make their way into more regulated waters (the FDA draft guidance on ISI in space-limited channels is a start). In the meantime, let’s see what Instagram’s 300 million monthly active users post next.