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How to Market on Pinterest vs. Instagram

I hear it all the time: should I market my business on Instagram or Pinterest? But it’s not an either-or question; it’s a both-and.

Instagram and Pinterest are both incredibly powerful marketing platforms for online businesses. They are also very different, which means your marketing strategy needs to be different on each platform.

What does that actually look like? I’m here to tell you.

Pinterest vs. Instagram

First things first, let’s talk do an old-school compare-and-contrast exercise with your favorite platforms. I know what you’re thinking… I already know the difference between Instagram and Pinterest, Instagram is where I post Reels and “pop on” to stories and Pinterest is where I look up recipes for dinner next week.

And yeah, maybe that’s how you use them, but it goes way deeper than that.

How Pinterest and Instagram are Similar

Instagram and Pinterest aren’t completely different. They’re like estranged siblings with a big age gap. Here are some of the things they share:

  • They’re both visual platforms
  • They’re great marketing tools
  • They both have complex, ever-shifting algorithms

But you’re not here to talk about the similarities between Instagram and Pinterest.

How Pinterest and Instagram are Different

Pinterest is a Search Engine, not a Social Media Platform

Instagram is a social media platform first and foremost. While Pinterest has social capabilities like comments, DMs, and engagements, its core function is as a visual search engine. 

Most Pinterest users aren’t on the platform to see what color their friend from high school is thinking of painting their living room. They’re using Pinterest to search for solutions to whatever problems they’re having.

Outbound Engagement is Non-Negotiable on Instagram

You’ve heard a thousand different “rules” for engaging on Instagram. Don’t post and ghost. Engage for 30 minutes every day. Respond to all your comments. Respond to your dream clients’ stories.

On Pinterest? You can ditch all of that. Interacting with users and “building a community” isn’t how you grow on Pinterest. Engagement isn’t necessary for your Pinterest strategy.

You Don’t Have to Constantly Create New Content for Pinterest

Some of the suggested minimum requirements for Instagram activity are quite frankly absurd. You have to show up on stories daily, post multiple carousels and Reels a week, and oh, don’t forget about going live to grow your audience.

I’m sorry, who has the time?

Pinterest asks so much less of you. The minimum amount you need to post to Pinterest (as a general rule of thumb) is one fresh pin per day and maybe one idea pin a week, which you can repurpose from content you’ve already created and schedule out for months in advance.

How Your Pinterest Audience is Different From Your Instagram Audience

Beyond the basic breakdown of the two apps, your Pinterest audience is also totally different from your Instagram audience. That’s actually one of the best things about Pinterest.

Instagram can feel like an echo chamber quickly. You see the same people in your feed and sell the same service to the same handful of engaged followers.

But on Pinterest, you can reach any of the 400+ million monthly users, whether or not they’re following you!

Your Pinterest Audience is Full of Cold Leads

Your Instagram followers already know you, your expertise, and your services. You’ve already been nurturing them through your content.

Pinterest users are discovering your content for the first time. They don’t know or necessarily even care about who you are. They need a little bit more nurturing to get them to the end goal of conversion.

Pinterest Users Are Seeking Specific Solutions

Most Instagram users are browsing the platform regularly, consuming and absorbing whatever comes their way. They’re connecting with their community, and if they’re business owners, they’re also on the platform to sell.

Users on Pinterest are searching for the answers to their current problems. Whether they’re headed to the search bar to find the specific solution or scrolling on their home feed, your Pinterest audience is ready to learn.

How to Adapt Your Content Strategy for Pinterest from Instagram

Since your audience on Pinterest is different from your Instagram followers, you have to use a different strategy to reach them and convert them to clients and customers.

Provide Enough Information to Convert

Since your Instagram audience already knows and trusts your expertise, they’re more willing to invest when the time is right, without much convincing.

By contrast, selling to your Pinterest audience will require you to provide more information. Make sure your landing pages and sales pages have compelling copy and enough information to make the conversion.

This is especially true if you’re promoting digital products or email opt-ins. A simple “sign up for my list here” isn’t going to convince a total stranger to give up their email address. You have to give them a reason.

Nurture Your Pinterest Leads Over Time

In addition to giving your Pinterest audience enough information that they feel confident opting in to your email list or making a purchase, sometimes it just takes time for that trust to develop before someone’s ready to drop a few thousand on your signature 1:1 service.

That’s why it’s so important you have the funnels and systems in place to nurture the leads you get from Pinterest.

Lead with Value, not Sales Pitches

With your Instagram audience, you can keep selling constantly without fear of driving away a tentative lead.

But straight-up sales pitches won’t be enough on Pinterest. Value-added, informational content is what will draw in your Pinterest audience at first. From there you can introduce them to your free and paid offers.

Should You Market Your Business on Pinterest or Instagram?

My opinion? Both. They serve different purposes. I love Instagram and it’s a big part of my business marketing strategy.

But if you’re looking for a marketing platform that asks less of you while still bringing in powerful long-term results, it might be time to consider Pinterest.

Here’s how I can help you:

  • Want to feel confident in your Pinterest strategy? Book an account audit for my expert eyes (and recommendations).
  • Rather have me create and implement the strategy for you? Join the waitlist for my monthly management services.