What they have in common is that they are both visually-focused platforms. Pictures and videos drive huge engagement, which is why these content types are the focus of the two sites.
But if you were to incorporate either Instagram or Pinterest (and not both) into your ongoing social media marketing efforts, which would you pick? Which is better for musicians?
Let’s explore what each platform has to offer.
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An Overview Of Instagram
Instagram has a purported 400 million active users, and 90% are under 35. If you’re looking to reach a younger and more gender-diverse audience, then Instagram is where you’re more likely to find your fans.
When you post a piece of content on Instagram, you can also share it out to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Swarm and Flickr. This makes it easy for you to maintain a presence on several sites simultaneously.
Since Instagram is first and foremost a mobile app, creating and sharing content on the fly is easy and fun. But you can also create great-looking photos using graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop and then send the images over to your phone to share on Instagram.
Unlike Facebook, getting engagement for your posts on Instagram is relatively easy. Share great content, use a good number of hashtags (up to 30), follow other users, and pretty soon you’ll see plenty of people engaging with your content.
An Overview Of Pinterest
Pinterest has 100 million active users, with 70 to 85% being female aged 50 years old or younger. If you know that a large part of your audience is made up of moms or moms-to-be, then Pinterest is a good place to find your fans.
Pinterest allows you to connect your account to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft, so in this regard it’s right on par with Instagram. Getting engagement on your pins is easy when you already have a solid following on other social networks.
Pinterest can be used on a desktop/laptop setup or on your phone, but for creating and pinning content to your boards, smartphones are less convenient. And while you can snap a photo on the fly and post it to Pinterest, that isn’t really the core function of the platform.
As with most social media sites, getting immediate traction on Pinterest can be tough. You’ll want to connect with your friends, comment on other people’s pins, and promote your Pinterest profile through your website, emails, and on other social networks.
3 Factors To Determine If Instagram Or Pinterest Is Right For You
To most musicians, it may sound like Instagram is the clear winner, but that isn’t always the case.
Let’s take a look at three major factors that will help you determine which platform is right for you:
Your fans: Who are your fans? If you don’t already know, you should take a peek at your Facebook Insights to determine what the primary gender and age range of your average fan is. That should give you an idea of who your fans are and where they’re hanging out online.
Your commitment to the platform: Do you enjoy using it? Do you have time for it? Can you see yourself being active on it for the next year, or even the next 5 years? If not, then the time and energy you invest could be wasted.
Your resources: What do you have in terms of content – photos and video – that you could immediately share on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you have a decent laptop or desktop computer? If not, do you have a reasonably good smartphone or tablet? Think carefully about the resources available to you.
Instagram & Pinterest: A Breakdown Of The Two Social Platforms
Success stories notwithstanding, building a following and a strong presence on Instagram or Pinterest is equally difficult. If you see early traction on either platform, you may want to double down on the one that’s producing results. That might be an experiment worth conducting. Create an account with both sites, spend and equal amount of time on both for 90 days, and see which one gets you more traffic, followers, subscribers, sales, and so on.
What about niches? At first glance, I see a lot more guitars, amps, and musicians on Instagram than on Pinterest. But there are a lot of music-related pins on Pinterest too. In general, some of the main interests on Pinterest are: house décor, crafts, travel, fashion, food, beauty, and the like. The top niches on Instagram include: sports, beauty, books, business, cars, celebrity, and so on. Music still makes the top 10 – 20 on both platforms, so in this regard, they might be equal. We also have to remember that the presence of more guitar pics doesn’t necessarily make a particular network more conducive to music-related content than the other. Granted, Instagram does have an official @music channel, and I’m pretty sure Pinterest doesn’t have anything like that.
Now let’s talk about spam. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a much higher number of fake accounts and self-interest posts on Instagram compared to Pinterest. Pinterest is a professional and helpful community – if someone’s pinned about how to get more followers on Pinterest, it usually links to a blog posts with real, usable tips – not to a site asking you to spend $30 to get 1,000 followers.
What about the gender difference? Although there is evidence to suggest that women buy more music than men, their buying habits are more consistent, and they usually go for the hits and not artists that tend to fly under the top 40 radar. Sorry, indie musicians – men are more likely to buy your music than women.
Both Instagram and Pinterest are visually-oriented social networks. But when you take a closer look at each, you begin to see that the inside is different, even if the wrapping looks the same.
No matter what networks you end up choosing, I would suggest getting exceptionally good at using them. People waste far too much time paying attention to the “latest and greatest”, never working towards mastery of two or three platforms. Shut out unnecessary distractions, and start honing your social media strategy. Do what works, and forget the rest.