If you’ve been following the trends of content marketing recently, then you may be aware of the rising importance of visual content to social media.

Visual content marketing is generating the best type of site visitors, those with strong intent to purchase. Thus, it is imperative that businesses begin building marketing presences on social image sharing sites. Given the large reach of Pinterest and Instagram, small businesses should prioritize trialling one of these top image sharing sites.

When deciding whether to invest in marketing on Pinterest or Instagram one should first consider the demographic make up of both’s populations. Pinterest’s user base is largely skewed towards older women (Moms love Pinning) while Instagram is more equal in gender representation and attracts a younger (teenaged) population.

Research has long shown that consumers trust word of mouth recommendations and referrals above all other forms of marketing. Building and trusting in a community is what makes us human. For this reason, your Pinterest and Instagram marketing strategy should leverage community building features. Try using our social media marketing assessment to decide whether Pinterest or Instagram will better suit your small business’ needs.

Invite Members of Your Target Audience to Guest Pin on Your Business’ Pinterest Boards

BJ's Restaurants Invites its Guests to Guest Pin on its Pinterest Board

Inviting current and prospective clients or customers to Pin on your Pinterest board is a great opportunity to build community. For retail and B2C brands the stakes are even higher for converting your customers into advocates. Social Marketing Writing has a great post detailing how to invite guests to Pin on your Pinterest boards.

Send Personalized Promotions To Your Top Followers on Instagram Direct

Send personalized messages containing images or 15 second videos to users individually or in groups of up to 15. Sending a Direct Message follows an easy four step process:

  1. Upload a photograph and/or record a video. Add filters options or captions as you like.
  2. Select on the option “Direct” on the screen.
  3. Select the names of the followers you wish to send the video and/or photo.
  4. Hit “send.”

Easy, right? Now on to the hard part: how to use Direct Messages to generate engagement.

To engage Direct message recipients you could:

  • Allow exclusive access to view new product line. Consider inviting your most engaged followers for their feedback. Generating input from your most loyal Instagram followers transforms them from advocates to stakeholders.
  • Deliver exclusive sales to your most engaged followers. Offering exclusive promotions to your top followers recognizes that the effort and time they are taking out of their day to support your business.
  • Message followers who are within your prime location. This is a great opportunity for local businesses to be front of mind with customers. A coffee shop, for instance, can message Instagram local followers a brew of special coffee flavor in the morning.

Screenshot of Instagram direct messaging portal