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Choosing the right social media outlets for business with Rimshot Creative
With so many social media platforms to choose from, how do you know what platform best suits you. This article by Adrienne Erin outlines several opportunities that Pinterest and Instagram offer and how to decide whether either of these are right for your business. If you enjoy this article, please check out more of her work.

As social media continues to intersect with SEO and content marketing efforts in 2014, marketers are faced with the job of deciding which social networks to use. It can be tempting to stick with the platforms you already have a presence on, while skipping networks like Instagram and Pinterest where you may not have a profile. And you need a profile to fulfil the traditional goal of social media marketing: creating more followers and interested customers – right?

The truth is, social media has a lot more benefits for your brand than an increase in followers. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have different marketing opportunities than Facebook and Twitter, due to their visual element. By ignoring these visual networks, you may be limiting the scope of your marketing campaign. You’ll also be ignoring the growing role that graphics and visuals are playing in content across the web.

Michael Kors was one of the first brands to take advantage of the imagery of Instagram. Take a look at the brand’s Instagram ad that promoted its new product – this photo received 218,000 likeswithin a shocking 18 hours. Whether you decide to create an account on a visual network or take advantage of marketing opportunities without a branded account, Pinterest and Instagram’s imagery can help you expand your brand’s reach.

The Big Picture

It’s not enough to focus on just one or two social networks anymore. It’s clear that Pinterest and Instagram attract unique demographics, and if you don’t work within these networks, you’ll be missing out on various opportunities. Not only does imagery matter to social media users, but images can help your brand convey a lot of creative ideas.

While Pinterest users range a little older and primarily consist of women, Instagram is more balanced between younger men and women users. If one of these audiences is a good fit for some of the customers you are trying to target, you may want to expand past your primary social media accounts.

For instance, Facebook and Twitter involve posting about what just happened or what is happening now. Pinterest, on the other hand, is ideal for future plans. This makes it a powerful platform for customers looking to discover new products, services and experiences. Instagram is similar, because its platform allows you to show off your brand’s new products that might interest users down the road.

So should your business market through Pinterest and Instagram, so you can take advantage of the visual opportunities?

Why You Shouldn’t Use It

Before you decide to enter the Pinterest and Instagram networks, strategize and make sure you have the time and resources to make your efforts worthwhile. Just because everyone else is using it, everyone is talking about it online, or your competitors are already on the network doesn’t mean you necessarily need to follow.

Your competitors aren’t always right, and even though the networks are free, you still have to dedicate time to see results. Don’t make the marketing decision because of what others are doing; instead, strategize and come up with ways you can incorporate imagery into your brand. Make sure you have the capability to create graphics and photographic content. And analyze the demographics to determine if it’s the right move for you.

Why You Should Use It

Pinterest and Instagram’s networks have valuable demographics due to their visual elements. Most women or teens use one of the platforms, and most young consumers aren’t waiting around for brands to join – they’re already sharing content from the brands that are interacting with them now.

Compared to other sources of traffic, conversion rates for Pinterest users are extremely high. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest introduces customers directly to retailers and helps brands catch users’ attention first.

There is also a large amount of sharing potential that helps increase a brand’s initial exposure. Since over 80% of pins are re-pins, it’s easy for one single pin to go viral and appear on Pinterest over and over again for weeks. This can send an immense amount of traffic to your website, making it possible to measure social media results without focusing on your number of followers.

Marketing Potential Without a Branded Account

Your presence and the number of fans isn’t the only important part of social media. You want to start a conversation about your brand that connects with every audience you want to target. This is why networks like Instagram and Pinterest have so much potential, since images can create great conversations and curiosity.

And if you move away from the traditional goal of increasing your social media followers, you can still get other valuable results such as direct traffic or content discussing your brand – and you don’t necessarily have to create an official branded account.

Here are some tactics for increasing your exposure on Pinterest and Instagram:

  • Focus on getting the metrics first, so you can convince your team that a profile on these social platforms would be a wise investment in the future. Measure impressions, re-pins, likes and comments to prove that the network is beneficial for your targeted demographic.
  • Create “printables.” These graphics are extremely popular on Pinterest, and they can be beneficial to your marketing. This example ties in Valentine’s Day and gives users a free product, while spreading the brand organically. If you’re creative, almost anything can be turned into a printable.
  • Use hashtags to promote your product and get users to interact with your brand. Instagram users rely heavily on hashtags to discover new content, as well as share it. This means you can give your content more reach among a large pool of users.

By figuring out ways your business can create content that can be shared on Pinterest and Instagram, you can easily extend your brand’s reach – while generating exposure and site traffic – without even having an account.

Adrienne Erin writes twice per week for SiteProNews with practical marketing advice to help businesses like Luxury Rehab Center succeed on the web.

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