Visual social media platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are transforming the landscape of advertising. One of the defining characteristics of our age is the ability of anyone, with internet access, to communicate instantaneously to a global network. Visual narratives transcend the limitations of language while evoking powerful emotional responses from the consumer. They allow for a real-time narrative. In an instant, brands can communicate with billions through shared photos or videos. It is a form of communication that is not lost in translation.
In the world of Instagram and Pinterest, brands are equal opportunity participants with consumers. Brands create stories that entice and capture consumers’ attention to leverage their influence. Users interact with the brand by commenting, liking, or ignoring. In an instant, you know if you have a hit or a dud. When something is a hit, it is popular, but more importantly, it becomes influential. The relationship between brands and consumers has become peer based.
There are defining differential characteristics between Pinterest and Instagram. The two platforms serve different purposes and provide distinct values. Both platforms are B2C driven, but does Instagram win as the more effective of the two? With over 200 million users and growing, maybe. Instagram can be shared vertically across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms. Pinterest is about curating and discovering information. Instagram gives you the opportunity to reveal a personal side to your brand and to interact with your audience. Because Pinterest pins to an image or content from an external site, it is best used for driving sales by sharing visual content of products, how to’s, infographics and publications. All this said, Pinterest creates a vast network (web really) that is incredibly valuable in driving sales and boasting SEO. Instagram creates narratives and that may be the characteristic that trumps Pinterest. Instagram defines and shapes brands while Pinterest sells brands.
Instagram’s power to influence resides in its ability to tell a personal interactive story. Pinterest is a consumer driven platform that through an organic process leverages what the consumer likes to the product’s benefit. Both platforms are signposts pointing to the end of traditional advertising, a phenomena that began with the birth of Google. In a moment, anyone with social media savvy has the power to influence billions. We are now entering a world not lost in translation where both the “consumer” and the “brand” can interact amongst each other.
Nora McDevitt is an award-winning producer and a writer. Contact Nora – firstname.lastname@example.org – @nkmcdevitt