Photo communities: Pinterest vs. Instagram

Pinterest or Instagram – that is the question! For both are fascinating communities in which there is a large number of images to marvel at. However, what are the advantages and disadvantages and what purpose is which platform suitable for?

– by Julia Mayer-Rosa –

pinterest-793051_1280The trigger for me to discuss these two communities more intensively was the 43rd Social Media Night in Stuttgart, Germany: For that evening Jan Honsel, Country Manager DACH of the US-American online network Pinterest was one of the guests and presented the platform in more detail. Until then, I was mainly aware of Pinterest being very popular with female users because especially topics such as fashion, wedding, decoration and recipes are pictured. However, Pinterest can do so much more: It is designed to be a “visual discovery tool” serving to get suggestions and to save them. In fact, according to Honsel, 80% of board contents are professional photo material, merely the remaining 20% were user generated or blogger content. Therefore, it is almost ideal to increase brand awareness and to generate backlinks because you can place as many text and links in the caption as you like.

Best Case Pinterest: Nivea

This is what the German company Nivea knows, too. However, if you think that a cosmetics producer will hardly have much more to offer but pretty product pictures, you are very wrong! This also proves the pinboard “Time to Relax”: Here, Nivea shows “blue” possibilities to relax that inspire, nevertheless reflecting the brand essence. By this, the cosmetics producer responds to the Pinterest users using, in addition, also on other boards the possibility to place additional information by so-called Rich Pins that e.g. refer to an online shop.

twitter-292994_1280In contrast, Instagram, since 2012 belonging to Facebook, is mainly based on user generated content, i.e. its meanwhile huge user community posts images on the way and adds thematically matching or humorous hashtags. However, images can only be uploaded with a mobile device via the app. There is also no possibility to save most-liked pictures in one’s own profile like on Pinterest, instead you can comment on photos, however. This more and more frequently leads to an exciting exchange between brand and fan, too.g

Best Case Instagram: Daniel Wellington

This kind of communication particularly appeals to the younger target group who like to share their lives with the world. Companies use this to stimulate the fan community to participate, e.g. with photo competitions. That this concept works, proves the watch brand Daniel Wellington with their “PickoftheMonth” again and again. This is about a monthly vote on the best fan photo. Recently, also Deutsche Bahn jumped on that bandwagon and starts the donation campaign #MissionBahnhof – for every image published under this hashtag, Deutsche Bahn donates five euros to refugee relief of Bahnhofmission (Travelers’ Aid) in Germany. In addition, all submissions have a chance to become part of a traveling exhibition.

As a company, should you rather bank on Pinterest or Instagram? The answer is a definite “That depends!” Fundamentally, original photo material and regular posts play a decisive role on both platforms. In addition, the following questions help in choosing the right community:

  • Does interaction (Instagram) or inspiration (Pinterest) have priority?
  • Should brand awareness be increased with hashtag (Instagram) or backlinks also be generated (Pinterest)?
  • Do professional images (Pinterest) or photos by fans (Instagram) play the decisive role?
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